From architect to rug magnate, Jürgen Dahlmanns, owner of Rug Star in Berlin, Germany, has traveled a long and winding road that has led him to unite cultures, create beauty and integrate his rugs, textures and explosive designs within a physical setting that is at once artful, functional, and aesthetically speaking, far beyond.

Employing over 1600 artisans in Nepal and Jaipur, Rug Star combines centuries-old techniques with the knowledge Dahlmanns gained as an architect working on Vienna’s MuseumQuartier in 1998, coupled with a free-wheeling upbringing by his parents, who believed in alternative means of education and experiential living.

With stores in Augsburg, Zurich, Beijing and Berlin, Jürgen Dahlmanns’s hand-knotted Tibetan and Persian rugs are now also represented in the Northwest by Christiane Millinger Handmade Rugs.

Shoptalk l Jürgen Dahlmanns

Tell us more about your journey to becoming a rug designer.

Dahlmanns: It all began 1990, with my first visit to Nepal at 23. I was coming down from the holy pilgrimage site “Muktinath,” when I found my first old Tibetan “Khaden,” the traditional sleeping or sitting mats from the Tibetans, in an old mountain village. Back in the Kathmandu valley, I went to the Tibetan quarter “Bhouda,” where exiled Tibetans started to produce their traditional handicraft: the hand-knotted Tibetan rug. It took 10 more years, but, in fact, that was the first moment it all began.

Was there an influential individual or moment that helped define your career?

Dahlmanns: I think the reason to look for a commitment such as the one I have with the people in Nepal is multifaceted and hard to explain in a few words. To build up a production with Tibetan and Newar people is not only the link to the product, or the idea of a career, it is the result of the meeting of minds with the people and their country. It is a social commitment, like we have with our friends and family.

You produce several new collections and updates of older ones every year. Where do you get your ideas from?

Dahlmanns: I am like a whale, with this large mouth, eager to feed on all the information out there. Curiosity is my daily inspiration and in each second of daily life, I absorb every detail that contains beauty. When the process of design starts, all the answers and ideas are already lined up in my heart and soul. They are just there, they are the knowledge you’ve always had inside yourself, but with education and age, you learn the language that enables you to share them to others.

How have your travels influenced your rug design?

Dahlmanns: We are born in a beautiful world, so the first mission for me was to go, absorb and understand. This became my life and my life created my style. And now we all live in a global world and this “global world” brings so many new questions into each person’s daily life. In my case, travel liberated my mind, as well as my idea of what style is. I have no particular style per se, as I believe in diversity. Diversity connects us in our current world with all of its beautiful people. Thank you, World, for being so wonderful.

Do you consider the effect on a room when you are designing?

Dahlmanns: With the combination of the materials (most hand-knotted area rugs play with silk and wool), we should understand that we have the option to invent a storytelling texture on the floor with a strong ability to guide movement. The architectural dimension is always in my mind, maybe because I am an architect, so I always start with the room when I create a new design.

Tell us more about your most recent collection.

Dahlmanns: For more than a year and a half, I have worked and reworked my latest Waterlily designs, which I also call the Portland Poetry Collection. At first glance, they are a combination of mostly primary colors or clear black and white divisions in blurred block – a fresh, bold and clear message in Persian weave, which is being produced in Jaipur, Rajasthan. The audience might see a play of geometric fields in these designs, but for me, it is a question of what is geometric and what is landscape, as we place these rugs later in interiors.

Are there certain techniques that you favor? Conventional or contemporary—what is more important to you in terms of design and production?

Dahlmanns: The area rug divides resting areas from walking areas and creates a room without building walls. This is its main purpose and architectural meaning in interiors. Pattern, color and material guide movement and express movement within the product. Together with quality, the area rug is able to reflect room atmosphere and light as the light changes throughout day, thus becoming dynamic in its expression and interaction with interior.

Can you share some guidelines on what a person should consider when purchasing a carpet?

Dahlmanns: We should understand a rug as a textile room: a dining table with a rug converts into a dining room, a sofa with a rug converts into a living room. So, there is a very high architectural dimension which helps us to describes the different functions in our living space. You can talk about the intimacy of the area by the material you choose. Wool rugs are perfect for hallways; add some silk for living areas to get a nice play of light and room atmosphere on the surface of the rug. Maybe use 100% silk in the bedroom to celebrate the intimate moments of our sleep, where we are protected and surrounded by value.

What are one of your most memorable projects or rug creations?

Dahlmanns: I have no particular style, as I said, I believe in diversity, since diversity connects us in this current world with all its beautiful people. My memorable projects are many and I value them all. It is very hard for me to say which of them is outstanding. There is no ranking in my head, no princess is more important than a 98-year-old-man who wants my bold and crazy design “Splash” for his new room in a nursing home. I feel blessed when I see that my rugs change a space for the better, as rugs, in my mind, can solve architectural problems and express liberty and joy in life.


Exclusively represented in the NW by Christiane Millinger Handmade Rugs,

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