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The Alternative Blog

A Carpet of Curiosity

Quirky Curiosity is a new richly patterned wool carpet, boldly coloured and intricate in nature. It joins Alternative’s award-winning Quirky collection created in collaboration with some of our best-loved interior decorators, textile artists and design students.

This design is by Aamina Desai (BA Hons Textiles Design, University of Central Lancashire) the winner of Alternative Flooring and British Wool’s competition that celebrates new talent and British wool. She brings a fresh interpretation of her South Asian heritage and culture into the home on a magical carpet in this wonder fibre.

We caught up with Aamina to find out more about her and her winning design.

Tell us about yourself

I am a doodler by nature. I love colour and shape and am endlessly fascinated by bold patterns and intricate details around me. As a student, I am still open to the possibilities of design and have been exploring all the ways I can bring a part of myself into the world through my work. I’ve really enjoyed the flexibility of surface pattern and its ability to bring my designs to life, but I’m always keen to explore different methods of creating.

Part of the inspiration process – floral henna motifs

Tell us about the inspiration behind your entry

Thanks to my South Asian heritage, I am surrounded by a variety of cultural influences that naturally inject themselves into my work. I was initially inspired by traditional Persian and Moroccan rugs. On researching the meaning and symbolism behind their main motifs, I decided to create similar imagery for own design based on the shapes around me, including floral henna motifs and detailed embroidery on traditional Indian clothing and accessories. I wanted a chance to bring a bold and rich interpretation and appreciation of culture into the home.

Gorgeous rich, bold colours are part of Aamina’s South Asian heritage

What are your views on Alternative Flooring?

The company has such a range of colours and patterns and has collaborated with designers of such varying styles – from bright, eclectic and maximalist, to traditional, crafted and bold. I didn’t feel constrained to create a design that could find a place somewhere in the mix. This, alongside their strong value for ethically sourced materials really appealed to me.

Why did you choose to enter the Alternative Flooring and British Wool category in the design competition?

I’ve been avidly exploring the uses of surface pattern in various spaces and really enjoyed how the right floor covering can completely transform the image of an entire space. Being able to visualize my designs on screen made me consider how exciting it would be to bring them to life and this category allowed me that opportunity.

What do you like most about working with British wool?

Wool is so versatile and the production journey it follows was so intriguing to me. I think it is important to be conscious about the materials we bring into our homes. Reading about the whole process British Wool takes with the farmers, from shearing to quality testing made me appreciate the labour of everyone involved in bringing the product to life. I am especially excited to have one of my designs produced with beautiful natural fibres.

The intricate moodboard, part of the design process

What drew you to design?

I have always enjoyed traditional drawing and painting methods but learning how to sew and embroider opened a completely new pathway in terms of creating art. I started experimenting with bringing my drawn images to life, fusing them with sculpture and ceramics and transferring patterns into visuals for fashion and interiors. Going into textiles and surface pattern gave me a real sense of purpose and a direction to designs that I would originally have left on a piece of paper. Even now, I love being able to appreciate the story behind a wallpaper feature, or the practical insight that has gone into creating soft furnishings. Being able to create with functional beauty in mind is my favourite part of the design process.

How did it feel to win the award?

Winning did wonders for my confidence. Being in my small university bubble, I wasn’t sure if the designs, patterns, and imagery that excited me would be appreciated in the same way by others in the wider world. With such established companies valuing my work and allowing me to bring it to an industrial level, I feel encouraged and excited at the possibilities ahead.

What’s next for you?

Currently, I’m heading into my final year of Textiles Design at UCLan. Winning the award has really helped me to consider further opportunities and possibilities within the Textile industry. I’m looking forward to exploring how to apply my designs to flooring and interiors and researching more into sustainable, functional, and beautiful design.

This opportunity has encouraged me to push myself further. I’m hoping to enter my work into more competitions and explore how my patterns can be applied to different categories within design. Hopefully after the successful completion of my final year, I can begin a journey to establish myself as an independent designer

Lorna Haigh creative and marketing director comments:

‘Working with young design talent is so enriching. The interpretation of the brief always brings originality and innovation. It challenges us all; the individuals and the company to think about what can be achieved in bringing new thinking to textiles and in particular textile floorcoverings.

Aamina’s design excitingly looks at diverse influences and different cultures whilst at the same time working to a brief and a set colour palette. Aamina clearly demonstrated her global curiosity when it came to her design – hence the name.
The design is complex and intricate but due to pattern repeat is cleverly workable as wall-to-wall carpet, as a rug or runner. We are delighted to showcase this winning design and make it available to purchase from our ‘Exclusive’ area of our website, allowing new textile design and opportunities to truly shine.’

 * This beautiful patterned carpet is a website exclusive, available to purchase from our Play Studio Partners. It is completely made to order in 3.66m wide broadloom only.

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The Edit - home style by Alternative