Atlanta Market Review
The winter 2018 installment of the International Area Rug Market at AmericasMart, Atlanta went live Wednesday 10 January to Sunday 14 January.
Attendees at the January International Area Rug Market in Atlanta were treated to a variety of luxury and casual hand-knotted designs. For years, Atlanta exhibitors have focused not on avant-garde styles, but rather on what sells to the American consumer. This market followed suit. In a surprising move, temporary rug booths moved to an open block of vacant fifth floor showrooms. As far as trends, modern and transitional styles still took center stage. A welcome return to color included pops of desirable blues (peaking but not yet exhausted in the States), fresh shades of coral and apricot, pretty pinks and soft, happy yellows. In perhaps the most unexpected turn, black made a comeback in many lines for the first time in nearly two decades, not as an accent but as a dramatic statement.
Case in point: Caravan Modern debuted three ultra-chic, black-and-white designs, hand-knotted of 100-percent bamboo silk in its Cloud Collection. A design called Cool featured cascading open white circles, scaling a wall of distressed black and white. The Kayak design had teardrop-shaped white bands sweeping across a midnight black ground. The last design, Echo, resembled handsome herringbone patterns popular in today’s men’s and women’s suiting. “Customers loved the drama and sheen of these rugs,” said Caravan’s Jay Nehouray.
Bold colors in Tamarian’s showroom were seen in hand-knotted rugs punctuated in aqua, navy, salmon and more. Among the standouts, the Chrysan design, offered in either Grey Blue or Ivory Salmon, featured repeating overscale chrysanthemum motifs connected with a lattice of vines. Upon closer look, a subtle under pattern beneath the surface of the 100-knot design added another layer of depth to this designer look.
Blue was still in high demand at Anadol, according to Ummi Gunturk. “People say they’re ready for other colors, but of the 38 blue designs we brought in, all of them sold in sizes 14×20 to 6×9,” she said. Lucky for Atlanta buyers, new Berber Collection shags included a navy to go along with bright pink, bold yellow and soft gray.
Complex texture was a focus at French Accents, according to Danny Shafiian. Many of his newest pieces focused on multiple weaving techniques and mixed fibers. Nepalese design #NA394 in warm rust was a choice example. Here, hand-knotted wool and silk built the foundation for a pattern inspired by geological rock formations. The studied piece featured extraordinary movement and sophisticated color application.
Casual texture was featured at the Creative Touch showroom, where Baki Ildiz showcased his growing Bosphorus Collection. Handmade with a high and low construction in wool or wool and viscose, the transitional designs featured an earthy, organic, casual-living aesthetic.
At Kalaty, Mike Kalaty touted his hand-knotted Versa Collection of modern, borderless looks, which had a striated pile-and-loop texture and gobs of movement in hand-spun wool and Silkette™.
Wool and raw silk enjoyed a new application at Amer, according to Tanuj Gupta. The firm’s new Mystique Collection boasts textured abstract designs in the wool and raw silk duo, but with a twist. “We constructed these with a slightly lower knot count and just enough silk to hit a retail sweet spot,” he said. “This construction is a game-changer for us and for our customers.”
In the opposite direction, Bokara’s David Lew came to Atlanta to showcase luxury with the firm’s entirely upscale Canterbury Silk Select Collection. The posh, hand-knotted silk range includes everything from Leopard designs, abstract modern styles and Mamluks to geometric and other classic patterns. The results were high-end and sumptuous.
Luxury looks at Pasargad included the new Ice Cube Collection, hand-knotted of 100-percent bamboo silk. Available in grey, blue and green, the cube-looking pattern has a unique texture, which is achieved entirely by color application, not high-low effects or carving, according to Elshad Verdiev.
Loloi’s new Vestige Collection, a two-toned Mamluk look with a mosaic effect, was hand-knotted of viscose in India and comes in a choice of six colors. “Programmed hand-knotteds have become a healthy part of our business,” said Austin Craley of the Dallas-based firm.
Hand-knotteds at the Shalom Brothers’ showroom included the Amarya Collection, which principal Rafi Amirian said was well received. The design features a traditional Kashan pattern traced in the background with splashes of abstract color in the forefront for an overall sophisticated piece in wool and silk.
Moving to a new location in Atlanta, the Pacific Collection was one of a select group of firms which took up space in Atlanta’s new 5th floor temporary showcase, previously held on AmericasMart’s floor 2. Pacific’s Fred Hazin said he had a strong show there, bringing a selection of roughly 130 hand-knotted rugs from his own production in Afghanistan, many of which sold.
Also in a new showroom, Nourison opened a location-savvy spot in AmericasMart’s lobby, just off of the escalators. Sam Azhadi, Nourison’s director of international and promotional sales, said new Christopher Guy Collection rugs, made of New Zealand wool and silk, were in the spotlight. An exciting selection of one-of-a-kind wool and silk designs also turned heads.
The Celest Collection of fabric-inspired designs was just one of the hand-knotted debuts at Harounian Rugs Intl. (HRI). Greg Jordt said the range comes in five designs in color combinations like grey/blue, ivory/green, black/silver and grey/lavender.
Finally, just before heading to DOMOTEX, Momeni’s Aria Momeni unveiled the new Benaras Collection. Hand-knotted of wool in a chunkier weave, the line comes in four designs that are purposely priced for retail and not e-commerce channels. The company also had a strong selection of traditional one-of-a-kinds, which nearly sold out.
Overall, Atlanta exhibitors felt winter Market traffic was moderate, as expected. The biggest question on everyone’s lips? What impact will DOMOTEX USA have when it hits Atlanta next February? Will European buyers head to the States a month after DOMOTEX in Hannover, Germany? Will U.S. buyers find reasons to attend both DOMOTEX USA and the Atlanta Rug Market, just weeks apart? And perhaps the biggest question of all: Will overseas suppliers exhibiting in North America upset the delicate balance between importers and manufacturers? The verdict is out.
Words by Diane Cotton