European Culutural Centre, Venice

For Personal Structures hosted by the European Cultural Centre in Venice, Zakaria Rugs approaches the exhibition theme of ‘reflections’ by collaborating with international artists to transmit cultural dialogues on handmade rugs. Each piece explores the relationship the artist holds with artisanal practice and proposes reflection towards the symbolism of the rug. Moreover, the artists are invited to contemplate the rug as a new medium for expression and innovation, translating their visual language while exploring materiality, the haptic sense and the rug’s spatial properties.




The color gray is no one’s color. It is the color of cubicles and winter camouflage, of sullage, of inscrutable complexity, of compromise. It is the perfect intermediate, an emissary for both black and white. It lingers, incognito, in this saturated world.

As part of the GEARS FOR FIERCE rug collection, ‘PCB’ moves away from the subtle, warm, and painterly ways of pervious collections, towards the wicked, in a world of subversion, of dichotomy, of flippancy and moxie. ‘PCB’, an acronym for printed circuit boards, takes inspiration from early computer motherboards. Posed on the kilim base, the high threads trace the conductive lines and islands of the layered structure.

‘Marks of Deviation’ by Fred Heinsohn

Fred Heinsohn explores the rug as a medium that allows us to stand firmly but soft, providing us with a feeling of security. The relationship between body and object, surface and impact is explored. ‘Marks of Deviation’ takes the imprint of a sneaker sole as the main narrative for the design. Lost and found on the surface of a rug, the footprints become a metaphor – traces of deviation, that manifest a moment in time. The medium itself is crafted on three levels, translated through various thread heights. The highest level is the ground one walks on; the lowest level is the trace we leave; the intermediate-height consists of the stones that unexpectedly become visible between the ground and imprint — physical embodiments of the steps that weave our path. 

Fred Heinsohn centred his design process on the medium itself, analysing various weaving techniques to bring his visual narrative to life. Assembling the worlds of concept, design and craft, the art of rug making is not just about what you see but also what you feel. The design comes to life through skilful craft, Moroccan personship. The rug is based on a traditionally woven Kilim, combined with knotted high pile sections. The ensemble of weaving and knotting techniques create a three-dimensional texture. For the Kilim base dyed mill-spun wool was used. For the knotted high-pile sections we used the finest hand-spun wool that is a little softer. The density of the high-pile knotted sections is 20.000 knots/m2.

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‘Primer Humano’ by Lamas Burgariotti

“How to inhabit the planet seems to be one of the main challenges in these contemporary times. Where should we direct our gaze? Ancient cultures developed a profound observation of the sky. So deep that it is puzzling to us. They sought to design their lives by achieving a balance between the sky and the Earth. Medicine, architecture, agriculture, all coordinated and in harmony; its symbology is the very proof of this. Today we can see it as a portal to think of new sensitive ways of relating to the world.”

Recorridos, trayectos y derivas by Rodrigo Túnica

Lamas Burgariotti’ s three-piece collection redesigns the symbols of the Mapuche Tribe, making them visible and conveying the spiritual value of their drawings. ‘Primer Humano’ displays the symbol that Mapuche tribes understand as the first human being, “The Divine Master”. The symbol represents the incarnation of a superior being on Earth, a kind of avatar. The ‘Flor de Fuego’ rug portrays the “Flower of Life” which, according to Mapuche beliefs, is a symbol of the exuberance of fecundity, it is the representation of the gestated and realised life that has blossomed. Lastly, ‘Arbol de la Virtud’ contemplates the Mapuche understanding of virtue as “life cleansed of evils” and “evils” as embodied in disease. The tree of Virtue is covered with red bark; symbolically the red is the menstrual blood that covers the walls of the uterus and its liquid environment acts as an activating element for all biological processes.

As a studio Lamas Burgariotti are focused on exploring new materials and mediums to express themselves. Lamas Burgariotti discuss how the rug as a medium allows them to invoke their ancestral cultures, the artisans of their land. At the same time, it fulfils, for them, a specific function: to inhabit a space and make it their own, in any of its forms (tapestry, rug, even a decorative object or coat). Lamas Burgariotti really liked the idea of collaborating and generating a transcultural team where the primitive crosses paths with the most innovative contemporary art.

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‘Minuo’ by Frances McBain

The ‘Minuo’ series by Frances McBain, is based on the collection of keynotes in the domestic environment, capturing sensorial experiences and using them to create an ambient soundtrack of every day that leaves behind marks, symbols, and the repetition of beats that can be woven.

Frances is interested in the idea of the rug being a visualisation of the marks and symbols of everyday sounds, as being both functional and decorative within the domestic setting. By utilizing the rug as either floor or wall art, it allows sound to take on a new sensorial form- it becomes both tactile and visual.

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