It was quite a coup when Anthar—a flowing rendition in pleasing blues and whites from the Project Error collection by Jaipur Rugs—emerged as the only Asian rug to win a special mention at the German Design Awards in 2016. A turning point for design director Kavita Chaudhary, who graduated from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, to weave new generation goals into the family business.
“Anthar is a celebration of the mismatch of pattern. The rug was born out of errors as the weavers struggled to find their rhythm while working. The rug is a spontaneously conceived design that goes with the flow of the moment, of its creation,” explains Kavita, who has developed a unique design language at Jaipur Rugs—a carpet company based in Jaipur that’s been in business since 1978—with her own sense of aesthetics.
Earlier run by her father, Nand Kishore Chaudhary, Kavita took over the reins in 2010 after returning from the US. Along with a degree in design, she brought in a fresh, new perspective into the company’s repertoire which earlier only created traditional patterns. “I lacked business sense when I came in. Initially, I went with the flow. But after attending several trade shows in Europe, I was inspired by the abstracts that coloured the natural contemporary style of the designers there,” she confesses.
Pegged at higher prices compared to their relatively cheaper handtufted cousins, the company’s handknotted rugs are an absolute labour of love. A handknotted rug takes anything from four months to two years to make, with more than one weaver working on each. “The knotting is done by hand. We employ about 40,000 weavers pan-India, ranging from the Gujarat belt to Bhadoi in Uttar Pradesh.