‘Thanks to Milano we are who we are today,’ declares Nelcya Chamszadeh during an online international cc-tapis press event in March 2021. Hosted by the brand’s three founders—Chamszadeh, her husband Fabrizio Cantoni (their surnames provide the double c in the brand name), Daniele Lora and compèred by colleague Steve Wilson, the event took place in a pistachio green guest room at Milan’s Leonardo Hotel that features as one of ten hotels in the company’s new advertising campaign.
The hour-long press event revealed the company’s 2021 collaborations with international designers (Bethan Gray, Cristian Mohaded, Edoardo Piermattei, Muller Van Severen, Maison Matisse by Christina Celestino, Apparatus, Patricia Urquiola, India Mahdavi, Bethan Laura Wood), their new contract division and e-commerce site, sustainable solutions that look beyond the rug itself, cc-tapis Academy, Phygital Projects and more, but also celebrated highlights of the brand’s first decade.
‘We start this year with an homage to Milan,’ says Lora referring to the advertising campaign ‘One Night in Milan’. Intended as a ‘heartfelt tribute’ to the city and its hospitality, the idea was revived from a concept they first envisioned years ago. Photographed by Piotr Niepsuj and art directed by Apartamento Studios, ten iconic cc-tapis rugs representing the brand’s evolution were photographed in ten Milan hotels. Each unique location allows a single rug to inhabit and animate the space like an actor on a stage.
Milan is fundamental to the brand’s success, but the cc-tapis story begins when Chamszadeh and Cantoni met in the early 1990s at École hôtelière de Lausanne in Switzerland, the oldest and highest ranked hotel management school in the world. Their hospitality training taught them ‘the fundamental importance of attention to detail [and] to put everything in the right place and offer the best possible service’. After working at luxury Italian hotels and following a period where they opened a concept store and adjacent rug shop in Strasbourg, they moved to Milan where the brand as it is today took shape. Fabrizio studied at Scuola Politecnica di Design where he met Daniele Lora. When Lora joined cc-tapis ‘the brand gained structure and definition’ and established a home in Milan’s design district. ‘The three of us sat down and said . . . ‘let’s make some nice rugs and we’ll see … something will happen!’
cc-tapis’ weaving atelier in India produces 25 handwoven capsule collections while their atelier in Nepal creates 105 hand-knotted capsule collections. Almost all cc-tapis rugs can be customised. Referring to the brand’s early days the founders remember, ‘we cleaned up [our] initial aesthetic, which was very baroque, by working on a more modern colour palette and we defined a certain idea of style, that mid-modern aesthetic resulting from research of the works of certain Italian designers and modernist architects from the 20th century.’
In 2020 the company launched cc-tapis Project—a contract division for hand-tufted rugs produced in India and Thailand for commercial and hospitality venues. Lora describes how the company’s deliberately limited scale of production gave rise to the idea of a contract division that would ensure freedom and create even greater creative autonomy for the artisanal designer-led hand-knotted main collections. ‘We’ve evolved and expanded the studio to create a commercial and contract division separate from our main collection [to allow it to remain] independent and [ensure] it continues to focus on experimenting with designers.’
The founders unanimously agree that surprise and exploration of new ideas are critical elements of success. ‘We keep our identity by continually reinventing ourselves.’ One of the reinventions is upcycling as a methodology for redefining every element that surrounds a cc-tapis rug. The company is introducing Econyl yarns made from upcycled PET plastic bottles for flooring systems in its contract division, as well as ‘looking around the rugs,’ says Cantoni, to identify areas that can shift to sustainable methods. The company has removed plastics from its shipping method by using water repellant reusable canvas bags they source from a company in Panipat, India who make the bags from yarns reclaimed from recycled fabrics.
cc-tapis’ redeveloped website now provides B2B clients with the ability to create mood boards while its introduction of an e-commerce platform for exclusive product sales kicks off with a collaboration with fashion designer Marco de Vincenzo. When pandemic restrictions are lifted, Phygital projects where digital marketing is combined with physical events will continue. In recognition of our new lives online the company is launching cc-tapis Academy with unique online offers like yoga classes convened on cc-tapis rugs, floral design courses and how to make proper Italian pizza dough.
Milan is credited by cc-tapis as fundamental to their success, but Milan also owes some of its undeniable cachet to brands like cc-tapis. Raise your glass to the next decade of cc-tapis success and in honour of the brand’s double c, clink your glasses and toast—cin cin!