Founded in 1998 by Esti Barnes, London-based Topfloor by Esti’s newest capsule collection is Wintertime. The minimalist designs of the four rugs, each hand-tufted in wool, linen and art silk, reflect the ongoing crisis of climate change. Melting polar ice caps prompted the concept for her minimalist designs which are meant to inspire a ‘maximalist’ response to halting climate change.
Designer Hans Hofmann said ‘the ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary can speak.’ The designs in the Wintertime collection may appear effortless and ‘simple’, but true to Hofmann’s observation the simplicity of the collection subtly conveys Esti’s message of global crisis and allows ‘the necessary to speak’.
Interviewed earlier this year by COVER’s Rachel Meek on the launch of Topfloor by Esti’s Matrix collection, Esti commented that she ‘always [goes] for challenging, unusual projects’. This approach is reflected in Wintertime’s use of a single colour—white—and its resulting reliance on texture and pile to convey topography and meaning. ‘My rugs are not 2D, my rugs are generally 3D or sometimes they are 2D with a 3D effect’ she says, a noteworthy comment that can be observed in Tundra’s combination of textures that reflect frozen earth beneath a blanket of snow. Tundra is a treeless, high latitude permafrost ‘desert’ found in polar regions. The rug’s rectangular shape has a single non-linear edge that reflects the retreat of permafrost zones.
Chill is a minimalist design with two versions each based on an aerial view of a rectangular frozen pool surrounded by freshly raked snow.
Icicle reflects the natural phenomena of successive drops of water that freeze as they fall to form tapered hanging ‘icicles’. Esti’s design presents two rows of icicles in opposition. The yawning gap between them can be read as a crevasse of unknown depth; a metaphor for the peril humanity faces if we fail to correct course with regards to climate change.
The climate crisis is adversely affecting wildlife in tundra and polar regions. Topfloor will donate £100 to the World Wildlife Fund for each rug purchased from the Wintertime collection.