Innovative outlook Culture and craft Designer collaborations
‘Iwan Maktabi and David/Nicolas teaming up came out of a simple question: “Why don’t they make carpets like this anymore?’Mohamed Maktabi
The year 2022 marks 40 years of rug excellence from the Beirut-based rug firm Iwan Maktabi is a three-generation family carpet business specialising in modern, designer and antique carpets. With the support of his father Abbas Maktabi, Mohamed Maktabi opened Iwan Maktabi Gallery in Lebanon in 1995. The company—with three showrooms in Beirut and one location in Dubai—is now run by Mohamed, Chirine and Mona Maktabi, who were immersed in the world of carpets from a very young age. The three siblings continually strive to make rugs that speak both of the future and of the past, combining ancient crafts and cutting-edge design.
With a focus on pushing boundaries and keeping its clientele on their toes, in 2020 the company launched Iwan Maktabi Lab, an innovative platform driven by culture, creativity, craft and testing. The Lab unites technology and new materials with traditional weaving techniques and a large part of the Lab’s output derives from collaborations with top designers from around the globe to keep concepts fresh and dynamic.
The idea for the collaboration with Beirut-based studio David/Nicolas started during one of their visits to Iwan Maktabi’s flagship store. The Lebanese design duo was amazed at the sight of antique Zieglar and Agra carpets on show, in particular the luxurious textures and the simplicity and elegance of the designs. David/Nicolas were eager to design their own classic rugs. This was the start of the collection, and after sketches, trials and errors, the stunning Orientations collection was born.
‘We are here to understand how things were before, how they are now, and how they might be in the future.’David Raffoul and Nicolas Moussallem, David/Nicolas
Made in Jaipur with hand-carded wool and silk, the four hand-knotted rugs that form the Orientations collection are titled North, South, East and West. Their designs comprise fields of wool, featuring subtle patterns made up of repeated raised shapes reminiscent of simplified antique rug motifs, braille and constellations in the vast night sky. If you gaze at them, they will orientate you in the right direction. The colourations are serene and harmonious, ready for every room setting.
With interior projects in mind, the Disorientated collection—hand-tufted versions of the David/Nicolas collection, made in Thailand—will debut at the brand’s ‘UnMasked 2.0’ show at Iwan Maktabi Lab in Dubai, at Warehouse 32, Alserkal Avenue, on 1 March-4 April 2022. The second of the ‘Unmasked’ events will showcase the works of prominent Lebanese creatives: Rumi Dalle, David/Nicolas, Orient 499, Georges Mohasseb, Roula Salamoun, Nadine Kanso, BOKJA, Tamara Barrage, Thomas Trad and Carlo Massoud.
Contemporary rug exhibitions are an important concept for Iwan Maktabi and the company’s recent ‘Women in Design’ show held with Milanese rug brand cc-tapis in Dubai during Downtown Design Dubai 2021, was a momentous endeavour. In 2020, the company display ‘Ten to One’ for Expo 2020 Dubai focused on Econyl, the regenerated nylon that can be endlessly recycled. Future plans for the company include a greater focus on sustainable practices and materials.
‘These carpets are a mélange of ancient, contemporary and futuristic elements woven into timeless aesthetics!’Chirine Maktabi
Iwan Maktabi understands how to offer luxury, innovation and beautiful craft in a single rug. Each collection has Maktabi experience in its DNA, and combines Mohamed’s drive for innovation, Chirine’s passion for fine handmade carpets, and Mona’s entrepreneurial outlook, plus the whole family’s love of beautiful objects.
The Flagship Store | Ashrafieh Charles Malek Avenue