Italian designer Allegra Hicks joined us for breakfast and a special Q&A at our King’s Road showroom. Over coffee and croissants, Allegra talked to CEO Christopher Sharp about why rugs are important in a room, her ‘creative vocabulary’, and why luxury is nothing to do with expense.
CS: How does rug design differ from fashion design?
AH: I think I have a design vocabulary which runs through all the mediums I use, dresses, fabric…but with a rug you need to see it from a completely different perspective. It’s flat on the floor, it can be seen from all angles, there’s no movement, which there is when you design a fabric or a dress. A rug holds the room together, in fact it’s probably the most important thing in the room, so it needs a different approach. It either needs to be the focal point of the room or an unobtrusive accompaniment to everything else.
CS: What are the challenges of bespoke rug design? Does it make you nervous?
AH: No, I actually rather like it. I think it’s fabulous because you have one thing for yourself and only for you – it’s the ultimate luxury. Some houses are so different from others, so you need to choose the colours, size or texture to find exactly what you’re looking for because it might not exist. You need to really understand the client, it’s a journey of trust.
CS: When do you think silk is necessary?
AH: When a design is sophisticated and the colours are very similar, then you can create a different colour because of the texture and the shine that silk gives it. It’s almost like adding a shadow or shading which is really chic. It works very well in the more precious rooms…silk makes a rug really special.
CS:Your rugs have an organic feel to them – do you think that’s been a running theme for you?
AH: I’m really happy when people say they recognise something as mine, even though they didn’t know for sure. As a designer, your creative vocabulary is your language and the way you communicate, it’s something you learn in the first few years and if you’re lucky and true to yourself it becomes your signature.
CS: You’ve just launched your book about design & luxury in interiors – what does that mean?
AH: I don’t believe luxury is only something that is very expensive. I think luxury is to do with good design – it’s about something not only beautiful but made to live well and last. It’s also about comfort, an ease and elegance that makes you live better and looks beautiful but doesn’t overpower you.
CS: Have you found that technology has changed what your clients expect from you?
AH: No, because I’m not at all interested in technology, I’m interested in projects that are as far away as possible from technology! I want to reflect character and style using only my eye and my hands. To create places that will last a lifetime, you have to use craftsmanship in the true sense of the word. That’s why I love working with The Rug Company because the quality is fantastic – we’re really on the same page.
Click here to see Allegra’s rug collection.