The Colorful Carpet Life

April 6, 2013

According to the Frog “It Ain’t Easy Being Green” ….

Many of our clients, or creatives we admire, have developed their own signature palettes. The work they create, and the colors they choose, make or made them, distinctive and recognizable. An individual personality’s artistic vision has often projected itself onto contemporary culture, going on to effect market trends.

Lapchi's Feathered Carpet - Glass Objects by Esque

Lapchi’s Feathered Carpet – Glass Objects by Esque

The connection between color and commerce is nothing new, but is always fascinating to observe.  Color change is a major player in making what we own feel obsolete, and what we are offered feel like a “must have”. The zeitgeist in product design is that perfect combination of what is familiar enough to be accessible, but “new” enough to excite and define. It’s the Pavlovian response made commercial, and that is big business.

Development of color samples from projects

Client color samples. Finished carpets will be certified by

Although not immune to the siren call of mass-market taste and consumption, Lapchi developed its color palette range at the service of our individual clients vision, through their bespoke design commissions or a select custom product line. Using our small pot dying method, color can be altered and reinvented as needed, expressing exactly the pulse of the client or project.

Lapchi's Anthemion - Scaled and Colored for Drama

Lapchi’s Anthemion – scaled and colored for drama

As a result, the Lapchi color box is more similar to an artist palette than a hardware paint chart or an industry standard color range. We dye the color as we envision it so our palette is endless. A much-heralded color such as Pantone Emerald Green #17-5641 therefore can be as subtly varied as actual emeralds are.

A second variation - Mirage in Apple Green

Variation – Mirage in Apple Green

Pile heights & silk will vary color perception in a room

Pile heights & silk will vary color perception in a room

Like bijoux, silk highlights a traditional pattern

Like bijoux, silk highlights a traditional pattern

Colors are prismatic words. They express all the emotion and veracity that spoken words and music do, because they are just as powerful. Color can be the element to take us back through time. It can spark our every emotion, or challenge us to understand the complex nature between what we perceive and select. Color can reflect how we feel, and communicate what we wish others to perceive about us. It is our identity outwardly manifest or a bloom to enrich a single life.

With Custom, Range of Color & Design Samples Are Endless

A range of color and design samples from clients

Lapchi Carpets are hand-woven works of enduring beauty, with patterns derived from centuries of Art, Design and Culture. Lapchi reliably delivers products of unsurpassed quality, utilizing a sustainable process which respects the materials and honors the lives of the people who make them. For information on our Atelier Lapchi Showrooms and Select Lapchi Dealers – See us online at
Lapchi Carpets are GoodWeave Certified. GoodWeave is working to end illegal child labor in the carpet industry and to offer educational opportunities to children in South Asia. Please visit

Lapchi and Tibetan Wool – Breathtakingly Beautiful Carpets

July 1, 2010

Wool is the strand connecting Lapchi’s lush and sophisticated floor coverings to the vast open plain of the high Tibetan plateau.

Highly prized for its luster, tensile strength and elasticity, Tibetan wool comes from a place and people attuned to the land and the herds of livestock that sustain them. Tibetan wool is the life of the Dropka. These approximately two million semi-nomadic people roam their sheep in an area famously called “the Roof of the World”.

The inhospitable altitude and frigid temperature of the plateau, some 4000 meters above sea level, eliminates crop cultivation as a means of support, but provides extensive grazing land – one of the largest on the earth. In response to a beautiful but harsh climate, Tibetan wool is a miracle of strength and wear – a fibrous protein of high-luster, long-staple strands with thick shafts, and crimps and waves which aid in spinning while helping to keep spun wool twisted tight.  Sheep lanolin, a greasy water-resistant barrier that breathes as it hydrates, coats the overlapping serrated scales of the wool strands, adding sheen and softness to Tibetan wool carpets.

Herds are valued, protected and cared-for, not a product of commercial animal farms. Sheep are sheared twice a year and the “living” wool of many colors is taken to the wool traders. While wool is a naturally non-toxic, biodegradable, and chemically neutral fiber, Tibetan wools are not certified as “organic” by the Organic Trade Association as this would require testing of soil throughout the immense plateau.

Wool absorbs dye color into its core beautifully, but feels dry to the touch in moist weather. Spills bead on the surface, there is no static build-up; it’s a fabulous insulating layer, a wonderful sound absorber, odor resistant, and slightly antibacterial.  More dramatically, wool ignites at a higher temperature than plant fibers and synthetics, has low heat release, low “flame spread”, and is self extinguishing with less smoke and toxic gas emitted than alternatives.

Large pile carpet making is not part of the nomadic migratory tradition, but tents, clothing, storage bags and household needs are woven from sheep, yak and goat hairs and are integral to survival. Traditionally men spin the wool, while women weave cloth and small carpets for tents, flooring, saddle pads and horse blankets. Each group of Dropka maintains ties with communities living at lower altitudes in order to sell their wools and purchase supplies such as barley.

In choosing to use Tibetan wool, Lapchi weaves fine design, craftsmanship, and the natural world of a traditional nomadic herding culture into breathtakingly beautiful carpets for your clients.

Lapchi - All Wool Detail - Anthemion, Pebble and Honeycomb

Photograpy: Thanks to Michael Jones, Kerry Smith and Mani Lama

The Quintessential Question – Surface or Object?

February 26, 2010

How many times has a client terminated a potential carpet sale by saying, “I love it, but it just didn’t work”?

On a base level, it is not enough to love a carpet as an individual piece. The carpet has to fulfill design intentions and expectations to be a success. A successful carpet choice is based on how well it performs in a room. If the client understands the process, they will feel better about making a selection and a purchase.

Carpets can fall into two basic visual functions, as “Surfaces” or as “Objects”

Before launching into a description about a carpet’s color, type and mood with a client, try discussing the “Surface or Object ” concept with them. It’s simple and it works.

Sutra in Pumice

On the “Surface”

“Surface” style carpets allow your eye to flow over and through the pattern with ease. The eye is NOT drawn to the carpet first when you see it in the furnished space. Surface carpets tend to represent an architectural plane upon which the client’s furnishings rest. A “surface” carpet works like a beige carpet in an all beige room, becoming a supporting player.

As an “Object”

“Object” carpets draw the eye to themselves. These are carpets that tend to be seen as “art for the floor”. They function as paintings often do, by providing visual information. Object rugs can stand alone or drive a room scheme with their visual punch. Many traditional rugs tend to function as “objects” because of their complex patterns and colors. Object rugs want to take center stage, and often provide the color palette for the room.

Sutra in the colorway Moonstone and Oyster

A key to the “Surface or Object” question is often color

An oversize complex floral, typically considered an “object”, can be made to feel more like a “surface” by weaving it in variations of the same color without much contrast. By the same token, a subtle tonal pattern can be pushed toward being an “object” by weaving it in bright, contrasting colors.

The color relationship between floor and carpet will also play a huge part in making a carpet feel as if it’s a “surface” or an “object”. Imagine that the floor is dark chocolate and the carpet is ivory, or alternatively, visualize a pale limestone floor covered by a soft ivory carpet. If there is a high color contrast, the carpet will “jump” off the floor. But if the carpet and the flooring color are similar, the resulting effect will act like a “surface” because the two will visually blend.

Fronde installation

An opportunity to be valued

The simple “Surface or Object” concept can empower an overwhelmed and uninformed client. It promotes an understanding of how each choice can shape a project, going well beyond purchasing on impulse. By utilizing the “Surface or Object” concept you are sharing with your client a visual tool that will allow them to make informed decisions on the way to finding their “perfect carpet”.

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