The DesignerYou can be cool while still keeping your feet warm! With his modern designs, Jan Kath (born 1972) is creating a completely new perspective on carpets. Guided by a bold approach in his work, Kath, originally from Bochum, combines classical elements of Oriental carpets with contemporary, minimalist design. [more]
You can be cool while still keeping your feet warm! With his modern designs, Jan Kath (born 1972) is creating a completely new perspective on carpets. Guided by a bold approach in his work, Kath, originally from Bochum, combines classical elements of Oriental carpets with contemporary, minimalist design.
He consciously breaks with traditional ways of seeing and throws strict rules of composition out of the window. While an entire generation once rolled up their grandmothers Persian rugs and exiled them from the living room, Kaths designs are now bringing them "back to the floor." "Nobody feels really comfortable in clinically styled apartments with highly polished concrete floors," Kath explains. "Our carpets are an organic dotting of the i, islands of well-being with a healing effect in cool interiors without destroying the overall style." Kath has developed an unmistakable signature that defines style and is one of the most important carpet designers on the international stage today. His concepts have earned numerous accolades, including the Red Dot award and Carpet Design Award. More and more of his work is now appearing in museums that showcase art and design such as the Frankfurt Museum of Applied Art, the Beijing International Design Triennial, and Art Museum Riga Bourse, Latvia. Kath is an autodidact. The matrix for his innovative designs is formed by a relationship to carpets with deep emotional roots: he is from the third generation of a family of carpet dealers who have branches in the Ruhr and in Berlin. When he was just a young boy, he and his father, Martin Kath, used to visit manufacturers in Iran and Nepal. These experiences trained his eye and awakened a fundamental understanding of color combinations and proportions. At the same time, Kath never wanted to follow in the footsteps of his parents, and he never intended to continue running the business for them. In order to find his own way, he traveled through Asia and the Middle East when he was 20 years old. During this trip, he wound up, more or less accidentally, in Nepal. There, friends of his family offered him the opportunity to start working as a quality controller in their carpet production business. His "connection with the world of carpets" was reestablished. Later, Kath took control of the manufacturing process and began to produce his own designs. Inspired by numerous trips through vibrant world cities such as Paris, Istanbul, New York, Tokyo, Beirut, Sydney, and, last but not least, his home the Ruhr, with its archaic industrial culture he quickly developed an individual signature. Although the allure created by imperfection, erosion, and transformation plays a central role in his designs, Kath is "uncompromisingly conservative" where quality is concerned.
bochum | stuttgart | berlin | new yorkThe Jan Kath Design creative center is located in an old, 1,000 square meter factory loft at Friederikastrasse 148 in Bochum. The new collection is presented on temporary walls in the showroom, beneath old steel beams and lifting cranes. [more]
Showrooms and store
bochum | stuttgart | berlin | new york
The Jan Kath Design creative center is located in an old, 1,000 square meter factory loft at Friederikastrasse 148 in Bochum. The new collection is presented on temporary walls in the showroom, beneath old steel beams and lifting cranes.
Bochum - Stuttgart - Berlin - New York
Large-format carpets made of wool, shimmering silk, and stinging-nettle fibers are shown to their best advantage in a light-flooded hall that has the rough charm of the industrial culture of a past age. By prior appointment, carpet dealers and their customers are allowed to have a look around the private gallery, which adjoins the showroom. JK collections are sold around the world by selected trading partners. In recent years, Jan Kath has developed into a very strong brand with a major influence on trends in the carpet design industry. At one time, customers used to look for a particular kind of carpet whose pattern was representative of a certain region or people for example a "Bidjar," "Afghan," "Buchara," or "Keshan". Today, however, the most important factors are the designer and the variety of ideas he or she has to offer. "People dont search through large piles of carpets looking for just any pretty pattern," explains Kath, pointing out that most customers ask explicitly for a certain designer. "People want to see the individual signature in the work a concept that they can understand." For this reason, Jan Kath opened his first flagship stores in the fall of 2011. His most recent collections are displayed in a 150 square meter gallery located at Brunnenstrasse 3 in the Mitte district of Berlin (near Rosenthaler Platz).The JK store in Stuttgart (Wilhelmstrasse 8b), which opened its doors in 2012, is 100 square meters in size. He also exhibits his designs in a 350 square meter converted loft close to the Marlborough Gallery and Pace Gallery in New York (555 West 25th Street). The British magazine COVER celebrated the inauguration of the Manhattan store with the words "Kath is going global" and predicted that "it is only a matter of time until another Jan Kath shop opens in a town near you "
Quality and ManufacturingJan Kath is one of the most important carpet designers on the international stage. His carpets can be found everywhere in the homes of Arabian royalty, in the villa of rock star Anthony Kiedis in Hawaii, in private suites at the "Four Seasons" in Cairo, on the luxury yachts of multinational oil conglomerates, and in the showrooms of important Parisian fashion labels. [more]
Quality and Manufacturing
Jan Kath is one of the most important carpet designers on the international stage. His carpets can be found everywhere in the homes of Arabian royalty, in the villa of rock star Anthony Kiedis in Hawaii, in private suites at the "Four Seasons" in Cairo, on the luxury yachts of multinational oil conglomerates, and in the showrooms of important Parisian fashion labels.
Quality and Manufacturing
With regard to size, format, and materials, the carpets can be made according to individual wishes. Even items from the collections can be freely combined with one another in a kind of modular design system. Yarns from wool, silk, and stinging nettles are available in a range of over 1,200 colors. Kaths modern designs first take shape on computers in the creative center in Bochum in the Ruhr district of Germany and are sent electronically to be made in Nepal, Thailand, India, or Morocco. Nevertheless, he relies on long-established production methods for the realization of his ideas. The carpets are handwoven in the Himalayas in Agra, the ancient Mogul capital in India or in the Atlas mountains of Morocco in line with centuries-old traditions and at manufacturing sites that are often still run as small family businesses. There are between 100 and 450 knots in every square inch of carpet (2.54 square centimeters). It takes three to four months to weave a carpet measuring 2.5 × 3 meters. For the collections made in Asia, the basic material is Tibetan highland wool, which is of the highest grade and has the most robust quality available. Shepherds use yaks to bring the wool from the mountains to the base station, where it is washed in the river before being culled (combed) and spun by hand. Only ecologically tested dyes that are purely natural or specially produced in Switzerland are used in the dyeing process. In addition to the wool, the finest Chinese silk and yarn from stinging-nettle fibers help create appealing reflections and an exceptional haptic experience. One-of-a-kind natural materials in combination with manual production techniques lend each carpet its own particular character, making it a unique piece.
Our Self-imageFair payment and good working conditions are a matter, of course, for Jan Kath. Together with Label STEP, we are fully committed to adhering to strict social and ecological standards in the production of carpets. [more]
Fair payment and good working conditions are a matter, of course, for Jan Kath. Together with Label STEP, we are fully committed to adhering to strict social and ecological standards in the production of carpets.
STEP was founded as an independent non-governmental organization in 1995 by well-known aid organizations such as Bread for the World, Caritas, and Swissaid. It has an active local presence in all of the major carpet-producing countries, including Afghanistan, India, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Morocco, Nepal, Pakistan, and Turkey. Independent inspectors regularly visit production sites to check the working conditions. Based on current market prices, Label STEP calculates the wages required by carpet weavers and other workers to cover the cost of food, health care, living, energy, clothes, and education for themselves and their families. Both STEP and Jan Kath are firmly against exploitative child labor. A system of fair trade and rigorous regulation helps to prevent child labor and also combats its causes by improving working conditions and increasing wages. It also creates prospects for young people: only when parents earn enough to secure a livelihood for their families, can they afford to send their children to school instead of letting them work. "Ive lived and worked in Nepal and Mongolia for several years myself," says Kath. He feels a close connection with the locals in these countries and visits the production facilities every month. "Of course, its a moral imperative. But its also in our own interest as a business to make sure that we provide the right working conditions. We set up day cares so our employees children dont run around playing between the weaving stools. This gives our workers the peace and quiet they need to concentrate many of our designs are highly intricate and difficult to create. We also want to keep the craft of weaving appealing. After all, we need a motivated skilled workforce in our factories, both for today and in the future." To find out more, visit www.label-step.org
HAND-knottedA carpet grows very slowly. Row by row, centimeter by centimeter, the pattern appears like a page emerging from an inkjet printer. When a hand-made rug by JAN KATH is created, it takes between 100 and 450 knots to complete every square inch (2.54 square centimeters). [more]
A carpet grows very slowly. Row by row, centimeter by centimeter, the pattern appears like a page emerging from an inkjet printer. When a hand-made rug by JAN KATH is created, it takes between 100 and 450 knots to complete every square inch (2.54 square centimeters).
To produce a piece that is 2.5 meters wide, four or five carpet weavers sit side by side on a bench. Stretched out in front of them on the loom are the warp threads, which form the basic frame of the rug. The carpet weavers need to work in complete harmony and at an equal pace. This is because our rugs grow horizontally. Once a row is complete, the knots are fixed in place with the "closing thread" and packed tight using a comb hammer. Only then is it possible to begin the next row of knots. It requires real teamwork. The more complex a design is, the more detailed the knot pattern becomes, and the longer it takes to realize a piece in textile form. JAN KATH has always supported the traditional method of tying knots by hand. Although his designs break away from traditional ways of seeing the world, he favors styles of craftsmanship that have existed for hundreds of years when it comes to production. For 15 years now, the factory workers in Kathmandu, Nepal, have used Tibetan techniques. However, it goes without saying that the art of weaving by hand is not confined to the Himalayas. Many countries and cultures have produced carpets with their own individual character. In Persia, the birthplace of the rug, it is not uncommon for techniques and signature features to vary from village to village. "I adore these different forms of expression, and I have made it my mission to keep them alive," explains Kath. "In Morocco, for example, we use a nomadic Berber technique that results in a rustic, archaic effect." This seemingly unsophisticated meth-od causes the yarn to open on the surface, which is the only way to allow the rich sheen of the white wool from the Atlas highlands to come into its own. Jan Kath also uses the Turkish knotting method, which has transcended the geographical boundaries of weaving regions. "We use this technique for projects in Anatolia and Agra, in the ancient Mogul capitals of India and in our experimental workshop in Afghanistan." After the carpet has grown inch by inch over several months on the loom and the last knot has been tied, the second stage can begin: washing. This is an important process that has a major influence on the final look of a piece. It can bring out the brilliance of the colors or give them an emphatically subdued appearance. The wash is therefore responsible for deciding whether a carpet looks brand new or centuries old. In order to give pieces their final shape, they are stretched on a frame when still wet and carefully laid out to dry in the sun in inner courtyards and on the roofs of houses. It is a sophisticated art to get the finer details just right.
hand tuftJan Kath considers himself a couturier for floors. For large projects such as luxury hotels and exclusive shops or VIP lounges in airports he also produces high-quality hand-tufted carpets made in factories. [more]
Jan Kath considers himself a couturier for floors. For large projects such as luxury hotels and exclusive shops or VIP lounges in airports he also produces high-quality hand-tufted carpets made in factories.
His customers include Tiffany, Boss, Ferragamo, and one of the most successful names in French fashion. The quality of JK tufting is extremely robust. In comparison to handwoven items, tufted carpets can be produced at a significantly faster rate. In summer 2011, a TV audience of 30 million looked on as Prince Albert II and his bride Charlène walked down the aisle at their fairytale wedding in Monaco. The aisle was covered with a truly magnificent piece designed by Jan Kath a 103-meter-long red carpet, weighing 1.3 tons, and with a fine white silk border. It was produced in Thailand in just two months; had it been handwoven, production would have taken at least three years. The main feature of the manual tufting method is that individual threads are not individually tied around a warp thread, but are shot from a tufting gun onto a prepared base material. Thanks to this technology, production times are shorter and it is possible to create carpets of a much larger size. The tufting process has now been refined to such an extent that almost every well-known Jan Kath design can be realized in this way. These carpets have a special depth and power of expression with their combination of winding and velour textures, diverse use of materials (silk, wool, rayon, and even hemp), and varied pile heights. For large projects, Jan Kath guarantees a delivery time of between 8 and 10 weeks including delivery, setting new standards in the tufting industry.