Nine questions for Nani.

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Meet designer Nani Marquina, a superb colorist who has been designing rugs for DWR customers for more than a decade, starting with her Roses Rug in 2005. “A rug must make people feel comfortable,” says the designer who continues to impress us with her timeless, inviting aesthetic.

Q: How do you begin?

A: Inspiration arrives when you are most receptive and full of energy. I’m always observing needs, trends and social changes for ideas that can be transformed into rugs. As soon as I have a concept, we translate it onto paper and then investigate fiber and material options. Before sending it out for a full prototype, I’ll sometimes make a reduced sample on a small tabletop loom.

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Tools in Marquina’s studio. Photo by Albert Font.

Q: How do you know when it’s done?

A: Pure intuition, an inner feeling that tells me the rug is good.

Q: What’s the greatest challenge in rug design?

A: Being faithful to an idea, to the initial concept, and refusing to be conditioned by possible manufacturing techniques or costs.

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Photo by Albert Font.

Q: What’s your Barcelona studio like?

A: I’m fortunate to work in the Gràcia neighborhood, an area with a town-like atmosphere within the city. It’s filled with tree-lined squares, small pedestrian streets and restaurants that have been around for ages. The atelier is housed in an old textile factory with an interior courtyard full of plants. The original windows are intact, letting in lots of light, while the rest of the space has been refurbished, a blank canvas filled with colorful hanging rugs, moveable panels and walls of samples.

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Marquina’s studio. Photo by Albert Font.
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Marquina’s studio. Photo by Albert Font.

Q: What are your favorite things to do?

A: I love activities that bring me in contact with nature, and experiences that surround me with beauty, such as hiking. Beauty is such an important part of my inspiration.

Q: What was your favorite subject in school?

A: Geography. I’ve always had a great curiosity regarding travel and, above all, a restless interest to discover how an environment conditions its inhabitants regarding their culture and traditions.

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Photo by Albert Font.

Q: How do you overcome creative block?

A: I usually take refuge in my house in the mountains, near the Pyrenees, where peace and tranquility infuse me with energy to face the challenge of the blank sheet.

Q: Why did you become a rug designer?

A: After studying industrial design at the Massana School of Design in Barcelona, I started working in an interior design studio. With each project, I was frustrated that I couldn’t find the types of rugs I wanted, so I started designing my own. That led to a new career as a rug designer.

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The Medina Rug by Nani Marquina. Photo by Albert Font.

Q: What advice would you give to new designers?

A: Don’t worry so much about what you don’t know how to do. Let yourself be guided by your ability and intuition.

Learn more about Nani Marquina.