Arup also worked on the Opera House and the two men met during the early stages of its design, culminating in Ahm asking Utzon to design his home which he built in Harpenden, Hertfordshire from 1961-3. It was to be Utzon’s only completed project in the UK.
This low-lying Pavilion of concrete and brick unfolds to dramatically reveal floor to ceiling glass bringing the secluded, mature gardens into the classic mid-Century space. In the words of architecture critic Hugh Pearman “Probably the best Modern house in the world”.
As Ahm’s family grew, a later extension was added by Ulrik Plesner in association with Christopher Beaver Associates in 1972-4.
Now Grade II listed, from the street the house gives nothing away, dominated by its car port (and the later garage which formed part of the Plesner extension)
Ahm’s widow sold the house after his death in 2005 and it was sold again in 2016. The new owners wanted to maintain the character of the home and employed Architects Coppin Dockray to work on the interiors which have been sensitively restored. The restoration went on to win the Wallpaper* Design Award 2019 for Best Remastered Building.
Fast forward to Autumn last year and our shoot which featured Deirdre’s PLUMES, HARLEQUIN, MANDARIN, BURLESQUE and FEATHER BOUND rugs – Deirdre and Edison knew something special would unfold when they attended the shoot at the Ahm House and the finished photographs by Michael Sinclair are testament to that.
There is no better way to bring life to your interior than commission a perfectly proportioned hand knotted luxury rug, custom designed and coloured to suit your space.
The right rug anchors a room, can create a template for the colours used in an interior, frame a piece of furniture, ‘zone’ a space or be a focal point in itself. Within Deirdre Dyson’s Rug Collection there is something for every scheme.
We’ve selected five of Deirdre Dyson’s luxurious bespoke hand knotted rugs to show how the right design can really bring a space to life.
This dynamic design uses three colours, one wool and two silk, making it an easy rug to incorporate into any interior.
It’s the intricacy of this hand knotted rug that truly brings it to life, with a lower pile height and the careful carving of elements, this fine rug sits comfortably in a traditional or contemporary context.
An apparently simple design that actually uses five colours in the silk ‘bars’ which can reflect the colours used in your interior, dialling up or down the colour to suit the mood of the room.
In this light and airy open plan penthouse apartment, a range of blues reflect not only the blue supporting columns and the furniture and accessories selected by the owner but also the sky outside.
The carpet also zones the seating area bordered by an L shaped sofa, whilst glass coffee tables are cleverly used so the view of the entire rug design is unobstructed, adding to the light and airy feel of the space.
What better way to breathe life into a room than bring the outside in? The rich palette of green silks used in FOREST MOSAIC would bring an organic freshness to any interior, particularly restful tones for a bedroom or sitting room.
Mosaic is one of Deirdre’s signature motifs and the intricacy of mosaic carpets allow the introduction of several colours which can have varying tonal shifts – for instance ROSE MOSAIC uses graduated reds and pinks whilst the mosaic effect adds a contemporary edge to the floral theme.
This modernist hallway is lifted by the bold primary colours in Deirdre’s HARLEQUIN hand knotted rug from this year’s PLUMAGE Collection.
The pops of red, black and white provide focal points and elements of drama contrasting with the strong blue shades in its wool/silk mix background and work perfectly with the stark simplicity of the brickwork walls and carefully selected furniture and objets.
The graded silk copper bars in this hand knotted design reflect the burnished metal fence enclosing the patio outside and the graded blue wool reflects the sky.
Referencing the outside expands the sense of space in this narrow room, cleverly creating an optical illusion as the design is also reflected in the large expanse of glass.
Deirdre Dyson’s colour choices in this rug lifts this otherwise stark garden room and gives focus and softness to a space that could otherwise seem austere and unwelcoming. The perfect place to relax on the classic Eames lounge chairs!
2019 marks the centenary of the Bauhaus, one of the most significant movements in art and design of the 21st Century.
In 1919, Walter Gropius became the director of a new institution created from the merger of two art schools in Weimar. This new school, the Staatliches Bauhaus, was to be known simply as the Bauhaus. Even though Gropius was an architect and the term ‘Bauhaus’ literally translates as “construction house,” it did not solely concentrate on architecture, it was a school encompassing all elements of art and design.
Gropius aim was “to create a new guild of craftsmen, without the class distinctions which raise an arrogant barrier between craftsman and artist.” Combining influences from modernism, the English Arts and Crafts movement, and Constructivism, Gropius promoted the idea that design was to serve the community and exist in its purist form, epitomised in the Bauhaus principle ‘Form follows function’.
The interdisciplinary nature of the Bauhaus realised the concept of “Gesamtkunstwerk,” or complete work of art, meaning the visual arts, graphic design product and furniture design as well as architecture combined to create a cohesive environment comprising simple, elegant geometric shapes, solid colours and minimalist spaces.
Having moved over the course of its existence from Weimar to Dessau and finally Berlin, the Bauhaus was closed by the Nazis in 1933 for producing ‘degenerate art’. Despite this suppression, the Bauhaus lived on and it’s ideologies spread as many of its staff and students fled Germany bringing the school’s idealistic concepts with them, influences that continue to have an impact on design today.
Despite being known as a minimalist discipline, The Bauhaus felt an understanding of colour was of paramount importance and colour theories taught as part of the school’s foundation course by artists Johannes Itten, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, and Josef Albers formed the basis of contemporary colour theory. This included expanding the colour wheel, developing ideas of colour contrast, exploring the psychological effects of colour and their spiritual and transcendental nature.
Like any colourist, Deirdre Dyson’s designs inadvertently pay homage to the Bauhaus concepts and artists, with both the application of colour theory and form but some of Deirdre’s rug designs really do make a more obvious nod to the movement, none more so than ANGULUS with its stark geometry and solid colours.
Several of Deirdre’s designs or bespoke reworkings never make it to the loom, so for a bit of fun, we’ve trawled through the archive to find some other Deirdre Dyson designs which illustrate Bauhaus principles of form and colour, here’s what we’ve found.
Lady Deirdre Dyson was commissioned to create fourteen contemporary carpets – six hand knotted, free-standing rugs and eight gun tufted, fitted carpets together with a stair runner over four floors for this 18th Century listed Georgian townhouse.
The house, actually two adjoining properties, was restored and repurposed by Alexander Martin Architects (AMA) for use as private offices in Mayfair, London.
The brief required Deirdre to design a total of 350 square metres of highest quality wool and silk floor coverings for the entire property.
The incredible gun tufted 100% wool graded carpet created for the oak barley twist staircase.
Materials throughout the building were selected for their timeless quality, echoing those present in the original building. A palette of natural oak, stone and pale grey provides a backdrop for the bespoke Deirdre Dyson carpets used throughout.
The expanses of wool and silk used in the rug, carpet and runner designs sit perfectly with remaining original features and the stark modern interior application in the office spaces on the upper floors.
The central oak barley twist staircase is dramatically hugged top to bottom by a stair runner that creates a sense of movement with graded hues that flow from dark to light (pictured above)
A bespoke gun tufted, fitted version of TWILIGHT in one of the top floor office spaces.
Through her use of bold geometric designs, Lady Dyson developed a scheme to bring contrast and complimentary accent colours which define and enhance the individual rooms. A total of fifty separate colours were used across the project with some carpets having up to sixteen colours alone.
The carpets give each room a separate identity and interest but Dyson has connected the spaces using a similar colour palette, often through the use of colour grading, adding personality with dramatic bursts of colour, be it a bold blue or vivid terracotta. All working in tandem with remaining original features and the architect’s contemporary reworking of the building.
The scale of these carpets created challenges for both our weavers in Nepal (in some cases measuring up to 5m square) and the skilled tufters here in the UK as well as specialist fitters but a close, collaborative team effort realised Deirdre Dyson’s vision to stunning effect.
The project featured in an extensive editorial feature in Wallpaper* magazine, click here to read.
We love revealing Deirdre’s new rug designs at Maison & Objet every January but by contrast, Deirdre’s annual UK collection launch, held here in the intimacy of our Kings Road gallery, is by far the highlight of our year.
The evening gives Deirdre a chance to catch up with valued friends of the brand as well as clients old and new and introduce her carpets in person whilst guests can touch and feel the incredible quality of the finished designs, see the lustre of the silk and the true colours which are always best viewed ‘in the flesh’.
This year’s collection inspired by the hues and patterns of birds and their feathers, is a riot of colour and contrast and provoked much admiration and discussion. As did Deirdre’s first carpet artwork, UNBOUND, created in a limited edition of three and intricately handwoven in 32 colours of wool and silk.
UNBOUND was recently included in The Luxury Cave launch event at the Design Museum and was so overwhelmingly well received that Deirdre is now working on another limited-edition wall piece, more details to be revealed soon.
Flowers by Clayton at Strudwick Flowers provided the perfect backdrop to the evening’s festivities. Deirdre had requested natural arrangements with fluid forms reflecting the designs on display and Clayton fulfilled this brief perfectly, picking up the reds in both HARLEQUIN and UNBOUND on the first floor and the golden and buttery tones of GOLDEN PHEASANT and BURLESQUE on the ground floor.
This year guests enjoyed lavender cocktails selected by Edison to compliment the purple found in Deirdre’s new QUILLS rug design, Champagne and Dyson wine together with delicious canapes by Aquashard such as mushroom arancini, steak tartare and mini fish and chips. Guests were extremely well looked after by Aquashard’s John Wiltshire and his team.
The gallery, designed by Architect Timothy Hatton (pictured) comes in to its own at night and the wonderful atmosphere led to a very special evening celebrating another stellar rug collection by Deirdre.
Last month Deirdre joined a host of hand-picked luxury interiors, fine art, couture and automotive brands exhibiting at ‘Curation of the Finest’, a collection of rare and one-off contemporary collectables and objects, showcased by Luxury Cave at London’s Design Museum.
Deirdre Dyson in front of her UNBOUND limited edition carpet artwork.
Luxury Cave‘s aim is to ‘present a new viewpoint of luxury that focuses on objects that speak of craftsmanship, emotion and investment of time.’
Deirdre Dyson’s carpets fulfil this brief perfectly – the combination of Deirdre’s sketches and colour selection realised as carpets through the age-old craft of hand knotting by artisan craftspeople and the bespoke process, cannot be rushed, assisted by but impervious to technological advances. This is slow design at its finest.
Deirdre was excited to create and unveil her first ever Carpet Artwork exclusively for the event.
The ultimate expression of her background as a Fine Artist and Carpet Designer – UNBOUND will be created in a limited edition of three (the first of which is available to purchase exclusively via the Luxury Cave website)
Deirdre took inspiration from ‘the rising steps to freedom and breaking away from the ties that bind us’ and the piece is a joyous juxtaposition of colours hand knotted in wool and silk.
Deirdre also exhibited her intricate PLUMES carpet from this year’s PLUMAGE Rug Collection, bespoke versions of which will also be available exclusively through the Luxury Cave website for the next three months.
Deirdre Dyson’s PLUMES carpet on exhibit at the Design Museum, London
PLUMES is a masterly intricate carpet design of interlocking feather barbs on a deep navy background with striking turquoise tips, the fine detail of which posed a real challenge to our incredibly skilled Nepalese weavers.
Both pieces, as with all Deirdre Dyson carpet designs, are Goodweave certified.
Other exhibitors and curated objects included Fine Jeweller Fabio Salini, fine art by Lucio Fontana and Alighiero Boetti, the intricately embroidered handbags of Parisian Designer Carole Tessier’s label ‘Preciously Paris‘, Auto Fabrica, Furniture by Studio Drift, Thomas Heatherwick and Pinto Paris, the Aston Martin Lagonda and Fashion Designer Mary Katrantzou celebrated the 10th Anniversary of her brand as part of the event.
Luxury Cave’s Chanda Pandya and Darren Miller with Fashion Designer Mary Katrantzou in front of Deirdre Dyson’s UNBOUND artwork and PLUMES carpet.
Created by the perfect combination of color, energy and shape, Souk mirrors reflect the influences of overwhelming and visually fascinating Souk markets in northern Africa with its vibrant fringes and earthy colors resembling typical macramé techniques, spotted on the Dooq stand.
Fun gin bottles on the Sieger by Furstenberg stand who employed a Mixologist to create delightful cocktails in their wonderful crystal!
Brand new colour variations and a different take on cut glass in these lamps by Vista Alegre
Deirdre’s new rug collection has received a wonderful reception at Maison & Objet Paris, where eight of nine new designs on display in Hall 8, stand A32 were showcased on a custom made, towering stand painted with Argile paint colours selected personally by Deirdre to complement each of the new carpet designs. Deirdre relishes the opportunity to be on the stand at Maison meet clients and discuss the designs and their inspiration.
Yet again Deirdre has pushed the boundaries of the art of hand knotting to create very distinctive designs using pops of colour (HARLEQUIN), intricate detail (PLUMES/FEATHER BOUND/QUILLS) or colour grading (GOLDEN PHEASANT, EAGLE) from the abstracted (MANDARIN) to the figurative (FLIGHT) creating a new collection that celebrates her instinctive eye for colour and cleverly plays with the shapes and forms of birds and their feathers to create unique designs.
Each design uses varying amounts of silk to mirror the shimmering nature of bird’s plumage and Deirdre’s chosen colour palette is shot with vibrant hues that give the organic forms a 3D quality.
Bordered rugs such as BURLESQUE and FEATHER BOUND are endlessly adaptable – for use under a dining table or bed whereas the bold Studio 54esque GOLDEN PHEASANT makes a statement all of its own as does the elegant scale of the exquisite EAGLE.
Last year’s HORIZONS Collection played with scale and Deirdre continues this trend with the largest carpet on display, EAGLE mirroring the wing span of its namesake, an impressive 3.4 metres wide.
As with all Deirdre’s designs these sample carpets are just the start, each design can be created in any colourway or size required and most designs can also be gun tufted in 100% wool should the client or space require it.
We can’t wait to reveal the new rug designs Deirdre Dyson has created for her 2019 PLUMAGE collection.
With an intuitive eye for colour, Deirdre cleverly combines the bright shades (violet blues, cherry red, slate blue, black) and abstract markings of a pretty male sea duck for her HARLEQUIN design.
EAGLE (pictured) is an impressive 3.4 metres wide, depicting the magnificent wing span of this majestic bird – the large scale allows Deirdre to include intricate feathery detail and create a spectacular three-dimensional effect through directional colour grading.
Other designs, such as the rich colour palette of GOLDEN PHEASANT, accurately reflects the beautiful tones of this quintessential British bird.
Deirdre’s practice as a fine artist allows her to expertly combine colours to create a beautiful composition that will enhance any surface and interior, as she skillfully captures the shimmer of the natural oils of a feather through the use of gorgeous silk against a luxurious wool background.
“In this collection I have delved deep into the feathers of pheasants and abstracted designs of ducks. I singled out some feathers and enfolded carpets with others. Together they make a varied collection of colourful drama and soft luxury. In creating them, our brilliant craftspeople have succeeded with the most difficult technical challenges I have ever set them.”
Be the first to see the new collection unveiled on 18 January 2019 at the prestigious Maison et Objet interiors exhibition in Paris, in Hall 8 ‘Forever Signature’, stand A32.