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The story behind....our Solstice Rugs

March 02, 2018

The story behind....our Solstice Rugs

Leading the way in contemporary flooring, Floor_Story are making a name for themselves as one of the most exciting and innovative rug companies around. Also known as 'east London's friendliest rug dealer', we wanted to share a bit more with you about how we ended up working with Simon from Floor_Story and the thought process behind our latest design - Solstice (pictured below in the three colour ways we currently offer).

This is the second rug collaboration we have worked on together, our first adventure into rugs followed shortly after having stands opposite each other at Designjunction back in 2014. For those of you that have ever taken part in any kind of retail or trade show, whatever your craft or career, you'll know just how crucial it is to have good neighbours - especially when you're manning your stand solo! So Simon and I bonded over the usual show scenarios (coffee runs and toilet breaks), but also (and I hope Simon would agree?!) we shared a similar sense of humour. 

Since launching my business back in 2011, one of the most important things I think I've learnt is the importance of human relationships in business. Whether it's a relationship I've developed with a supplier, customer, client or my own studio assistant Cecilia, all of these relationships are crucial to creating products, selling work, teaching or developing projects and it's hugely important to me that I work with people who I respect and share similar values with. I think that's one of the great things about being a small business, there's no huge walls of hierarchy so if you phone, you'll probably get me (or my answering phone!) but I'm accountable for all the decisions so good working relationships with people I trust are essential.

Solstice - Pink & Green (photo by Caro Weiss)

Anyway, back to rugs...after meeting Simon and spending five days opposite each other,  I contacted him and we began the journey of collaboration. Never having designed a rug before, it was great to work with someone who knew so much about the trade and had so much enthusiasm for it!

I think this second time around I had learnt a lot from my first rug experience, I was more accustomed to the shock of seeing my work translate from a slick, flat illustrator file to a beautiful, woven piece of wool. I really did get a shock the first time - it was a good shock, but as a screen printer who works mainly with flat, bold, graphic shapes, it was quite a different experience seeing my work translated in this way. I instantly loved how textural the rugs were and how drawn to touching them I was - I always think that if you want to touch a fabric or material, it's a good thing!

the final green & pink tufts

I absolutely loved the process of picking colours from Simon's rug tuft box. It shouldn't have come as a surprise as I can easily spend hours at the print table mixing colours, so it was a complete joy to pick wool tufts out and try to match different combinations together. I always have colours in mind when I design though, so I knew the combinations I was after...I just had to choose the EXACT shade of pink, mustard etc....

maybe my new favourite colour combination - pink & mustard

Solstice was intentionally designed to work with the weaving process, I wanted this design to only have perpendicular lines, but the inspiration for the design came from my Creative Scotland funded Finnish residency last March (you can read more about this here). Observing the extremes of daylight hours and how much that influences human behaviour really struck me. I've been lucky enough to be in Finland during lighter and darker months (sadly never at either Solstice though) and much like Scotland, the long, bright summery nights are in such a huge contrast to those brief winter daylight hours. With this design I wanted to represent that increase and decrease in daylight throughout the year so the design actually developed through maths and making measured, small increments to the rectangles I'd created to allow for this changing cycle of colour - as daylight increases, darkness decreases and vice versa. 

Large Solstice in Pink & Mustard (photo by Caro Weiss)

The result is a bold yet simple rug design with strong colour combinations. It comes in two sizes (120cm x 180cm or 160cm x 230cm) and is available to buy from Floor_Story's website or from their beautiful showroom in East London. Simon and his team are super helpful, so if you have any questions, get in touch!

All of Floor_Story's rugs are handwoven in India by trusted suppliers who Simon visits twice a year. Some of the weavers Simon has worked with for 12 years and most of their rugs are now Good Weave certified (this is a global strategy to end child labour in the production of rugs) with the remainder in the process of becoming endorsed.

Solstice hanging up in the Floor_Story showroom

We thought it might be nice to finish up this post with a few questions, so we asked Simon about his company and his preferences for rugs, flowers and music amongst other things...

- Collaborations are a core part of what you do at Floor_Story, what do you like most about collaborating with others?

Simply, I just enjoy working with creatives and seeing what they bring to something that serves a practical purpose, as well as an aesthetic one. The only rule we have at FLOOR_STORY is that our collaborators mustn’t have designed a rug before. 

I want our rugs to tap into the designer’s art and so give them as much freedom as possible, as this always leads to a fabulous result. It’s FLOOR_STORY’s job to turn this art into a beautiful rug. 

There’s something hugely rewarding in the entire process and I love being ‘hands on’, working with the designer to develop the work in our studio; sitting around our big table and trying to find just the right shade of pink from a 100 different variations. 

Most of all though, I love the look of awe on the faces of each and every collaborator when we reveal their rug for the very first time. 


- Is there a dream rug collaboration you've not done yet?

I used to have a burning desire to work with Timorous Beasties, but since their work with Brintons, a British heritage carpet manufacturer, my one and only rule means they are off the cards. Maybe Gilbert and George or Adam Neate - either of those would be amazing. 


- What was the first rug you ever bought or inherited?

The first ‘proper’ rug I bought was a Turkish vintage patchwork that I found on one of my regular trips to Istanbul. We had this for around 10 years and I’ve only just sold it on, showing just how enduring they are. Our house now has a number of vintage pieces picked up on these trips, and I think I might have a little bit of a ‘problem’ developing! I’m waiting for our daughter to get a little older before I buy a couple of dream pieces. 

Finally, here's a little fun quiz for you....those who know me well, know how much I love a good quiz! So...

- Hand tufted or hand-knotted?


- Monochrome or colour?


- Wool or Silk


- Florals or Geometrics


- Dirty beats or dirty bass lines

Dirty bass lines, but mostly sweet soul

-  Sunrise or Sunset


- Tulips or Daffodils



Big thanks to Simon for the chat (and continued collaborations!) and if rugs aren't your thing, but you love this pattern, we also have printed cushions available on our site here...

Forest & Solstice Cushions in blue + green, sat on a reconditioned Ercol footstool using our Milkky fabric (photo by Caro Weiss)

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