What began many centuries ago as a rough craft to produce heavy, knotted woollen cloths to protect shepherds from the elements has, today, evolved into a fine art. Carpets and rugs are used to add warmth, colour, texture, and design flair to interior spaces, while also keeping feet off of cold flooring. Still, few people regard rugs with the reverence that Mae Mahdiyeh Pakdoust does. At Mae Artisan Rugs, rugs and carpets are not mere floor coverings: they’re grand works of art.
“We draw much of our inspiration from nature and from the Cape’s seasonal colours and textures.”
Mae was born into a rug merchant family and so it was a natural evolution that she should follow in her father’s footsteps. She studied a Bachelor of Commerce degree but still found herself seduced by the world of weaves and so, the marriage of family inherited knowledge and business education culminated in her opening her very own rug store on Roeland Street in Cape Town in April 2014. But this is no ordinary rug store.
In Mae’s eyes, rugs are pieces of art and it just takes a fleeting inspection of her showroom floor to appreciate the verity behind this conviction. Here, piles of richly woven, textured, and boldly coloured artisan rugs are piled to shoulder length. Some pieces have been woven from bamboo silk, giving them a shimmery pearly lustre, while others look like they should be hanging in a contemporary art gallery. All of them are intriguing for their bold colours, contemporary designs, and refined detailing and beg a closer visual and tactile inspection.
No two pieces are alike
“Each piece is a true labour of love, an artistic creation intended to enhance a living space for many, many years.”
At Mae Artisan Rugs, all of the hand-woven rugs and carpets have been designed as artistic focal points or luxurious design embellishments for home or office spaces. What further sets Mae’s collections apart from most other stores’ is the fact that almost every single piece is the inspiration of Mae herself or of a collaboration with her showroom manager and right hand man, Coenraad Kotze, or well-known and respected designers, such as Malcolm Klûk and Christian Gabriel Du Toit of the KLûK CGDT label. This means that every creation is unique and, furthermore, will often be changed and adjusted according to the client’s specifications and vision and to better complement the space it’s intended for.
“People who purchase rugs from us are almost guaranteed to never find that same rug in another home or store,” Mae said.
And, from what she told us, this is really a concept that is without peer or duplicate in Cape Town.
Inspirations of nature’s ever-changing canvas
“We draw much of our inspiration from nature and from the Cape’s seasonal colours and textures,” Mae explained as she showed us several of her new designs, most of which are truly beautiful works of abstract art.
One piece featured a tumble of warm, rustic earthy colours – an ode to autumn – while another was a tempestuous clash of steel blues, greens, and greys reminiscent of the Atlantic Ocean in a Cape storm. She also has a range inspired by the night sky with its brilliance of stars and inky purple blackness, which she has aptly called “Galaxy”.
Mae Artisan Rugs also creates bespoke designs for clients. “Clients can come to us with a photograph or an artwork they particularly love and we will use the colours and feel of that imagery to create a customized rug for its intended space,” explained Mae. “We also do house visits and online consultations to help clients find or create the perfect artwork for their floors.”
Designer collaborations and awards
Mae Artisan Rugs’ design portfolio includes a handsome array of work with some of South Africa’s top interior decorators and architects, including Liam Mooney Studio, ARRCC, Craig Kaplan, Pezula, Francois Du Plessis, Okha, Lankham House, and Ebony Interiors. The luxurious Delaire Graff Wine Estate in Stellenbosch, the Dock House Boutique Hotel & Spa at the V&A Waterfront, and the Taj Hotel in Cape Town CBD are just a few places you’ll find Mae Artisan Rugs. The store has also won multiple excellence awards at South Africa’s premier décor, design, and lifestyle exhibition, Decorex; an accolade that comes as little surprise when one considers the heady combination of quality, passion, and ingenuity that is evident in each of Mae Artisan Rugs’ creations.
Phone: 021 461 2024
Address: 59 Roeland Street, Cape Town