Jennifer Manners is our Supplier of the Week, 12-18 September.
From news journalist to rug designer, Jennifer’s background is certainly not one you’d expect. The trained interior designer has taken her wealth of world experience and translated this to create a successful rug brand after struggling to find pieces for her own projects.
We spoke with the team to find out more.
What’s the story behind the Jennifer Manners studio?
Jennifer Manners actually started her career in the US as a news journalist for the Associated Press, covering breaking stories internationally. She travelled all over the world, collecting objects and inspiration that would later influence her designs. When London became Jennifer’s permanent home, she changed direction, studied interior design at Central St. Martins and started her own interior design company. However, she struggled to find rugs that suited her eclectic taste, which is a marriage of elegance and bohemianism. She set out on a treasure hunt for the most skilled artisans in the world to make her creations a reality. Her search led her to India and Nepal where the ancient craft of weaving rugs has been alive for centuries. Every rug is designed by Jennifer and she still personally oversees every stage of the process.
Your latest collection was inspired by Jaipur – tell us more!
Yes indeed! On a manufacturing trip to India at the beginning of the year, Jennifer was inspired by the vibrancy of the Hawa Mahal (‘Palace of Winds’), located in the heart of Jaipur. The tall façade was originally built for royal women to observe festivals and the day-to-day bustle of the city. It is truly spectacular to behold. The reddish sandstone is soft but it has an earthy quality, especially when offset by the inky blue tint of the glass. It was this trip that informed the colour palette of the latest collection. The plush combination of inky blues and nude tones was translated into Skin, Chrysanthemum, Dragon Skin, Cubic and Lotus.
You spoke about how Jennifer went in search of the most skilled artisans. How and where are your products manufactured?
Our rugs are handmade by skilled craftspeople in India and Nepal (depending on the style of rug), using ancient techniques that have been passed down through the generations. In Nepal, our designs are created by tying individual knots onto a loom. It’s fascinating to see the design gradually reveal itself, as only approximately 16cm can be completed in a day. Each rug is then washed and carefully hand carved to enhance the detail. Most of our rugs take between two and three months to be completed.
What’s the most important part of your process?
The best rugs are created when great design and skilled craftsmanship come together. There isn’t one most important part as every step from choosing a design to the final details and finish is so well considered. These elements of the design all come together to inform the overall feel of the rug in the space.
What projects have your designs been used in recently?
Last week our Maze II design was installed in this stunning scheme by Laura Stephens Interior Design. We loved the pop of yellow that is then perfectly complemented by the furniture and accessories.
We are also currently preparing to install our Treetops rug as wall art in a central London hotel.
What can we expect to see in 2017?
We can’t give away too much yet, but let’s just say that Jennifer’s sketchbook was her constant companion on her recent visit to Senegal, West Africa. The design scene there is flourishing and we want to celebrate Africa now, so expect to see more than cheetah prints in vibrant colours.
Can you give us a preview as to what you will be showcasing at Decorex?
As well as the new collection rugs outlined above, we have also collaborated with furniture maker Arlo & Jacob to create a fabulously textured sheepskin chair called ‘Elton’. He’s very cosy.
Finally, can you leave us with the last time you found an object really inspiring?
We are constantly inspired by the intricate, fluid patterns of precious and semi-precious stones. Jennifer has a raw-edge Argentian agate necklace given to her by her parents many years ago that continues to be a reference point for our designs today.
To open a trade account with Jennifer Manners and start ordering from them directly, click through to their catalogue below, and then ‘request a connection’: