People + Places

Nanimarquina Turns 30

30 years ago, when Nani Marquina embarked on the adventure of establishing her own company, the textile market was sorely lacking in designs that reflected the current aesthetic. To change that, Marquina’s company, nanimarquina, merged expert craftsmanship and traditional weaving techniques with contemporary design and exceptional quality. The result was the revolution of the classic area rug.

Nani Marquina, at 30th anniversary party at 2017 Salone de Mobile. Image courtesy of nanimarquina.With the company celebrating its 30th anniversary, we were lucky enough to take some time to chat with Nani Marquina about her amazing journey creating unique rugs, the company vision and upcoming projects.

What does being in business for 30 years mean to you?

It means a lot to me, a personal accomplishment with strong symbolism…

I remember my father warning: devote yourself to interior rather than product design! After all these years, I‘m most proud of being involved in the creation of a product that embodies our key qualities of good design, attractiveness and quality, all at a reasonable price.

Shade Rug by Begum Cana Ozgur, from nanimarquina. (Shade 2 shown.)

Do you feel that you’ve achieved your goals for nanimarquina over these last 30 years? What are your goals for the years to come?

When I started this adventure in 1987, my mission was clear: to modernize a classic product. However, I wasn’t sure how I would achieve this, much less how far I would go. So, in a way, I’m still surprised!

I had to overcome different challenges during these years…. The bigger one was as a designer, combining creativity with the management of the company, in a self-taught way. The goal for the years to come would be continuing to rely on consolidated expertise and brand DNA to grow our collections.

What was your favorite part about the 30 year anniversary celebration at Salone de Mobile in Milan?

Well…Salone is a hectic and busy week for all those people related to the design world. Having an attendance of almost 400 people when at the same time there are countless events, presentations and parties to compete with, it is a great achievement!

I really enjoyed seeing colleagues from the beginning: journalists, designers, clients, collaborators…. They were all as excited as me about the anniversary!

Topissimo Multi Rug from nanimarquina, in progress. Image courtesy of nanimarquina.

You’ve won many awards for your designs over the years. Which award was your first? And which one has the most personal meaning for you?

I’m not sure, but I would say that the first prestigious award collected was in 2003, the Red Dot Design Award for Topissimo rug. In 1989, Begoña rug was selected to be showcased by the Moma in New York. That was even better than a prize!

However, thanks to the National Award for Culture in 2008 in the Design category, I became more aware and very proud of my efforts. It was the first award in the Spanish design industry given to a company led by a woman.

Mia Rug from nanimarquina, in progress. Image courtesy of nanimarquina.

What was it about textiles and rug design that drew you in? What is your favorite part about creating new rug designs?

Designing carpets wasn’t a decision that was made overnight. I started out by creating prints for interior décor after studying product design. When I started in the ’80s, I realized that there were no rugs in accordance with the new aesthetics of design…

My favorite part of the design process is the beginning, looking for inspiration. Most of the times, ideas and concepts come from my travels around the world. Usually, inspiration just emerges without warning. I’m someone who always has their eyes wide open, and any little detail I see during the day can inspire a new design.

Hayon x Nani Rug by Jaime Hayon, from Nanimarquina.

The new collection Hayon x Nani is really fun and engaging. How did the collaboration with Jaime Hayon come about?

I’ve met Jaime several times and we always joked about collaborating. We just had to find the right moment and assignment. Who better than Jaime and his surreal world full of characters, to celebrate our 30th anniversary? Someone who defies conventions and evokes smiles, vitality, a joy for life. Momentous anniversaries don’t occur every day…

Hayon x Nani Rug by Jaime Hayon, from nanimarquina, in progress. Image courtesy of nanimarquina.

How have your efforts around the company’s social mission grown and changed over the years?

Contemporary design has evolved to the point that the concept of social responsibility has taken root in industrialized society. For me, the challenge is to go further and satisfy needs or create solutions for less evolved communities, what we consider to be social design.

Consumerism has forced everyone to design and produce at full speed, and without pause. We have an obligation to take into account factors such as durability, ecology and sustainability. Good design implies products that have a permanent place in your home, items that won’t be thrown away or wear out. Passing from one generation to the next, regardless of trends and fashions.

Kala Rectangular Rug from nanimarquina. Image courtesy of nanimarquina.

When you first moved production efforts out of Spain, what country did you move to? Why did you choose it?

In the early ’90s, we embarked on the adventure of outsourcing production to the country that offered cultural value and unlimited possibilities for rug craftsmanship: India. The country gave us a concise understanding of the past, of traditions and culture related to rugs. Thanks to these artisans, we’ve learn from their craft traditions, tools, techniques, looms…and we’ve been able to innovate.

With all the growth over the years, which countries do you have production facilities in now?

Nowadays we still produce most of our products in India. Pakistan came after, when we were looking for the best kilim craftsmen for the Bouroullec’s Losanges project. We’ve visited other countries such as Afghanistan, Morocco or Turkey; but they have less organization and capacity of export.

Blend Rug and Melange Stripes 2 Rug from nanimarquina, in progress (drying). Image courtesy of nanimarquina.

Are there any textile weaving techniques that you have yet to explore? Do you have plans to work with that technique in the future?

Of course there are lots of techniques still to be discovered…. We’re right now working on evolving the Dhurrie technique, and including new fibers among other projects.

Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us. It’s been a truly amazing journey, and I can’t wait to see where you go next!

Nicole Tatem

Nicole Tatem

Nicole is the Sr. Site Merchandiser for Accessories, Kids, and Textiles at YLiving. She is obsessed with great design in all forms with a special love for jewelry, wine bottle labels, and tableware. When she’s not exploring the many museums and art galleries of the Bay Area, Nicole spends time looking for and visiting obscure and unusual destinations (locally and abroad) while practicing her photography skills.

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