Tom Beer -- Interior Design, 5/1/2006 12:00:00 AM
Bangkok is sometimes called the Venice of the East. Though many of the klongs, or canals, that impressed 18th-century visitors have not survived, the Chao Phraya river flows eternally, teeming with merchant longboats and sightseeing barges. The Chao Phraya inspired Tai Ping's designers and local firm Aspekte Design to create this striking carpet, manufactured by Carpets Inter Thailand for the riverfront Shangri-La Hotel.
Flowing toward the ballroom, the carpet exhibits colors that reflect the resplendent Asian setting. "This is a Thai palette. The gold of the temples, the brown of the earth, the orange of the sun," says Tai Ping senior vice president Les Fillmann.
The carpet also combines two distinct fabrication techniques. The orange "wave" is 80 percent wool and 20 percent nylon, woven on an Axminster loom with an electronic jacquard that can extend the wave repeat to 15 feet in length. The brown-and-gold border is New Zealand wool hand-tufted by eight Thai craftswomen, who carved around the central ripple pattern to produce an embossed look.
"Most companies would have done it all in Axminster," Fillmann says. But the hand-tufted portions, he explains, add a luxurious effect to a heavily trafficked commercial carpet: "You could take off your shoes and walk barefoot—it's that soft."