“RÖD STUDIO is a design duo based in Copenhagen and consists of textile designers Anne Louise Rasmussen and Maja Marie Halling. Through an experimental approach to textile design they challenge the conventional ideas of shapes and techniques. With a passion for materiality and colours they explore a playful and humorous expression. Their carpets and textiles are handmade and made out of carefully selected materials.”
I came across their rugs last year at The London Design Fair and was really intrigued by the design and texture. I spoke with Maja about how RÖD STUDIO came into fruition.
Where did the idea of making rugs come from?
We’re from The Danish Design School and Louise and I started on a project together where we designed textiles for fashion and we were looking for something that would challenge us a bit more. Both of us had been working with fashion textiles for our bachelor degrees but for our masters we were seeking a new approach; I think it was actually spontaneous that it became rugs because we were originally fascinated by the tufting technique. It’s a technique where you shoot the yarns into a bagging and we thought the technique was a fun and fast way to see results. That was the original way we got into it. We went on a trip with school to Istanbul and Louise and I planned on working together on another project. It made sense to take the architecture and colours from the city and transform it into this media of tufting. We wanted to challenge the technique and combine different textiles into the media.
Who taught you how to tuft?
We had a workshop in our school and it’s actually the only place in Denmark right now where you’re able to use that type of technique. After school finished we started our studio and bought a lot of stuff so we’re able to do it ourselves.
What exactly does the technique involve?
It’s pretty simple actually. It’s a big gun machine where the yarns are mixed together inside the gun to create different variations of pattern, colours and texture.
It sounds so interesting, I’ve never heard of tufting before.
It’s not really a common technique in Denmark but they use it a lot in other countries like Germany, Estonia and Sweden. Our idea and vision is to combine different techniques into the carpet so it won’t only be the shooting part but also have a screen-printed design on the back of the carpet too.
What kind of textiles did you study at Design School?
We made a lot of different things. As a textiles designer you have to go through a lot of courses to know what’s possible. We made a lot screen-prints and velvet burn outs.
What was your favourite type of textiles to work with?
I think it’s very hard to say. Both of us are very fond of combining different techniques. It will always be the project that’s the focus and the textiles will be formed on what the project is. We fell in love in tufting because it has a lot of possibilities.
What else do you put into rugs besides tufting?
We use a special kind of foil which is screen-printed on and has a reflective silver look. We mainly use wool from Norway and combine it with natural fibres such as goat and horse hair. The whole idea is to add some humour to our designs so it doesn’t come across too serious.
Where does your inspiration come from? The rugs look really look like abstract faces.
I’m glad you can see that! The collection we made for our final project was inspired by Morocco. Again, like being in Istanbul, the idea was to take different parts of Marrakesh and create an assemblage so you can deconstruct the idea of the city and melt it into a new visual. We’ve also been very fascinated in masks and that’s where the influence of the faces comes from. We’re working with how to transform the figuration into an abstract creature. What we’re working on with our new collection is the idea of masks and how many parts you can take out but still have a feeling that you’re looking at a face.
Do you collect a lot of masks?
Only a little; we have a very sad collection at the moment! We have a few African masks but it’s a very big and fascinating area that’s all over the world where people make masks for different rituals. For us the challenge is to not copy the masks but to take our ideas of shape. It won’t be too obvious that you’re looking at a mask but the human eye always wants to reflect itself in what it’s looking at.
What other countries would you like to travel to for inspiration?
We have a whole list of different places we want to see. A big dream for us would be to go to Mexico. The idea of rituals, festivals and performance with masks would be amazing to see.
It would be very colourful too.
Yeah. It’s not very colourful in Denmark and everyone wears black. Designing rugs gives us freedom to work with colour and challenge ourselves with using different colours to create something tasteful and not too loud.
Where do you stock your rugs?
Right now we don’t have a lot of rugs so we have some pieces in our studio and some at home. A few people bought some from us too.
What do you love about textiles?
It’s the way of approaching the world through materials and things you can touch. Textiles is a bit different from let’s say paintings, because you have tactility and when you touch it also touches you. I think the interaction is quite fascinating
It’s like being a child exploring and wanting to know how something is made.
I think we’re touching something that’s a bit about playing, exploring and combining what it feels like with our senses.
You can see more of RÖD’s work here