Spotlighting Australian Design with Designer Rugs

  • Introducing the innovative, family spirit behind Designer Rugs; a design-led company trusted by Australia’s leading architects and designers for more than 37 years.

    Designer Rugs have underpinned the interiors of residential homes and commercial spaces for more than 30 years with unique collections and custom-designed rugs. But it’s Designer Rugs’ breadth of collaborations, realised through shared philosophies and design principles, which really sets them apart.

    Join us as we discover the creative evolution of Designer Rugs with Designer Rugs’ senior designer Christine McDonald and marketing manager Alysha Green. We learn the vision and influences central to the brand’s success, the industry’s pivotal creative influences and the biggest headlines on the brand’s horizon for 2023.

    Produced in partnership with Designer Rugs

    Take us back to Sydney in 1986 when Designer Rugs was established. What were the company’s pioneering vision and design principles founded on?

    Alysha Green: In 1986 Yosi Tal and his parents, Eli and Nurit, saw a gap in the market to manufacture a product not seen in Australia – exclusive designs on hand-tufted rugs that reflected the vibrancy of Australian design, landscapes, and creative talent.

    The business has grown from its humble beginnings into the pioneering and in-demand company it is now. Designer Rugs has established itself as a company that combines traditional techniques with designs showcasing Australia’s very best. Starting as a small factory in Sydney’s Inner West, the brand Tal family founded has developed into a globally recognised name.

    At its very essence, the Designer Rugs ethos is that we are a design company that makes rugs.

    Over the past 37 years, Designer Rugs has carved a niche as a design-led company working closely with Australia’s leading architects and designers. What do you think this success was attributed to, and why was this so important?

    Alysha Green: Designer Rugs remains steadfast with its absolute dedication to design, innovation, and talent as the core elements of the Designer Rugs brand and collections. The in-house design team has over 40 years of experience, reflected in the collections they produce and the custom rugs we design every day. We are passionate about supporting Australian design, including Indigenous artists, through our many collaborative designer collections.

    Designer Rugs Contour by bernabeifreeman is hand-tufted in 100 per cent New Zealand wool.

    When developing a collection, where does the creative team seek out new sources of inspiration from, and what do they consider to be the most important element in designing a rug?

    Christine McDonald: As a team, we discuss what we feel is missing within our ranges and what our clients have been requesting, consider the latest trend reports, and gather inspiration from magazines, Pinterest, and exhibitions. Sometimes a mood board is created for a cohesive look and story for a collection; other times, we allow our design aesthetics to capture a moment under a common theme.

    There are many elements to designing a rug for a collection, varying from collection to collection. Important factors are where we see the collection to be manufactured and what price point we will be aiming at. Each supplier has their pros and cons, which we lean into to ensure the desired outcome.

    How is authenticity considered within each collection?

    Christine McDonald: Each supplier has pros and cons, which is a considered factor to ensure the right construction for each collection. Authenticity is always key to our collections. We don’t want our clients to think they have seen this before. We try to be innovative, relevant, unique and considered.

    “When Catherine Martin approached us for a collection it was the start of what would become one of our most high-profile collaborations. It’s been an amazing journey.


    – Designer Rugs Managing Director Yosi Tal

    Designer Rugs Walter by Christine McDonald is hand-tufted in 100 per cent New Zealand wool.

    Exploring bespoke collaborations across a wide variety of disciplines; from fashion to interiors, jewellery, architecture and fine art is arguably what propelled Designer Rugs as a leader in the market. What were some of these iconic collaborations, and how did they come about?

    Alysha Green: It’s a varied process –many designers will approach us independently. We’re very collaborative – we’ve worked with some of the best designers in Australia, interior designers, industrial designers, graphic designers, and artists. So, we’re immersed in the world of design every day. We live and breathe design.

    When Catherine Martin approached us for a collection, it was the start of one of our most high-profile collaborations. Designer Rugs managing director Yosi Tal says it’s been an amazing journey that has seen us work with her to create the rugs for The Great Gatsby, the Faena Hotel in Miami Beach and many other prestigious international projects.

    Could you walk us through your customisable design service?

    Alysha Green: Nearly anything is possible in our customisation journey. From fabric swatches, artwork, room images, floor plans or your imagination – we can help you select one of our existing designs to customise or recommend a brand-new design to bring your ideas to life.

    The colour selection process is an essential stage of the design consultation – our consultants will work closely with you to create colour solutions that will match and complement any colour scheme. Regarding size, we can create a rug to fit any dimension or shape you require; or help determine what size rug best suits your interior. We offer textures and finishes of the highest standards, including New Zealand wool, silk, bamboo, and textured yarns, in cut, loop and shag pile, and can also offer carved lines. We can also advise on construction, whether hand knotted, hand tufted or even Axminster carpet.

    Once the design and colour have been selected, our design team will prepare and present you with artwork to scale. This will include final colour finishes and other samples that will allow you to visualise your finished rug. Like all of our rugs, your custom-made rug will be hand-made by skilled craftspeople. This specialised process can take anywhere from six weeks to six months depending on the size, design details and construction. The Designer Rugs team oversee the entire production, leaving you to sit back and wait for that exciting phone call that lets you know when it has arrived.

    How is the Designer Rugs vision articulated and reinforced through your Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane showrooms?

    Alysha Green: We see our showrooms as the hub that houses all of our beautiful collections, designed to show complete ranges and our variety of stock. However, our people provide the Designer Rugs experience – most, if not all, of our showroom teams have been with Designer Rugs for several years. They can provide expert rug and design advice that few other rug companies can offer. Each showroom also has its own identity.

    Brisbane is our newest showroom. It was renovated in 2020 and has been designed to let the rugs genuinely shine. A palette of white marble, soft dove greys and timber accents provide the perfect environment for experiencing the Designer Rugs collections. The showroom is located in the city’s vibrant creative district of Fortitude Valley at 154 Arthur Street and is part of the bustling fashion and design hub James Street precinct.

    Our Sydney showroom is the heart of Designer Rugs. As we are a company born and bred in Sydney, our heritage is here, and our Sydney showroom is our largest space holding the largest range of stock. Established in Leichardt, we’re a luxury destination for rugs.

    Our Victorian showroom, like Brisbane, is located in a design hub on Church Street in Richmond. It’s one of our smaller showrooms however it’s been designed to showcase our range and act as a design centre for our customers.

    Which rug collection(s) do you think will be the most sought-after among Australian architects and designers in 2023?

    Alysha Green: There are always trends in colour, design and textures. We also have a custom offering, and we can do anything someone can envisage. Our indigenous collections are growing, and we’re seeing the market respond to supporting local artists and wanting to bring indigenous elements into their living spaces. For each collaboration, we take great care to accurately translate the energy and subtle details of the original work. Our designers use their expertise and employ innovative techniques to capture the artist’s painterly effect and original intention.

    What’s on the horizon for Designer Rugs?

    Alysha Green: We have plenty of exciting new Designer Collections launching this year including new designers and a couple we have collaborated with before, all bringing something different to the table.

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