Revitalized Rugs: The Samsara Collection
at abc, we believe in the journey — in shining light on the process that transforms one thing into another. We like collecting and slow-cooking ideas, infusing ancient wisdom with modern techniques to put forth authentic objects that are well-made and beautiful. Our latest initiative, the Samsara rug collection, distills our sustainability-forward ethos into a stunning line of revitalized rugs.
Samsara: how the collection got its name
Samsara is a Sanskrit word. To name the collection after Samsara was obvious to Dinesh Sewnath, the VP of Operations & Merchandise and a long-standing abc team member. According to Dinesh, Samsara is an essential principle of Buddhist and Hindu philosophy that refers to the cycles of change that all forms of life flow through. "The Samsara rugs represent the way that we can all endure challenges and be born into something beautiful again. We are giving these rugs new life...It's powerful," declared Dinesh. "It really is all about the journey." Animated with the spirit of rebirth, the Samsara collection assumes the ancient axiom that, like everything else, carpets too may flow through cycles of change.
Seriously sustainable: the creative process
Samsara rugs begin their journey in a container dispatched from our warehouse to Pakistan. Under the expert eye of a team of artisans in Pakistan, the oversized carpets are tailored into an array of sizes. One “mother rug” can contain up to five smaller ones (!) and the remaining pieces are ingeniously patchworked together such that no matter is left behind. Once tailored and stitched into standard size carpets, each liberated puzzle piece instantaneously radiates with great potential and becomes its own, unique whole.
Master artisans in Lahore, Pakistan, examining a rug's potential.
Although connected by the cycle, each Samsara rug is reformed individually according to the material characteristics of the original design and color palette. The artisans deeply examine the texture and the hues of the mother rug — channeling all of the elements into a new and exciting composition. A mastery of tailoring, alchemy, and visual artistry is a must, as each Samsara demands close study in order to elevate the rug to its next self.
How we get the “lived-in” rug look
One by one, the Samsara rugs are transformed through exclusive restorative techniques that give our carpets their distinctive, causally refined aesthetic and feel. Harnessing the natural energy of the sun and the cleansing power of water, the foundation of the rug is neutralized of its original colors. Hidden tonalities and textures are exposed which are then sheared down to a distressed finish. When the rug calls for bold color — and many do! — the Samsara rug undergoes an abc favorite: an overdye bath using low impact and natural dyes.
Aerial view of forgotten oversized rugs, ready for upcycling.
The reformation of a carpet is no easy task and the process requires more than just a talented artisan. The original carpet must be expertly woven so that wools and dyes — naturally softened over decades — can absorb and endure the intensity of the reform. Manifested, then, is a dialogue that spans decades between weaver and artisan.
After a months-long process, the rugs once packed into a container, return transformed as a modern (and limited edition) collection of over five hundred revitalized rugs. With no wasted materials, the Samsara rugs come full circle and return back home refreshed and reborn.
Aerial view of upcycled oversized rugs