LA ISLAS BONITA
Erica Islas unveils her first rug collection for Mehraban
Photo by Meghan Bob.
How does an interior designer create a rug collection? For Erica Islas, who recently debuted her first rug collection with Mehabran, it began with texture and contrast. “I didn’t want them to look flat,” she explains. “I wanted them to have movement.” Working with Mehraban reinforced her respect for the company’s attention to quality. “Some samples came in and I thought they were beautiful but they pointed out a flaw and said, ‘No, they’re going back’,” she says. “They’re so meticulous and take so much pride in their craftsmanship that I knew they were a perfect fit.” The process was also educational. “I would give them an idea and tell them what I wanted to get out of it,” she adds. “I was constantly surprised by the process.”
Each of the eight designs has a deeply personal meaning for Islas. Chaos was based on one of her abstract paintings. Eternal pulls from a dragonfly’s complex wing pattern. “I love dragonflies,” she shares. “I always stop to see what colors they are—they’re so unique—and the intricacy of their patterns is just beautiful. The name of the rug comes from the fact they’ve been around for over 300 million years!”
Muros, which nods to the work of architects Luis Barragan and Ricardo Legorreta, speaks to Islas’ Mexican heritage; Maison, a map of Los Angeles, pays homage to her roots. Sagrada, inspired by her trip to Gaudi’s Basilica de la Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain, riffs on the Golden ratio he used to created its spiral staircase; Schema’s design was taken from a photograph of Italian archways. Her philosophy that “form follows function” and her architectural approach to her work are revealed in Entree, a simple linear pattern which finds its intrigue from the transition of wool to silk, and in Still, based on the play of light and shadow in architecture. “It’s about the way that the sun travels across a building throughout the day,” she points out. “I was astonished that the weavers were able to create the ombre effect we wanted. To think that someone—because all of the rugs are handmade—could create this gradual color change is just an art in itself.” Like most of the rugs, except for Muros which is 100% wool, a combination of wool and silk makes them soft underfoot. “They just all feel good,” says Islas.
While the inspiration was personally meaningful, the abstract patterns that resulted ensure their versatility. “I wanted pieces that could speak to a traditional home, a contemporary home and a modern home,” she observes. “They work because they’re both minimalist and maximalist at the same time.” See the entire collection, which can be ordered in custom color ways, here