The trend toward the uncovered un-carpeted floor has gathered steam in the last few years. Even a brief perusal of the decorator magazines reveals rug-less interiors, This the culmination (nadir?) of certain gathering tendencies.
One is historical ignorance. Modern Contemporary design has been with us for at least two entire generations and increasingly many people have grown up knowing no other. Once a part of a liberal education included knowledge of traditional architecture, art, and design. At least in general terms, people actually knew about the history of these things and they mattered to them. Now Warhol is an old master, ornament-less buildings are the norm and design starts after 1950. How do traditional antique rugs fit into this? They actually, do, but few give them the chance.
Another baleful vector is that forward light, clean, uncluttered interiors. Most rugs are too visually heavy, too fuzzy, too busy, and finicky. The saturated red/blue palette of many orientals is too concentrated for the spaces. And the rug is not permitted to compete with the wall art. Carpets with character get banished. The only knotted pieces left are Moroccans, monochromes, or modern borderless creations.
A third trend is that toward abstraction. Rugs just look too representational, especially Persian, urban creations. Moroccans, Gabbehs and Dhurries, with their broad expanses of solid color and wholly abstract, geometric character are the current ways to go.
Fourth is just plain rebelliousness. The classic oriental is a parental or grandparental possession signifying good, non-adventurous taste. Thus it cannot be au courant. No matter that rehabbed brownstones require their carpets, their owners are only a small part of the market. Of course, certain interiors are traditional enough to utilize orientals to good advantage.
So what does this portend for the market as a whole? To secure these new clienteles, importers of new rugs have abolished borders, mixed pile materials, and gone to abstract, often overall, patterns. Although they are still hand knotted, they are not what used to be seen as an oriental rug. They have little or no resale value.
In brief, and it will be expanded in a later blog, it means the effective end of the middle market. Dealers in these goods, and the number is shrinking, face a choice, either upgrade to a market of the 1%, or embrace new goods in a variety of non-traditional