Scandinavian design collective Cappelen Dimyr is the result of four friends combining forces to create the ultimate sustainable and artisanal rug brand.
A union forged in multidisciplinary expertise; they create only with purpose using the finest unbleached New Zealand wool to create rugs that are crafted traditionally by some of the best weavers in India.
Never straying from sustainability, every piece is made-to-order, a fundamental pillar of creating only what is necessary.
We spoke to Maja Dixdotter, Co-Founder and Designer for Cappelen Dimyr on creating a contemporary artisanal brand that is all embracing of a ‘slow interiors’ movement.
How did Cappelen Dimyr get started?
Ellen and I had for a long time talked about starting something within interiors. So, when Kristoffer (our co-founder) called and asked if we were keen on joining by taking over a supplier chain from his old friend Peter Krook, a man with over 100 trips to India and a genuine rug knowledge, the answer was instant! We got to inherit a supply chain with some of the best craftsmen in India which was fundamental in making this happen.
You are a creative collective of four – what were you all doing before Cappelen Dimyr, and what roles do you all play in the business?
We all come from different disciplines but complete each other perfectly. I have a history of almost 10 years as a designer at H&M where I got to learn a lot about quality, fibers and costumers. I was also mainly focused on H&M’s ‘conscious collection’ which is very relevant to my work with Cappelen Dimyr. I currently also juggle our rugs with being Head of Design at By Malene Birger. Jacob is an interior architect and Kristoffer an entrepreneur with a lot of successful tech start-ups behind him. Ellen runs the branding, and has almost 15 years’ experience in the fashion business, she adds a wide network which is extremely valuable when launching a new brand.
Cappelen Dimyr speaks to the aesthetic of Malene Birger, this can be seen in the seamless instalment of the Cappelen Dimyr rugs in the new Malene Birger retail concept. Is there a definitive difference between the creative eye you apply to fashion design, opposed to an interiors one?
I think my creative eye remains the same, and then I adapt it differently to the two visions. Their brand DNA's are similar and connected as they both revolve around bohemian maximalism combined with simplicity. But even though the two aesthetics speak to one another, they are distinct too. This is partly because of the difference between designing something wearable and something for your home. It feels less restricted when designing shapes and textures for the rugs, because they don’t have to fit the body. In both instances though, you need to be mindful of functionality.
In both instances though, you need to be mindful of functionality.
How is your process different from other textile and homewares companies?
We embrace slow consumption and long-lasting, seasonless design. We are not forced to join the market speed in general and have decided instead on setting the scale for conscious consumerism. Our style is calm and luxe and we never want to push quantities over qualities, only the best pieces gets launched.
Tigmi have always aligned with your sustainable commitment - can you please talk about the importance of this to your brand?
For us it was a given from the start. We don’t want to work with chemicals, the conscious aspect was always there as a natural given. All our rugs are made of natural unbleached and un-dyed wool.
We embrace slow consumption and long-lasting, seasonless design. We are not forced to join the market speed in general and have decided instead on setting the scale for conscious consumerism.
What are Cappelen Dimyr's signature design sensibilities?
Our signature world is soft, bohemian and contemporary.
Not all of your designs are made for the floor, please talk us through the inspiration for your No.1, which also works as a hanged object?
For us all of our rugs are like a piece of art and are designed to adorn either the floor or the wall. Taking them off the floors and hanging them on the walls, gives them a completely new meaning. At the same time, we loved the idea of taking something traditional and making it contemporary.
Your rugs are made ethically and with traditional techniques in India – please talk to us about your connection to the land/the technique?
We visited our partners in India as one of the first things we did when starting up. It felt extremely important for us to know exactly how our rugs are being crafted and to see the workmanship behind every style. We have amazing people in Bhadohi that translates our designs and ambitions through their genuine knowledge and preciseness.
What is the most important lesson you have learned so far?
To really believe in your own idea and identity and stick to it. We make sure to always ask ourselves ‘would we want to have this in our home?’ If not, then we need to re-work something.
Ethnic eclecticism adds another dimension to Cappelen Dimyr’s clean and minimalist Scandinavian style. What would be some of your most surprising design influences on this journey?
Because it is important for us to work with undyed and unbleached fibers, the colours are never surprising or loud. Which is why I spend a lot of time exploring textures and shapes. I am very inspired by the 70's and its bold home textiles. And then I am inspired by the craft of rug making itself. Often a design idea takes its point of departure in a method, like a classic basket weave construction. Exploring the possibilities of this craft while designing a contemporary product has been the most interesting part of the journey. That isn’t necessarily surprising, but it forges the relationship between the Scandinavian minimalism and ethnic eclecticism that you mention. In this balancing act, I believe our products are surprisingly unique.
Tigmi have just launched your latest collection ‘TAPESTRY’ a unique interpretation of rugs dedicated for the walls. What’s next on the agenda?
We are in fact launching a new category next week, named 'Colonnades' for its narrower design. We’ve long been wanting to add a rug category for our hallways, kitchens, bathrooms, etc., so I’ve taken some of our most popular designs and adapted them to this new category. It is very exciting to explore the many ways of working with this craft. We are already on to the next thing and exploring some interesting ideas right now. Nothing solidified yet, so cannot say much more about it.
Campaign images by Andrea Papini
Cappelen Dimyr rugs and tapestries are available exclusively in Australia with Tigmi.