The Campaign for Wool hosted its first Awards event celebrating the wool carpet and rug industry at Stamford Bridge last week (Thurs 24th March).
The Awards attracted over one hundred entries as the flooring industry – the biggest user of British and New Zealand wool – competed for Awards in 15 categories.
Judged by a collection of industry experts and editors from leading consumer magazines, the judges explored technical, construction and design excellence and innovation and design.
The winners were presented with their Award at the Centenary Lounge, Stamford Bridge at a gathering that brought together manufacturers and designers to celebrate the story of wool flooring.
Introducing the Awards event, Nicholas Coleridge, Chairman of the Campaign for Wool, reminded the audience that the Campaign for Wool, which commenced in 2010 was the brainchild of HRH The Prince of Wales who wanted to ensure that wool with its natural sustainable benefits and the future of sheep farming was secure for the future. He acknowledged that the wool flooring sector was vital for British Wool and New Zealand.
The Awards also recognised the importance of individuals conscientiously working in the industry with its Hall of Fame Award for career long commitment to the wool flooring sector.
John Bain, former Global Design Director was recognised within the commercial carpet sector and Roger and Fay Oates of Roger Oates Design were recognised for their successful career long partnership. There were also special commendations for the Artisan and small business weavers.
“We felt it was time that our carpet and rug industry and the many people working in it, had a moment of glory for its significant design, quality, manufacturing skills, creative marketing and its loyal passion for wool. The entry level for these Awards was high, the standard was excellent. Often flooring is the forgotten story of interiors – but as these entries and winners show – the performance and enduring strengths and story of wool in carpet and rugs is dynamic and has a lot to offer.” Bridgette Kelly of the Campaign for Wool said.
International Wool Carpet & Rug Awards 2016
Industry Winner of the Carpet Sector
For over 40 years, John, who was brought up in the Scottish borders worked, at the front of the carpet textile design industry and led Brintons Global Design for almost twenty years. He went from a summer job in a dye house to a trainee designer at Widnells – part of Stoddards – and a wool rich carpet manufacturer. His love and steadfast commitment to wool stayed with him his entire career.
At Brintons, he led teams that achieved many trend setting successful collections and collaborations. He extended the brand to leadership into global commercial markets which represented 80% of the business turnover when he was there. He has trained many young designers to appreciate Axminster as a process and has always inspired fresh thinking and innovation and design excellence winning many awards for Brintons during his tenure.
From lecturing at the V&A to becoming a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts – he was proposed by an architect client, John has shown an immense dedication to the world of woven wool carpet and has left an indelible footprint on the archives of one of our leading carpet brands.
Hall of Fame
Design Sector Winner
Roger and Fay Oates
A passionate belief in flatweave has led to the success story that is Roger Oates today. Behind the scenes there are actually two people that are the business of Roger Oates, its namesake and his wife and business partner Fay. Their innovative vision catapulted flatweave from a humble floor covering used to protect better quality carpets in grand houses in the 18th century to a highly desirable floor covering for the 21st century.
They have injected fashion, style, colour and always championed the use of wool and British manufacturing creating carpets that are seen as a true style statement and that many consumers have on their wish list.
The Roger Oates iconic stripes feature in many smart addresses across the world and if anyone can claim ownership to the hallways of houses across this country that can be identified in one swift look – it is Roger Oates.
Their team is small but the passion inspired by Roger and Fay is clear and impressive, they are and always have been a devoted working partnership and together they have achieved an impressive track record because Roger Oates is one of only very few recognised flooring brands
The Awards judging panel was drawn from industry experts in design and wool yarn and production to editors working on leading interior consumer titles that bring the message of quality and interior design to the forefront every day.
John Bain – Creative Director and former Global Design Director for Brintons Carpets Ltd
‘It is always exciting to review new innovative wool based products. There were many examples of design and colour excellence married to experimentation with yarn or manufacturing technology from hand made to machine made, across all areas of the value matrix.
Entries explored new concepts in product structure and design aesthetics across a variety of manufacturing methods. Many entries featured the use of ‘undyed’ natural wool across a variety of neutral tones e.g. Ulster’s “Natural Choice” pattern and plain co-ordinates, Axminster’s ‘Royal Borough Wilton,’ combining different yarn weights giving a textured dimension with subtle undyed colour combinations or, Alternative Floorings “Wool Crafty Hound” demonstrating a new take on the classic Houndstooth using ‘undyed’ wool in a flatweave. There was an interesting use of Space Dye “felted wool” from M.I.D. which gave a multi colour dimension on a felted yarn to great effect. Across all the entries there was a variety of style from the classic tailored and structured style of the flatweave Wiltons as seen from Roger Oates and Alternative Flooring through woven Axminster, Wilton and Tufted products to the more random free style expressionism seen in the rug collections
For true differentiation, I see the rug section as being more open to experimentation and innovation where designers can be free from traditional manufacturing constraints allowing more creativity with multiple materials, yarn counts and constructions. Some entrants had created true innovations by exploring new processes altogether such Studio Briedits & Evans “Confetti” rug described as a “multi coloured pattern made from felted woollen sweaters stitched in layers.” In terms of pure aesthetics I felt that the rug designs of Ptolemy Mann were a beautiful combination of Hand Dyed softly grading hues from light tones to more saturated colours created a wonderful painterly effect on the floor which stood out as truly differentiated.’
Malcolm Sims, International Textile Consultant
‘The level of creativity and innovation demonstrated in this wool carpet competition was truly exceptional.
It is very clear to me how diversified the styling of wool carpets has become with exciting use of traditional and modern equipment and technologies.
The competition really shows the wool industry at its best. With examples of clever design, stunning combinations of colour, unique textures and technically challenging structures that are a great credit to our industry.
It has highlighted in the best of ways the strengths of wool as a fibre and the exciting level of creativity that exists in the manufacturing industry.’
Tim Booth, Marketing Manager, British Wool Marketing Board
‘British Wool was looking for a carpet range that encompassed the values of ‘planet-friendly’ whilst representing the ethos of British grown wool from British sheep breeds as a great choice to meet natural sustainability and environmental credibility in carpet. Brockway’s ‘Rare Breeds’ Collection met those aspirations perfectly, using 100% wool from British rare sheep breeds, using no dyes whatsoever and with an enviro-bac backing, it presented a perfect package. We felt that it was a worthy winner and a stylish one too. We congratulate the Brockway team on their success.’
Rhoda Parry – Editor, Country Homes & Interiors
‘Country Homes & Interiors is all about living in – and loving – today’s country home so it was a privilege to be invited to sponsor the Country Homes & Interiors category for use of pattern and texture in the modern country home. From designers and crafters to manufacturers, we are passionate about supporting UK country-based businesses and it is a pleasure to support this Campaign for Wool/British Wool initiative.
Our winner ticks all the boxes for everything that Country Homes & Interiors is passionate about: heritage design with a modern edge; a timeless palette of country-inspired colours; and crafted by an artisan business based in the countryside. Benbecula by Anta Scotland is the deserving winner.’
Samantha Scott-Jeffries – Editor, Homes & Antiques
Honiton by Fleetwood Fox Ltd
‘At Homes & Antiques we were won over by a design that we felt would fit into any period property whilst retaining a fresh, contemporary look. We prized this product for its quality, matched with an appropriate price point and felt our readers would appreciate that it is made in Somerset using traditional weaving methods. It was refreshing to see these traditional values married with an on-trend geometric design.’
Giles Kime – Executive Editor, Homes & Gardens
‘The winners of these awards don’t just demonstrate why a high proportion of wool is a key ingredient in good quality carpets and rugs but also the extraordinary breadth and depth of creative and technical skill both in the UK and beyond. Anyone worried that the carpet is a triumph of cost cutting over quality, will be very cheered by this.’