Have a look at the random objects scattered on your desk–paper clips, Post-Its, plastic forks, cocktail straws (what?). Ever think of weaving them into some sort of tapestry? I’m guessing not since grade school, and that’s where you and WE MAKE CARPETS differ. The Dutch trio transforming everything from cotton balls and toothpicks to dried pasta and coffee cups into three-dimensional collages that they call “temporary contemporary carpets,” which are meant to be displayed rather than walked on.
Why carpets? Because, the artists argue, the rug is a universally recognized form. “We wanted a shape that every person on the world could relate to and would recognize as the same: a carpet,” they tell Co.Design. It’s an everyday household fixture, like the commonplace materials that the group tends to use. In fact, the more ubiquitous an item, the better, according to WE MAKE CARPETS: “We aim for the products that are so familiar to the eye of the beholder that they don’t see them as something aesthetic anymore. Sometimes people don’t notice them at all any more, they just use them.”
Which makes the carpets all the more uncanny to the viewer, who must reconcile the age-old practice of weaving with the mass-produced objects they encounter every day. “The greatest kick is to see people look at our carpets, then walk closer, and then be amazed by the actual thing they see,” WE MAKE CARPETS writes in an email. “The next time for example, the paperclip they use won’t be the same anymore.”