When Beauvais Carpet moved from their showroom on 57th and 3rd to its current space at 595 Madison a decade ago, people gasped. Re-locating from the area considered the epicenter of New York interior design to a building monopolized by Madison Avenue’s high end art galleries seemed questionable to everyone except David Amini, Beauvais‘s owner. Mr. Amini, along with his associate Stephen Haproff spent an hour with me detailing how connecting carpet and fine art makes perfect sense.
Amini’s been in the carpet business for 42 years. He’s spent much of that time learning just about everything about artisanal manufacturing, which has established him as one of the world’s top authorities. He’s amassed a staggering 25 million dollar private collection whick is beyond comparison. These days in New York, when the design community needs counseling about the origin, fiber, age and pedigree of a carpet, Amini regularly gets the call. Oddly enough, he observed a consistent problem. An 18th century Persian carpet was stylistically perfect, but proportionately incorrect. A late 17th century Turkish specimen’s “abrash” (color variations stemming from different dye batches used during production) was too pronounced for the clients liking. What to do? His company’s solution was to find a way to manufacture nearly perfect replicas of historic carpets to his clients specifications. The concept has revolutionized the concept of bespoke floor covering by elevating manufacturing to an art form.
Partnering with a workroom in Egypt that has attracted the world’s absolute best craftsman in the genre, Beauvais can take any (really, ANY) existing carpet regardless of price or pedigree and reproduce it down to mirror image patina. “Intentional mistakes” are incorporated into the newly designed carpets in keeping with the ancient concept that only God or the Supreme Being is capable of perfection in creativity. The artisans match fibers, analyze dyes, and replicate knotting techniques diligently to create new masterpieces that meet with the designer/architects specifications in every way. Edges are frayed, wear marks established, and minor abrasions are incorporated so that to the untrained eye the new carpet is indistinguishable from the original. I was shown 3 historically important carpets and their incomparable impostors side by side, and to say that I was stunned would be a gross understatement.
Rounding out my experience with Amini and Haproff was a trip to the restoration workroom located just above the expansive showroom. Literally thousands of skeins of wool and silk hang in color coordinated rows waiting for the restoration masters here to choose from. One carpet was being re-woven with wheat colored wool, another having a small hole patched with a new weft and silk, and yet another was receiving a carefully stitched linen backing to stabilize it. The attention to detail here is the stuff that legends are made of.
If you’ve not had the pleasure of visiting the showroom, you’ve likely missed one of the most fascinating destinations in fine floor covering.