Shore Rugs: Made to Matter
SHORE Rugs is a London-based company founded by Louie Rigano and Gil Muller out of their mutual love for commercially-driven experimental design paired with health-related products. Their products are made entirely from high-performance silicone cord and offer versatile indoor/outdoor ergonomic flooring solutions that are UV resistant, heatproof, waterproof, easy to clean, hypoallergenic, vegan, and extremely durable. We spoke with SHORE Rugs cofounder Louie Rigano to learn more about what inspired the company and what they’re working on now.
Were you, the founders, always interested in design? How did you partner up?
Gil and I both studied on the Design Products course at the Royal College of Art in London where we received our masters degrees. We started SHORE in the summer of 2015 immediately after graduation. We’ve always been interested in design. I previously studied Industrial Design at RISD and Gil studied 3D Design at Camberwell College of Arts in London. Gil and I share a similar set of design values and complement each other’s skill sets, so we immediately hit it off on an exciting design direction. Upon graduation, SHORE was accepted into the RCA’s business incubator program InnovationRCA, which is one of the UK’s leading business accelerators. This gave us valuable time and guidance in the early days as we set up the business. We launched our first collection at ICFF the following Spring.
Can you tell me about shore rugs and what you do? How did you form the company?
SHORE is a design brand pioneering the field of ergonomic rugs and soft furnishings for home, work, and fitness. We believe a rug can be both beautiful and exceptionally functional. Synchronizing rigorous material research with an innovative craft approach, we create highly sophisticated products of surprising beauty and usefulness that are equally at home in high-end interiors, fitness studios, on poolside decks, and in offices and work spaces. We believe that the spaces we occupy and the objects we own should be more than just beautiful and well made, they should aid us in becoming our best selves.
Each Shore Rug is fully handmade involving a variety of custom processes including the careful mixing of raw silicone, meticulous blending of color pigments, extrusion by hand of the silicone cord, and artisanal weaving of the individually extruded cord strands. To weave our rugs, we developed our own proprietary weaving techniques. Silicone cord’s density, stretchiness, and large diameter presented an exciting challenge where we could explore, improve, and innovate.
What inspired creating ergonomic rugs?
What led up to the creation of Shore Rugs was initial research into the design and aesthetic appeal of health products. The vast majority of health-related products appear out-of-place in the luxury domestic interior. Early on, we focused in on floor coverings—specifically the anti-fatigue mat, which is proven to reduce fatigue caused by standing for long periods on a hard surface. Despite their beneficial qualities, the appearance of these mats prohibits them from easy appropriation into a home. Shore Rugs are made from a cushioning material, though in an extruded cord form (not molded), allowing them to be woven; a construction technique which evokes a tradition of domesticity. The novel idea being to create a singular hybrid product-coupling the health benefits of anti-fatigue mats with the luxury value and aesthetic appeal of fine handwoven rugs and carpets.
What is the ethos of your company?
We value health and freedom above all else. That’s why we’re challenging the traditional hierarchy of luxury that’s based on rarity, provenance, and hype—because you shouldn’t have to choose between something luxurious and something good for you. We believe true luxury is not only about what something is, but how it makes you feel. A luxurious product should be beautiful and well made—and it should improve and invigorate your life. It should put that luxury into action and pass it back to you.
Is there a sustainability factor to your rugs?
Yes! The 100% pure silicone material we use in our products is completely inert and safe to use. Unlike conventional PVC or neoprene based rubber mats, silicone is not petrol-based and does not release toxic fumes during the manufacturing process nor during its product lifespan. The material will also maintain its integrity, not hardening, cracking, or losing it spring-back qualities even after years of use. Silicone is also impermeable and will not absorb or harbor moisture or mold, and will not breakdown and create dust.
Tell me about the technological component to Shore Rugs. How are they different from other rugs?
The most obvious technological component is the material. In its traditional application as an engine component in heavy machinery, silicone cord needs to be extremely durable to do its job. Our material is UV and fire resistant, can withstand sustained submersion in salt water and prolonged exposure to extreme temperatures, and is exceedingly durable and will not degrade or lose its spring-back. It makes perfect sense as a floor-covering material.
The other underlying technological component of our products is how they’re made. We’ve developed all our tools and equipment totally from scratch, fully in-house. Our making and weaving techniques we’ve also custom-developed. There is no precedent that exists for the type of hand-making we employ in the production of our products, and we’ve been perfecting our techniques over the past several years.
Do you do custom projects?
Yes! I’d say about half our output is custom work. We can fully customize any of our pieces, including by shape, size, pattern, and color. We hand-mix all our silicone pigments in-house and to-date our color library is upwards of 150 unique colors. We love finding ways to materialize the design ideas our clients come to us with!
What were you planning to debut at ICFF 2020? Did you launch the products on your own?
We were crushed to hear that ICFF 2020 was cancelled. This was the big year where we were going to launch a collection of furniture- including ottomans, chairs and sofas! Past years we’ve focused on our floor covering, and we were excited to show a new side of our brand. We were super sad about the ICFF cancellation, as it’s our primary annual trade event and it’s our favorite week of the year- we sorely missed the excitement and connecting with the design community! We also decided to delay our new product launches until later in the year- this did however give us time to really perfect the offering.
What are you working on now?
We’re currently finishing up a huge hospitality project for the new 202-room Moxy Miami South Beach hotel. We’re making headboards for all of the guestrooms. The headboards are handwoven in a striking 4-color gradient transition in bright, sunny, beachy hues. We’re also revamping our website and webshop, which will be launching before the end of the year.
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