The 4 Women Artists Who Inspired the Nina Freudenberger Rugs
An artist's legacy goes beyond the physical limits of their life and their art. We thoroughly believe that it includes new generations of makers and creatives, who carry their inspiration for the original work into new mediums and innovative directions. For interior designer Nina Freudenberger, she considers her new floor rug collection as part of the legacy for the women of the Bauhaus movement. In the Anni, Otti, Benita, and Marli, these four area rugs serve as an homage to the groundbreaking work of pioneering artists Anni Albers, Otti Berger, Benita Koch-Otte, and Marli Ehrman.
During its relatively brief but celebrated existence, the mission of the Bauhaus school and its founder Walter Gropius was to reimagine the world and unify all the arts, from fine arts to craftwork. Its multidisciplinary approach to art and design education created a curriculum mixing coursework with workshops to develop this new type of artist. The reality was that while the school welcomed “any person of good repute, without regard to age or sex,” and counted women as participating artists, teachers, students, and even within leadership positions, a gender divide still existed. Women were encouraged to pursue weaving rather than painting, sculpture, and architecture. Despite those imposed limitations, artists such as Albers, Berger, Koch-Otte, and Ehrman still designed and created masterful works.
We love how when creating this collection, Nina found motivation in the perseverance of these four artists. These floor rugs are an ode to not only their incredible contributions but also a way to put the ideals of the Bauhaus into practice. As Nina has noted, she designed these rugs for everyone—designers and homeowners alike, as well as for different spaces in your home. Each rug incorporates new techniques, beautifully blending rich texture with an evolved, modern look. Read on for more about the artist behind the name of the rug and the weaving techniques that create each area rug's wonderfully tactile yet refined feel.
Textile artist Anni Albers moved into the Bauhaus weaving workshop in 1923 and quickly developed her signature visual style of hard-edged patterns. Along with several other Bauhaus artists, including her husband Josef Albers, her tapestries explored and advanced the study of abstract geometric designs within the visual arts. That exploration of geometric patterns continues with the Anni Rug, which features offsetting stripes. Anat Aharoni, our Head of Product who worked with Nina on the construction of these floor rugs, notes, "we applied this beautiful, embroidered linework on the surface of the rug. So you get moments of a tight woven texture combined with a raised looped effect similar to those found in designed fabrics.” In a prismatic color palette, that high-low texture brilliantly contrasts tactile, neutral-hued sofas and sectionals. Plus, its durable wool-cotton blend lets you style this area rug in a high-traffic living space.
During her progression from student to educator to head of the department in 1931, textile designer Otti Berger helped revolutionize weaving techniques with her expressive and conceptual approach. She experimented and incorporated plastic textiles in her work, even able to patent new fabrics and treatments. A number of her most well-known designs feature vibrant colors and multiple geometrics. With its abstract linear pattern and mix of cool blues and warm earth tones, this Otti Rug is an ode to Berger's aesthetic. Light wood finished furniture stylishly complements its palette, so sit this area rug under a sculptural coffee table or in front of a console table.
"The focus and the passion these artists had for their craft are what inspires me most. Not only is their work objectively beautiful, but these women in the Bauhaus movement lead the way for us to thrive and succeed in the world through creativity and innovation."
One of the Bauhaus' foremost weavers, Benita Koch-Otte is also one of its earliest influential women artists. Having joined the school in 1920, she stayed for five years, all the while developing new approaches to geometric abstraction in her designs. Whether in grayscale or vivid color palettes, Koch-Otte is best known for her eye-catching patchwork designs that mix and match patterns. This Benita Rug's mosaic design in warm, tonal neutrals makes it a versatile accent for your space. You can style this rug's high-low texture with a clean-lined dining table, an upholstered bed frame, or sculptural coffee table.
Master weaver Marli Ehrman's influence on Bauhaus design spans two eras and continents. From starting as a student in 1923 at the Weimar school to joining the New Chicago Bauhaus in 1939 to mentoring her American-based "Marli Weavers" for decades after, Ehrman embodied the school's mission of combining fine art, craftsmanship, and larger-scale production. As Anat notes, “In the Marli Rug, we really wanted to create a textured handwoven weave with unique overlock joinery. Reminiscent of elements of the joining of a patchwork rug, but with a more uniform finish.” With its abstract color-blocked design in an earth-toned palette, this flatwoven floor rug is a textural accent that pairs well with wooden coffee tables in both light and dark finishes.