Jonathan Saunders designs second collection for The Rug Company

Witton rug in burnt ochre to lilac and pink
‘Witton Bright’ features a range of colours from burnt ochre to lilac and pink
(Image credit: Jonathan Saunders)

Scottish-born fashion designer Jonathan Saunders may have stepped down from role of chief creative officer for Diane von Furstenberg at the tail end of last year, but he’s still busy producing designs – albeit for the home rather than the catwalk.

Four years after The Rug Company launched his debut collection – two rugs and two runners – the brand is unveiling a follow-up range during the London Design Festival. Saunders has created seven new designs, including four new runners, plus a neutral reinterpretation of his previous ‘Herringbone’ design. Renowned for his use of vibrant pattern and colour this sequel series demonstrates a subtler exploration of tone, with shades of grey dominating.

Saunders played with transparent layers of glass and resin to create two of his compositions, ‘Clark’ and ‘Witton’, which are inspired by a modernist palette. Both are geometric compositions of overlapping squares and rectangles that play with colour depth; the former is an abstract interpretation of a tower in neutrals of silver, cream and dark gray, whereas the latter comes in two variations – one grey with cerulean and the other a sweeter, upbeat blend of lemon yellow, orange, burnt ochre, turquoise and pink.

Witton rug in shades of cerulean

‘Witton’ comes in two colourways, including this version featuring cerulean

(Image credit: Jonathan Saunders)

Meanwhile, Saunders’ runners ‘Helio’ and ‘Lewitt’, available in two colourways of neutral greys or brighter tones, take their inspiration from finely woven textiles with interwoven and crisscrossing bands. Lewitt is reminiscent of a 1970s tapestry particularly in the bright palette of turquoise, greens, pink and mustard yellow.

‘I was interested in exploring a subtler palette,’ Saunders says of the new designs. ‘Working with colour for so long, I found it more interesting this time for the most part to work with a more muted palette, to find a new way of expressing ideas. Maybe I’m in a calmer chapter of my life and that’s why. However, there are of course some designs that are reminiscent of the bold clashing patterns that I love to design, that draw inspiration form weaving patterns and diagrams... I still love designing in this way.’

Creating the rugs is not the only focus on home for Saunders, he’s also currently developing his first line of furniture – product design was something he studied prior to his career in fashion – working with resin among otherr materials. ‘That's why there is a feeling of transparency in some of the designs, it’s something I am interested in and exploring with my forthcoming furniture collection‘, he adds.

The launch continues The Rug Company’s longstanding tradition of creative partnerships with fashion designers from high profile tastemakers such as Sir Paul Smith and Vivienne Westwood to younger, emerging talentes such as Rodarte and Christopher Kane. All of Saunders’ designs are handcrafted in Kathmandu in Tibetan wool and silk and will be displayed in The Rug Company King’s Road showroom during LDF, with the collection available to order from autumn

Bethan Ryder, digital editor of Wallpaper* in conversation with Jonathan Saunders

Lewitt rug runner

The ‘Lewitt’ runner also comes in two colourways

(Image credit: Jonathan Saunders)

Clark rug in shades of grey

‘Clark’ in an abstract interpretation of a tower

(Image credit: Jonathan Saunders)

Helio runner rug in a neutral palette

‘Helio’ runner is inspired by woven textures and comes in a neutral palette and brighter turquoise and pink

(Image credit: Jonathan Saunders)


The Jonathan Saunders collection will be on view 17-22 September during the London Design Festival. For more information go to The Rug Company website