On the sofa with
Nadia Sofia Taseer & Aamer Fatah
Years of travel and research in Asia and Europe led Nadia Sofia Taseer and Aamer Fatah to create Hemghar, a company with a collection of new and vintage rugs. Nadia, who is half Swedish and half Pakistani, previously owned a vintage clothing label in London, while Aamer worked for his family’s long-standing marble business in Pakistan. Each rug, sold through Hemghar’s website, is a piece of art that will live in the customer’s home for decades to come. We sat down with them in their Notting Hill home to talk rugs, culture and interiors.
Where does the name Hemghar come from?
With a mixed heritage of Swedish and Pakistani, we were looking for our brand name to signify the merging of two cultures. Hemghar is derived from the translation of the word “home”, “hem” in Swedish and “ghar” in Urdu. Two distinctly different heritages have found common ground in expression and design.
What first inspired you to launch a brand specialised in rugs and home accessories?
Hemghar was formed from our passion to bring handcrafted pieces into the home. We wanted to bring these rugs to London and Europe to showcase the skill and hard work of the weavers and craftsmen in countries including Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, India and Pakistan. Our journey with rugs began five years ago on a trip to Northern Pakistan where we saw first-hand the mesmerising skill of the region’s wonderful multi-generational weavers. With the advent of machine-made rugs that have started to dominate the rug industry we felt it important to promote the handmade industry as much as we could.
What are the weaving and dying techniques used in your Vintage Overdyed Rugs collection?
We start by carefully selecting vintage Persian rugs that are anywhere between 60-80 years old; we choose them based on their quality, knot count, strength and design. The pile of the rug is shaved, then colours are stripped using particular techniques of washing. New colours are then infused in many ways based on the design and our vision for that particular piece. The techniques vary from a complete dye on the whole rug to hand painting dyes on each knot and yarn very intricately.
Your hand-knotted silk and wool rugs are extraordinary. How are they designed and made?
Our hand-knotted rugs are a true labour of love. It takes up to a year to finalise a design, pattern, colour palette and finally produce. It is a long but exciting process.
Our design process starts with things that have inspired us on our travels, often cultural or natural symbols. Other times it’s more abstract or contemporary.
We then start with testing and feeling the silk and wool, making sure it’s a high quality that is soft and durable. We are always in close contact with our talented weavers, collaborating with them through our colour choices and designs so they can start to bring the piece to life.
Where do you source your Rya rugs and your kilims?
Inspired from the Rya, a traditional Scandinavian wool rug with a long pile of 1-3 inches, our handwoven designs are produced in Pakistan and complement a minimalist aesthetic by adding a splash of colour to white or grey bases. We work with the weavers on the colour, design and shag length to produce an accurate representation of Nordic rugs.
The one-of-a-kind kilims are handwoven by skilled Afghani weavers using natural vegetable dyes and 100% Ghazni wool. The result is a soft and visually stunning piece. They are traditional in design and quality but are contemporary in colour and offer a cultural connection with the origins of rug making.
What rugs did you choose for your home in Notting Hill and why?
We love having mixing textures and patterns so it’s a mix of Swedish style with an Eastern touch. We chose a large blue Persian over-dye rug for our drawing room, a colourful silk and wool suzani-inspired piece was chosen for our dining area with a large Swedish oak table on top. We have a kilim runner in our kitchen as it’s easy on the wooden flooring and gives a casual element in that space. For our child’s room we used a Rya rug for its softness and fun design.
What’s does the future hold for Hemghar?
We yearn to introduce something unique and durable into people’s homes; a beautiful, sustainable piece one can love for years to come. Next year we will be adding minimalist home furnishings and accessories to Hemghar’s collection.
Beyond that we will look to branch out into other areas of interior design – so stay tuned!