Carpet design

A cheeky take on the design celebrity

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Sometimes the name of the creator is more important than the product

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What’s in a name? In the case of Marc Krebs, it is complicated. That’s because Marks Krebs doesn’t actually exist – he’s an alter ego for Davin Cowper, who has spent his working life designing and managing decor lines for other brands.

“I liked the concept of a pseudonym as a way to take the pressure off and develop something outside of myself,” he says of the decision to found and launch Mark Krebs with a line of textiles and carpets. “It’s also a fun way to make decisions (or take risks) under the brand that I may not have made personally.”

There’s an inside joke about a design world filled with big names and matching egos. “I don’t want to be negative, but sometimes the name of the creator is more important than the product. It’s a way of making fun of me working for Mark Krebs – that sort of larger-than-life character.

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A name that doesn’t belong to any real person also reflects, he says, his collaborative model. The rugs are made in India, where in the past Cowper discovered the country’s craftsmanship while managing a collection of rugs – as well as lighting, tableware, ceramics and glassware – for a furniture.

“I fell in love with the way this product is still made – with its own beauty and the beauty of the craftsmanship. I knew I could work directly with rug weavers and have a connection with them,” says Cowper.

He also appreciates having control over production. Mass brand designers, he explains, have all been on the verge of ordering a favorite design, “when someone from finance calls and says oh, we’re not going to focus anymore over it.”

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Mark Krebs rugs range from the subtle stippling of the Birch design – a flat weave of New Zealand wool and linen done on a hand loom – to block and stripe patterns that come in shades of pink, blue and neutrals – or an exuberant mix of colors with black and white in the Chanterelle pattern. These are made with tightly woven cotton and wool – dense, durable and suitable for heavy traffic.

All rugs listed on the site are in stock and ready to ship. Custom orders take a little longer and cost a little more. For a gallery of designs, go to www.aroundthehouse.ca

By working directly with weavers, Cowper cuts costs. But there’s no skimping on materials or process, he says. “When you start cutting corners, you shorten life. I want to make a multi-generational product.

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It’s linked to a brand openness promise. “At no time do I mean that my process is morally superior. The goal is to have transparency – about the resources, the region, the process. It’s not high ground, it’s just a place where everything is in the open.

Mark Krebs website www.markkrebs.ca has terrific content on techniques, weaves and materials, as well as helpful articles on topics such as the origins and qualities of wool. It also contains information on retail availability. Very well worth a visit.

Mark Krebs may move into other categories, but for now his goal is to ferret out a larger collection of textiles and rugs. A range of floor cushions is in its infancy.

There is no emergency. Launching during a pandemic offered a lesson in the benefits of a long-play strategy. Slow delivery times, for example, were less of a headache than for other brands.

“I’m not trying to be seasonal and I’m not launching something to stop it in six months,” Cowper says. “If it takes an extra month on the water or in production, obviously that’s not great. But if it’s two months late, it’s still just as valuable.

Vicky Sanderson is the editor of Around the House, www.aroundthehouse.
California. Check her out on [email protected], on Twitter ATHwithVickyand
at facebook.com/ATHVicky.

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