Polarization Red & Blue

By Wendy Guns | designstories | 13/1/2023 | 4 minuten leestijd

Collaboration Boy & Erik Stappaerts x Ashtari Carpets

Design/Design Concept

With the grand re-opening in september 2022 of the KMSKA (Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp) the Antwerp modern artist Boy & Erik Stappaerts installed gigantic color walls here. In addition to the permanent collection of masterpieces by Rubens and Ensor, the museum also integrates contemporary art.

The modern abstract carpet “Polarization Red and Blue” is based on his Polarization Paintings. Ashtari has translated and produced the artwork into two beautiful modern abstract pieces of knotted art.

The gradually expanding horizontality exhales coordination and balance as in a Tai chi exercise that aims to control and introspect. Visual fields of color that ebb out in waves and in this way also depict sociological polarization, with the gap between classes gradually widening, until the midfield completely blurs and becomes a sort of zero point. Polarization Paintings cause a perceptually subtler awareness of fields of tension, but they are also always looking for a new order. Art as a means of individual and environmental development.

There are 2 rugs : Polarization Red and Polarization Blue.

Ashtari is honored to be able to collaborate with Boy & Erik Stappaerts for this special hand-knotted rug. The project originated from a mutual respect for each other’s craft and person. Boy’s creative vision and passion has attracted us enormously. We have always been fans of his work and where curious to see how we could use our medium for his artistry. In the development of Polarization Blue and Red we had an advisory and technical role regarding material choice and technical possibilities, whereby we were happy to share our expertise.


Sometimes less is more. It gets particularly interesting when one is close and personal with the rug. If the rug is used as a wallhanging then it acts as a painting and all shades will appear and disappear when looked at it from a certain viewpoint and lighting. This is the kind of rug that when hung up people will inspect and observe from different angles and points of view like a work of art. Combinations can be made with polarization red and blue in one installation as a diptych.

The way the 24 shades of color are gradually coming together is atypical and a complex proces. Weaving mistakes would immediately be noticed and the design would fall apart. Therefore there was no room for error and every rug was closely monitored during the weaving process.

We also did not want to overextend ourselves by using silks or other so called high-end luxurious materials. We wanted to keep it sobre, matte and sleek. The design should speak for itself not compensate by using expensive materials. Therefore 100% machine spun Tibetan wool was the perfect choice. Also having the benefits of an easy to maintain rug or wallhanging.

Normally we have more than enough color shades within the ARS color reference system but in this case we needed many more. Therefore we had to create custom shades which took some time to develop and adjust to one another. An exciting process with astonishingly beautiful results.


Environment - For all our designs we choose to use 100% natural materials like wool, bamboo, allo, cactus & Chinese silk. We have a commitment to steer clear of all virgin synthetic materials. Moreover, all dyes used by us are AZO-free Swiss dyes.

Social Responsibility - This rug is made by one of our suppliers in Nepal which has a scholars program since 1992 wherein they help send all of their weavers’ children to school from Kindergarten to Grade Ten. They also help them with mentorship programs and other needs like books and stationary.

Packaging - All the packaging materials we use are 100% recyclable.

Our supplier has been long running and they prefer to invest in their resources and sustaining them rather than on certifications provided by incentives like Goodweave or Care & Fair !

From the other hand Ashtari carpets also uses the Goodweave label. Our other major Nepalese manufacturer, who produced the City Hall rugs, is also licensed by Goodweave and all these rugs carry their label.

More information

artist website: https://boyerikstappaerts.com/works/bes-analytical-paintings-21/

curated installation of the artist in this museum: https://kmska.be/nl

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