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About Us

JOSEPH&JOSEPH

Exclusive handmade rugs. Fashioned in India by master weavers using premium-quality fabrics and ancient techniques. Conceptualised by one of the world’s most unique designers. This is old world meets new world. This is Joseph&Joseph.

Joseph&Joseph’s high-end, handmade rugs pay homage to the quality and craftsmanship of the age-old oriental traditions, while embracing an ultra-modern design aesthetic.

Each unique creation – fashioned stich-by-stich by expert weavers at the Joseph&Joseph facility in Bhadohi, northern India – fuses vintage appeal with striking, contemporary designs, and offers something even the most discerning buyers, collectors and interior designers have never seen before.

Master designer Joseph’s signature is an abstract, unpredictable aesthetic that takes its inspiration from nature, exhibiting sharply juxtaposing, often surprising, colours and textures.

Joseph is equally obsessive about the material quality of the product. Each Joseph&Joseph incorporates only the finest silks and wools, and hand-selected natural dyes, and involves an elaborate, painstaking production process that can take up to a year.

For over two decades, Joseph&Jospeh creations have been recognised and sought after by the most famous international interior designers, architects, corporates and collectors, and exhibited all over the world.

With a flagship store established in Kramerville, Sandton, these handcrafted original masterworks are now available to walk-in buyers with an eye for quality and an appetite for the distinctive.

Joseph

Joseph’s design ethic

Joseph is the mastermind behind each Joseph&Joseph creation. His singular vision sets him at odds with almost every other designer working in his field. And that’s the way he likes it.

Joseph’s creations are colourful and contemporary. Bright and bold. Abstract and enigmatic. Vintage yet thrillingly modern. And above all, entirely unique.

For the past two decades, he has been on a mission to revolutionise the industry. Grafting postmodern touches and new age twists onto classic craftsmanship and timeless techniques, he creates modern classics for the 21st century.

Ultimately, the magic of a Joseph&Joseph lies in its dynamism. A universe of design sensations, an infusion of colour and texture to delight the mind, the eye, the touch. Each work veers sharply – from soft to silky, from smooth to rugged, from muted greys and browns to a frenzied explosion of colour, often in the space of a few cm2 of fabric. To own a Joseph&Joseph is to acknowledge – and embrace – the drama, complexity and paradox of beauty. And of life itself.

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Unusual process

“I don’t wake up in the morning with something in mind. There’s no plan – it’s very spontaneous. I get inspired by art and especially by nature – flowers, birds, even a piece of burnt wood that I happen to come across. I try to channel this image and inspiration into the rug.”

Contrast

“If there’s one design value I obsess over, it’s contrast. These pieces aren’t beautiful in the conventional, boring sense. If everyone agrees it’s beautiful, I’m just a follower. I aim to challenge people – to challenge their preconceptions of what a rug should be, of what beauty looks like. I’m always evolving, always disrupting and reinterpreting, always shocking people. Working with the leading decorators in SA, I need to be at the top of my game all the time.

A delicate balance

“There must be a balance. Sometimes I go over the top, aim for something too different, take too much of a leap. I also try to listen to people’s reactions and learn from them. I feed off their energy and appreciation and criticism. They, too, are my inspiration. And I open myself to learning from other rug designers. I appreciate their beautiful creations. There’s no professional jealousy. It’s not about me – it’s about what I can do to make people’s homes sing with beauty.”

Who we are

“We are a niche business and we want to stay exclusive. These aren’t products for the mass market. You won’t find a single element in any of our creations that has been made by machine. That’s not what we do. Our only objective is that each carpet is a masterpiece.”

Joseph’s Story

Joseph traces his family line back to Tunisia. His grandfather,(also Joseph) hailing from the Tunisian island community of Djerba, traded in fabrics that he procured from Europe and the Far East. The jump from fabrics to rugs is entirely conceivable. But this isn’t your typical origin story or multi-generational family business…

In fact, the only thing Joseph was sure about vocationally was that he wanted to pursue his passions, whatever the cost.

Initially, Joseph wasn’t even sure what he was passionate about. Athletic and slight of build, he began his career as a racing jockey, traveled Europe for many years training racehorses, and somehow landed up selling antique furniture. The furniture lit a fire inside him. But the fire remained low. He moved from antiques to art deco before stumbling into the rug trade. And there he finally found his passion.

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In the 90s he travelled to Hamburg – then the centre of the rug universe – and bought around 50 rugs. The rugs were “mistakes” – some were overwashed, on others the colours had faded. And the handmade flat-weave style wasn’t in fashion at the time. Joseph was able to negotiate favourable prices, but really the imperfections intrigued him. He was moved by their rugged, almost exotic beauty, and most of all, by their uniqueness. Crucially, he looked not just at the rug itself, but at what it would look like in a certain type of house, how it would complement specific furniture, what it would bring to the energy of a room.

Returning to South Africa with his strange collection, Joseph says fellow rug experts felt sorry for him – that “he’d lost the plot”. However, he was soon discovered by some of South Africa’s biggest interior designers, who saw in the rug creations what Joseph saw in them, and bought into his vision. The rugs quickly caught on in the high-end market, snapped up by people who dared to be different.

Having seen the gap in the market, Joseph travelled to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, India and China (the Silk Route) where his design philosophy – a unique combination of each of these regional traditions – began to crytallise. Soon he was designing his own rugs – channeling pure passion into distinctive creations that have become highly sought-after collection pieces, and turning the market upside down.

“My niche is that I’m unique – a fusion of many different ‘strands’. For most people in the rug-trade, their longstanding family traditions are a point of pride. Their fathers and grandfathers and great-grandfathers have been making these rugs for generations. My point of pride is that I’m a breakout artist – there’s no baggage, no traditions, no strings attached, I start at the beginning and I’m free to take any direction I like. Literally nothing is taboo. And people respond to this, they want something different, something that hasn’t been done before.”

The Making of a Masterpiece

From the mind of a master designer, through the hands of some of the world’s most skilled carpet craftsmen, to a finished product that radiates quality, originality and that indefinable Joseph&Joseph personality, can take up to a year.

1. Designing

Joseph designs every single Joseph&Joseph rug. Often spending days and sometimes weeks on a design, he plays around with different fabrics and thousands of colour tones in varied proportions and combinations to capture the essence of the idea that first inspired him. The digital design is then emailed to the production facility in Bhadohi, northern India, where the process begins of transforming raw, unprocessed fabrics into a work of art.

2. Spinning

The fabrics themselves, mainly natural wools and bamboo silks imported from Australia, are of the finest quality. After the wool has been separated, combed and cleaned, the fibres are painstakingly spun by hand to form rich, high-quality yarn. The yarn is then washed, wrung out, rinsed and dried.

3. Dyeing

Only the finest natural dyes are used, which preserve the high-quality natural materials and also bring out the vibrancy and sheen of the colours.  Working from Joseph’s colour template, the yarn is hand-dyed in open pots (an age-old tradition), and remains submerged for a lengthy period of time to further maximise the richness of the colour. The newly dyed yarn is then dried in the sun at a specific time of day, then washed, dyed and dried again. This process is repeated a number of times until the yarn is deemed ready for weaving.

4. Weaving

The rugs are hand-knotted by expert craftsmen one loop at a time. The design of each rug dictates the density of the knots; some designs are simple and minimalistic, others require countless knots per square metre. This intricate, painstaking process typically takes between six and 12 months to complete.

5. Binding

Once the weaving process is finished, the rug is again washed and dried in natural sunlight. The rug is then stretched to a perfect symmetrical shape, and secured through a process of binding that involves sewing the edges together.

6. Final washing

A final wash and open-air dry helps get the best shine from the material. Depending on the design and combination of materials used, two or three or even four washes are done. Between every wash, the pile is cut, exposing the ends of the carpet fibre and producing a wonderful soft texture.

7. Finishing

A final cut is done to ensure the pile is straight. A detailed inspection is carried out, and the rug is prepared for shipment to South Africa.