Designer Omar Khan has truly run the gamut of creative pursuits, from interior design to styling – the Malaysian-born, multicultural designer even had a stint as head of visual merchandising for On Pedder in Hong Kong before moving back to Kuala Lumpur to start his own business, Omar Khan Home. Eventually, he decided to focus on a single piece of home decor – the rug. Omar Khan Rugs is known for its fine craftsmanship, the use of New Zealand wool and bamboo silk, and the referencing of ancient symbols through a modern, abstract lens. Omar’s rugs have been shown at Maison & Objet and incorporated in projects by the likes of Norman Foster.
Recently, Omar released a new collection available exclusively via Lane Crawford Home. We took the opportunity to speak to him about the new project and his overall rug philosophy.
Can you introduce your collection for Lane Crawford Home for us?
The Covet capsule collection is my version of prêt-à-porter for rugs – they’re ready-for-home. This retail experience allows clients to purchase rugs off the rack or even online. I am currently featuring 11 designs exclusive to Lane Crawford. They are dramatic, abstract, and my strongest work yet. What I really like is that clients still have the options I offer my taller clients, in that we are able to customise sizes and select from a custom edit of colours. Finally breaking into the retail market with Lane Crawford is a major milestone for me as a designer and for Omar Khan Rugs. I am now at what I like to call a “landmark year”.
How would you describe your signature aesthetic?
What really makes an Omar Khan Rug, in my opinion, is texture and dimension. We layer so many techniques into one design that it feels nuanced like no other.
Four years ago, I had been working as an interior designer and I just couldn’t find the right rug to fit my projects. I always felt that rugs either anchor a space or deliver a strong, sweeping statement. A good rug does all the work for you when decorating a space. So I tapered down and chose to focus on doing one thing well – rugs.
Swipe through to see Omar Khan’s new collection below:
Do you have any rug-related dos or don’ts?
The rug is extremely versatile and can either be your starting point or finishing touch. You can build your colour palette to either compare or contrast the rest of your furniture selection. If your rug is matte, then you might want to offset by getting furniture or upholstery that have a slight sheen to them. If the rug is your finishing touch, you want to look at the edit of furniture and colour. If you have a room that have no upholstered prints and is more textured, I feel it’s good to offset that with a rug that has a pattern. However, you can still have a pattern that’s tone on tone and still achieve the desired balance.
Where do you usually get your ideas?
I am lucky to come from such a multi-cultural background that I have a wealth of heritage to draw from. My dad being German-Pakistani and my mom being Dutch-Indonesian allows me to blend and navigate through different cultures and juxtapose all that into one rug without it feeling forced.
Are there any designers or creatives you’d like to work with, given the chance?
My big thing this year is to convince Biyan [Wanaatmadja, Indonesian fashion designer] to do a limited range of rugs with me. The first rug I ever made was under his label, back when we had Biyan Living. We have both grown so much since then that I think it’s time for us to work on something together again. I dream about it and can see how beautiful it would come out.
What are your plans for the rest of the year?
I have just signed a contract with 1956 Tai Ping and will be developing 15 designs with their new accent texture technology. I have also recently been named brand ambassador for an amazing architectural firm in London, Lawson Robb. Together we will develop a range of rugs for an upcoming furniture initiative.
Peruse our Design section for more inspiration and exclusive interviews with design experts.
Images courtesy of Lane Crawford. Photography (portrait): Gerry Chin