The Prayer Rug

The rug business is an interesting facet of the interior design industry and it’s always fascinating to learn more about the designers behind the prominent firms. That’s why we’re thrilled to bring you an interview with Robyn Waffle, creative director and rug designer at Modallion.

Modallion has been making waves recently with their versatile contemporary designs that often play on the rich history behind the rug. Robyn has worked with individuals and interior designers to create unique and playful pieces that can serve as a centrepiece for a room or complement the room’s other design components.

Enjoy the interview!

BuzzBuzzHome: How long have you been involved in the rug design business?

Robyn Waffle: I’m relatively new. I began my interest in rugs about a year and a half ago. I was always interested in textiles and came from a fashion background, but I hadn’t really considered rugs before. When I met my partner, Jordan Reznick, and saw his 50 thousand sq. ft. showroom full of beautiful rare rugs from all over the world, I just kind of fell for them.

Modallion’s Totem Runners design was a private commission for a condo owner on King West.

BBH: Can you speak a bit about your design process? How do you formulate ideas for rug designs?

RW: It really depends on what project it is. A lot of my business is with other interior designers, tailoring designs to their needs. I do the creative for them but we’ll collaborate a lot on what we’re doing. I hear what they have in mind and see their colour story and then I translate it into three possible avenues to go down. We then progress from that. They usually see one they like and we tweak from there.

When it comes to me and my own creative, it’s pretty in the moment how it happens. I may be working on a painting and think “oh my god that would be awesome”. Sometimes I’ll really plan it out and sketch the whole thing in detail. Photos work too. I’m a casual photographer so I’ll take photos and play with them in Photoshop where I will stumble across imagery that when worked on a little bit become beautiful designs for rugs.

BBH: Would you say your designs are geared toward a specific taste or demographic?

RW: I would say they’re there for people who want to have fun with their interiors. Also, they’re there to be a piece that is very catered to someone and what they have in mind. My own personal artist collections are usually pretty wild, pretty figurative and full of colour.

At Modallion I like to create what you wouldn’t expect in rugs gearing toward the “leaders in the design world” and people with playful artistic sense. At the same time I can cater to any need. It’s interesting for me too because, creatively, I gravitate to more extreme imagery but when I work with other people I really bring forward a sophisticated or toned down version of my own creative.

My target market is still being defined. It’s a research project in progress.

The Van Alen was inspired by the Chrysler Building in NYC and was designed for Robert Cameron, an interior designer.

BBH: Do you have any rug designs that embody your style at this point?

RW: Definitely! The rug design that put Modallion into the media is called the Prayer Rug. It really embodies my creative process. There’s a lot of history in it since prayer rugs are very traditional. They’re collected and cherished. That one is my star at the moment and really reflects the symbolism I always have in my art. It’s also talking about something that’s real in the rug world. For me it gathers all my interests in one piece.

BBH: What do you see in the future for Modallion? Where do you want to take your company?

RW: I’m working to gain more exposure. I’ve never really encountered a company like this so I’m hoping to expand it farther from Toronto. I’d like to get into the scene in New York, across Canada and the States and in Europe. I hope to travel a lot more. I want to show off not only what I can provide people with my products but also what I do for them with my talent.

BBH: Do you have anything you would like to add or would like people to know about Modallion?

RW: Yes. Modallion is not only a company that sells my personal artisan pieces. It’s a company that works with individuals on a collaboration basis, and a company that works closely with design firms catering to their home decor project needs.

Thanks for chatting with us Robyn!

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