A Conversation with Colin King of Beni Rugs

Beni Rugs is a Morocco-based atelier producing exclusive, handcrafted Berber rugs inspired by the rich tones and soulful textures of North Africa. Together with interior stylist, Colin King, Beni Rugs released the ‘Spoken Lines’ collection. The collection is an evocative homage to Italian design tradition and Moroccan heritage, referencing the cultural traditions and craft techniques that are passed down through spoken word. We are proud to announce that The Audo is the first showroom in Copenhagen to feature the new collection, which was unveiled during this year's 3daysofdesign. 

We sat with Colin King to discuss collaboration, references and how the innate artistry of classical dance helped inform both the collection's title and visuals.

The Audo: In a few words, can you describe how the collaboration came to be?

King: Our relationship came together in a very natural, organic way. Robert, one of the co-founders, reached out to me on Instagram in 2018. Beni Rugs was newly founded and they asked me to help style their first photo shoot. Within two weeks, I was with them on set in Marrakech and Tangier.

The Audo: What was your thought process when conceptualizing the Spoken Lines collection?
King: For the ‘Spoken Lines’ collection, we decided to shift away from the bold strokes of colour and abstract geometry of The Shape of Colour series. We wanted to create a collection with an honest, simple expression, that easily lent itself to a variety of interior spaces and styles. 

Through our initial research, we became interested in exploring new ways to approach the border of a rug. In a sense, a border frames a space, just as an archway or entryway does. This is why all the rugs in the collection are outlined with bright, graphic details.

The Audo: What kind of references does the collection draw upon?
King: From the beginning, we knew we were going to be shooting the collection campaign in Italy and debuting the final product at Salone de Milan. We started looking at Milanese architecture — gathering inspiration from the tilework, entryways, and various motifs that we encountered along the way. We also drew visual references from iconic Milanese architects and rationalist spaces, such as Villa Necchi Campiglio by Piero Portaluppi.

Palazzo Daniele provided the perfect backdrop for the collection’s shoot. We were drawn not only to the palazzo’s size, but also to all its intricate details — the colours, the tilework, the painted ceilings. We knew that this setting would offer the ideal amount of tension when paired with the collection.

The Audo: Can you walk us through the process of styling the campaign’s visuals?
King: We made the decision to use classical dancers to help enliven the setting and provide a sense of scale. With this, I was also able to use my background to direct the models on set. A lot of clients are looking for different ways to demonstrate scale, and humans can provide a really interesting, unique way to present this. It can be difficult for a still image to portray proportion, and more and more interior brands are becoming increasingly drawn to this type of styling.

The Audo: Do you feel as though there is a parallel between design and classical dance?
King: I’m realizing the parallels more and more every day. Ballet is guided by spatial awareness, the art of learning how to move through space in a particular manner. In its purest form, dance is storytelling through movement. 

It’s about capturing a feeling without words — just as how a dancer doesn’t need to speak, design should express itself without uttering a word.

The Audo: What was the inspiration behind the collection’s title?
King: The title, ‘Spoken Lines’ was derived from the visual storytelling of the campaign. In particular, we were drawn to the way in which the dancers counted their choreography. This sense of sound and atmosphere is where the ‘spoken’ part came into play. ‘Lines’ is, of course, inspired by the linework itself, which forms a central element of the collection concept


First Photo: Nicole Franzen
Campaign Photo/Video: Adrien Gaut
Concept & Art Direction: Studio Frith
Production: Studio Lou
Location: Palazzo Daniele