Koke Rug by Kengo Kuma

Japanese people have always loved the unique and ever- changing colors of moss. It brings a feeling of tranquility and austerity to Japanese gardens. Some gardens in Japan, known as koke niwa, are breathtaking for the way moss covers the ground, rocks, and trees.

Kuma chose Oriental Carpet as his partner to create the Koke rug. The company is home to traditional Japanese textile maker Yamagata Dantsu, one of the few maunfacturers in Japan that does everything – spinning, dyeing, weaving – in house. The rugs they produce are used in the Imperial Household, foreign embassies in Japan, and Vatican City.

To successfully replicate the multilayered colors of the moss, the craftspeople spend about two months on every Koke carpet. “Usually, the foor is the only part of the architecture that people directly touch,” says Kuma. “Your eyes only contact the architecture indirectly, but your feet deeply converse with the building and the environment. Take your shoes off and feel the three-dimensional, uneven surface of the rug. It is just like feeling nature.”

Author profile

Yasushi Kurita was born in Tokyo. He has spent the last 30 years as a writer for print publications and TV. When he was in college, he spent two years in New York. His favorite band is the Atlanta Rhythm Section, making him one of about 15 Japanese people who actually like that band.