Q&A WITH ROBYN COSGROVE: REIGN OF RUGS

The name Robyn Cosgrove is synonymous with style and of course the most beautiful rugs. It is always a pleasure to sit down with Robyn and have a play with colours and textures . . . possessing the most beautiful eye for colour, we have been able to create some truly wonderful rugs for our clients. 

We are so grateful to Robyn for sharing her inspiring story with us, especially as we are reminded of the way the design industry has changed over the years in relation to opportunities for women, as it has in many industries, even if we still have a way to go! 

A fabulous designer, entrepreneur, businesswoman and proud grandmother, we hope you enjoy our chat with Robyn as much as we did.

What did you want to be growing up? 

Growing up in the 1940s and 50s the world was a very, very, very different place (goodness me, am I that old?). Work choices for women were totally non-existent and never really given any thought, although I guess I had dreams of becoming an art teacher, as teaching seemed to be acceptable for girls and I had always been imaginatively creative.

For a short while I studied textile and design at a time when there was nothing in Australia that recognised or connected us with the wonderful creative and distinctive interior design work coming out of America or Britain, which I so loved and admired. I relied entirely on my subscriptions to overseas interior design magazines (costing me a small fortune at the time!) and I believe the valuable inspiration and knowledge I gleaned and absorbed from these magazines set me off on a path of wanting to create my own individual style here in Australia in some form or another. That is when Robyn Cosgrove Rugs was born.

What's the best life lesson you have learnt along the way? 

I have learned a few lessons in my time! To always be consistent in individuality and creativity. To keep a handle on and recognise design movements, as well as ensuring designs and palettes are kept updated. Don’t ever look over your shoulder and compare yourself with competitors. But most importantly – create quality – in everything, always.

What is your proudest achievement?

I have seven beautiful grandchildren. How lucky and proud am I!

Who inspires you? 

I have to say when I visit Nepal I am totally in awe and in admiration of my weavers. They are the happiest and most content women who always greet me with such love and pride to be weaving Robyn Cosgrove designs. Actually, they make me quite ashamedly aware of the simple, unprivileged and hard life they endure with dignity and always with a smile.

What is your biggest vice?

This would have to be when I get a bee in my bonnet and create some mad design with a really mad palette! It really is a very silly of me as Australians are basically conservative so naturally these inventions never find a home!

Do you follow trends or are you a trendsetter? 

It’s hard to be a trendsetter in Australia as we are now connected to the world, so I like to think I am a trendsetter of QUALITY.

What dream do you still want to fulfill? 

Mmmmm . . . that the Robyn Cosgrove Rugs brand keeps on keeping on . . . forever . . . !

What do you love about working with AKD? 

Working with Alexandra Kidd Design is always a dream. They have a definite handle on good design and their projects are always imaginatively inspiring. We are always able to connect positively with their individual project specifications and work hard to achieve their goals in the rugs they specify. Our collaborations are always without pressure and their relaxed, friendly and creative artistic skill always make us aware of how talented their studio is.

All images via ©Robyn Cosgrove

DON'T GIVE CONCRETE THE COLD SHOULDER

Concrete has been making a solid name for itself in interior design circles in recent years and there’s no sign of this super cool material subsiding from our creative conscious any time soon.

It’s historical application and long association of being a hard, grey, matte material means it can often appear cold, but it actually offers more warmth than you may think!

The high performing thermal properties of concrete means that its mass can protect the space it resides in from extreme cold and extreme heat. It can absorb heat from sunlight, store it and release it slowly back into the space, the way that timber and carpet simply can’t.

As we head into the cooler months don’t give concrete the cold shoulder just yet! Here are six ways to visually soften one of the coolest decorating materials available, many of which can be adapted to the home.

RUGS
Rugs are an important and welcome addition to any space, whether delineating zones, providing a plush, toe-tickling sensation underfoot, or to create warmth and coziness, especially when layered over concrete flooring. Blush tones are very on trend and create a beautifully harmonious pairing with concrete’s cooler colouring. 

New Market showroom in Amsterdam by Framework

New Market showroom in Amsterdam by Framework

Valentino Concept Store in Milan by David Chipperfield

Valentino Concept Store in Milan by David Chipperfield

TEXTURE
Adding layers of texture will soften the hard edges and hard surfaces of concrete. Introducing natural fibres and fabrics such as cotton, linen, flax, timber and leather in the form of cushions, throws and furniture add variation to visually soften concrete, often making it appear organic in itself.

Balwyn House by Fiona Lynch

Balwyn House by Fiona Lynch

Wolseley Residence in Melbourne’s Brighton by Mckimm

Wolseley Residence in Melbourne’s Brighton by Mckimm

WOOD
The addition of a natural timber inlay (as seen in David Chipperfield’s Valentino concept store), timber joinery and details such as cabinetry, doors, ceilings or stairs, provide a naturally warm marriage when paired with concrete.

Valentino Concept Store in Milan by David Chipperfield

Valentino Concept Store in Milan by David Chipperfield

Invisible House by Peter Stutchbury in Sydney’s Blue Mountains

Invisible House by Peter Stutchbury in Sydney’s Blue Mountains

LIGHTING
Soft warm lighting adds ambience and mood to any room as a whole, but in a space where concrete is the hero, clever lighting styles and plans are even more important. Achieving a balance where emitted light can be reflected and absorbed by concrete creates interesting plays of light, adding depth to the flat surfaces and enabling them to really glow in all the right places.

2 Verandas by Gus Wüstemann in Zürich Switzerland

2 Verandas by Gus Wüstemann in Zürich Switzerland

2 Verandas by Gus Wüstemann in Zürich Switzerland

WINDOW TREATMENTS
Drapes and curtains have a distinct softening effect in a concrete space with their veil-like presence adding lightness via rippling, organic movements and soft texture. Varying degrees of opacity filter incoming light, blurring the juxtaposing hard surface we have come to expect from concrete.

Balwyn House by Fiona Lynch

Balwyn House by Fiona Lynch

Wolseley Residence in Melbourne’s Brighton by Mckimm

Wolseley Residence in Melbourne’s Brighton by Mckimm

HEATING
If you are lucky enough to plan a renovation or build from the ground up, you can allow for under floor heating to be installed with minimal fuss. This is the ultimate luxury in creating a comfortable concrete experience all year round.

Arbutus Street residence (under construction) by Alexandra Kidd Design

Arbutus Street residence (under construction) by Alexandra Kidd Design

Summerhouse Lagnö in Sweden by Tham & Videgård Arkitekter

Summerhouse Lagnö in Sweden by Tham & Videgård Arkitekter

Image 1 via Yellowtrace / Image 2 via David Chipperfield  / Image 3 via Fiona Lynch  / Image 4 via Yellowtrace / Image 5 via David Chipperfield  / Image 6 via Yellowtrace / Image 7 & 8 via Dezeen / Image 9 via Fiona Lynch / Image 10 via  Yellowtrace / Image 11 via Alexandra Kidd Design / Image 12 via Yellowtrace