Mountain Living: Mountain Homes Design & Architecture February 14 2017



A Rug Designed With Ski Buffs in Mind

By ML Staff

Designed with ski buffs in mind, this Himalayan wool rug hand-knotted in Nepal brings the beauty of winter’s winding slopes indoors. Deemed the “Ski Bowl Taupe” rug—one of over 2,000 woven designs found at Kush Handmade Rugs in Portland, Oregon—this eye-catching piece features a figure-eight shape and geometric lines for a refreshing take on the centuries-old art. Better yet, it’s Mother Nature-approved: Each Kush rug is made entirely by hand with sustainable, chemical-free materials and environmentally friendly dyes. 6’ x 9’, $5,950;


Advert: Explore the Pearl Portland August 03 2016

The featured rug is Windowpane Forest.

LA Times: LA Design Festival July 06 2016

A  revolution is taking place in Los Angeles, defining the city as a capital of international design.

That was apparent at the Los Angeles Design Festival — the jam-packed month of exhibitions, home tours and shows with Dwell on Design and INTRO/LA emphasizing the international design presence in Los Angeles and the makers who are shaping the emerging landscape. 

The takeaway? Talented designers from abroad are staking their claim in the city.

“I can make almost anything I can dream up here, and I love that,” said designer Stephen Kenn, who relocated from his native Canada to Los Angeles. “I also love the design community. It is friendly and collaborative.”

He crafts everything from furniture to luxe overnight duffles by experimenting with new processes and quality materials out of his downtown Los Angeles studio.

Wrk-shp’s Airi Isoda and Ryan Upton, the husband-and-wife team that splits its time between Tokyo and L.A., consistently teams up with local makers on architecture, furniture and fashion pieces. At INTRO/LA, Wrk-shp debuted a collection of pieces made using Japanese textile cording in a Danish weave style mastered by local artisans. 

This year’s shows did not disappoint, from the use of rope at the Brazilian outdoor furniture company Tidelli, to art and design intersections at industry giant Signature Kitchen Suite with live paintings done by artist Donald Robertson, to a fresh host of architects turned makers like Lebanese-born Sevak Karabachian, who manages his time between firm Gehry Partners and his new sideline, furniture design.  

Designers weren’t the only ones on the scene. Rose Apodaca, co-founder of L.A. design resource and store A+R, curated a fluid mix of pieces by local designers and European brands including Hay, Menu and New Works, which A+R is introducing to the Los Angeles market. "At A+R alone, we’ve entertained creative directors and designers from Denmark, England, Spain, New Zealand and Hong Kong," says Apodaca.

The city, she said, is a place where there, “is space — to live and work, to try new ideas, to fail and reinvent.” 

Here’s what caught our eye:  


Hand-carved raised silk perfected in India on Kush’s Skull Dot wool rug creates texture in a new dimension. $1,900,

Link to online article by Kyle Troutman.



Gray Magazine: The Design Magazine for the Pacific NW June 01 2016


Ming featured in the No. 28 issue of Gray Magazine. Our Ming rug is part of the Landscape Rug Collection. View more colors of the Ming design here.

Advert: Gray Magazine April 11 2016

Our latest advert for Gray Magazine. The featured rug was Trapper Keeper Moonrise.

Explore the Pearl Magazine March 29 2016


 Brighten any room with this fuchsia carpet (left) from Kush Rugs, hand-knotted in luxuriant Himalayan wool.

Cover Magazine December 16 2015



 Cover Magazine selected Kush's design, Skull Dot Grey for Trends of 2016.

The Ruggist November 17 2015

The Ruggist

Warholian Kush: A Vinyl Renaissance

Please forgive the liberties taken in the operatic title of this article; given the nature of both the rug design and its originating impetus, it seemed only appropriate to adopt a whimsical, more musical styling if you will. 'A Vinyl Renaissance' sounds as though it could be the debut album from the uber cool band you've never heard of: 'Warholian Kush'. And so it should be. Hailing from the utopian hipster paradise of Portland, Oregon the 'Vinyl' series of rugs from Brian Robins of Kush Handmade Rugs has not yet - to my knowledge - made it to the big times, though perhaps that will now change. Ladies and Gentleman, without further adieu an ode to different times: 'Vinyl'


A collage of 'Vinyl' Rug colourations available from Kush.

Clockwise from Upper Right: Canary, Cotton Candy, Vibes, and Jives.

'As technology, culture, and life itself rocket ever forward, I find myself drawn to touchstones that remind me of the seventies (1970s) and eighties (1980s).' begins Brian as he is explaining the origins of 'Vinyl' via email. 'In my misspent youth I sang in various basement bands, and as an adult I have morphed into a notorious karaoke junkie. I love creating rug designs that are rooted in a personal connection. Plus, it's been great fun seeing the colour combinations that our clients dream up. We do enjoy a wild rug here in Portland!' he concludes as the images he sent begin to fill the screen. Simultaneously nostalgic and modern, the vibrant colourations of 'Vinyl' the rug, transform what was an ordinary everyday, yet now somewhat archaic, black plastic disk into a functional and decorative objet d'art best described as 'Warholian'.

It is an easy parallel to draw. Warhol was known for his artistic treatment of the familiar, the mundane, and the mass produced and so in creating a rug inspired by the ordinaire Brian has channelled, no transported that zeitgeist from another era into our present time. Just as Warhol was a 'pragmatic artist' who 'accepted the inherent commercial nature of the modern art world' according to the Nazmiyal Collection, so too is this design a piece of functional art indicative of the nature of our modern rug era.

'The ones and zeroes of digital formats have, of course, made music more convenient and accessible...' Brian says as he expounds, but the proverbial lightbulb is lit. The overt parallel that can be drawn between music being more accessible and rug and carpet design being more accessible is simply too enticing to pass up. In the not as distant as we might like to imagine past, the notion that a single solitary rug dealer could create one-of-a-kind program rugs for his or her specific market was quite 'disruptive' as the corporate speak of today would have us say. Never before have the barriers to entry been lower and technology, love it or hate it, has brought us here. That is what makes 'Vinyl' (both as an LP and as a rug) such an alluring design.

'Vinyl' perfectly embodies that longing, that halcyon gezellig (as the Dutch might say) feeling one has for times and places not fully our own, while at the same time remaining fully a construct of contemporary rug design and construction. 'I spent many an hour in my family's basement fiddling with my dad's record player and listening to records.' Brian further explains, 'As a kid there was something magical about playing records.' Just as most of the music industry has moved passed vinyl, so too has much of the (qualifying adjective of your choosing) rug industry moved past its old ways. Lamenting the mass passing, then niche resurgence of vinyl as a medium is overtly analogous to the feelings one might have of the decline of the hand in handmade, and of course what might be the 'magical' dream of its niche resurgence.


'Vinyl' shown in the 'Original' colourway. 

Perhaps it's best to quote Alanis Morissette when discussing the broader questions 'Vinyl' brings to mind. 'Isn't it ironic...' that a rug design inspired by a near obsolete technology would be resurrected by a technological progression that is arguably rendering portions of the rug world - if not obsolete - far less relevant.

The advent of 'digital formats' proved to be quite disruptive to the music industry, so is it now also the case that 'digital formats' will usher in a similar seminal period in the rug industry? Will exceptional designs such as this, that emerge from and are made expressly for more localized and specialized sources, supplant those peddled by the traditional wholesale distribution model? I know not for certain, but Kush isn't the only showroom designing great carpets.

The Ruggist is a brilliant view of the rug world by noted industry insider Michael A.C. Christie. Follow his unique point of view at

Gray: The Design Magazine for the Pacific NW July 29 2015

Interior Design by Taryn Emmerson.

The Kush rug is a one of a kind Khotan from our Classic Collection.

The modern chair on the magazine cover is by fellow Portlander Ben Klebba of Phloem Studio.


Portland Monthly Magazine June 23 2015

The International Stories Behind the Rugs at Portland's Kush

Rug transport, India style, photographed near Mirzapur.

When an earthquake hit Nepal in April, Kush Rugs felt tremors in Portland. Owners Brian Robins and Rebecca Lurie couldn’t reach Nepali suppliers for days. Finally, e-mails arrived: don’t stop ordering rugs. The Himalayan craftspeople vowed to continue production.

While many Portland businesses rely on global trade, the rug business is peculiarly sensitive to events in places like Nepal, India, Pakistan, and Iran. “Consistency is challenging,” Lurie says. “We do business in countries that are always in the news.”

Every year, Kush—usually represented by Lurie, a former anthropology major with a yen for travel—scouts out rural villages to find rare and high-quality work. “Every country is making great rugs, and every country is making cheap rugs,” Robins says. “We want people to walk in and see rugs they can’t see anywhere else.”

Even absent catastrophe or crisis, the logistical challenges are formidable. A single rug can take up to a year to finish then ship—via every combination of bike, truck, air, and bureaucracy. “Where’s that rug?” Robins recounts. “It’s in customs. Has anybody heard of it again? It’s both a blessing and a curse. We can’t just sit back and say, well, we’ve got our lines, and we’re good.”

Kush also must tune in to local nuances. “If you’re dealing with someone who’s Afghan or Indian versus somebody from Turkey—those are different forms of communication,” says Lurie. “Does ‘yes’ mean ‘yes,’ or does it mean, ‘I’m saying yes, but you know I mean no’?”

The store donated 3 percent of its May sales to Nepali relief efforts, and Lurie plans to return in the fall. “Ordering rugs,” she says, “contributes directly to providing jobs, rebuilding the country, and helping Nepal move forward.”