Konrad Ellerhorst by Oliver Treutlein

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Carpets have always fi red our imagination. Take the mysterious tales from The Thousand and One Nights, in which precious fl ying carpets, magnifi cently made and decked out with silk cushions, wait to carry the noble hero gently and as if by magic to the place of his longing … . Carpets tell tales. Tales of beauty, wealth and comfort, and the more exquisite their quality, the more auspicious their message seems to be. For a carpet is not only a soft, cushioning layer, an elegant decoration and a valuable possession all at the same time; it is also the feature that characterises the luxurious and unmistakable atmosphere of a room, welcoming the visitor and inviting him to tarry. And lingering in his memory, with its individual colourfulness and special force of expression.

A carpet like that is a work of art. It is unique, masterfully hand-tufted, and has a beauty all its own. The carpets in this book are just such works of art. And the story of their genesis can perhaps be said to have something fabulous about it, for it begins in one of the great palaces of the East, the Topkapi Sarayi, where the Golden Horn joins the Sea of Marmara, on one of the seven hills of what is now Istanbul. There, hidden and watched over like jewels in treasure chambers, lie ancient fabrics, garments and carpets: an oasis of undiscovered beauty and magnifi cent, pure aesthetics. And just as in the fairy tale, these treasures too seem to have been waiting for someone to come and reawaken them. Such, indeed, were the instructions issued by the government in power at the time: that those ancient patterns and ornaments, witnesses to a lifestyle of incomparable splendour, be transposed into the modern use of forms of the 21st century. This task was given to a man from the West, Konrad Ellerhorst. An interior designer, a garden artist of international renown and a creator of exclusive fabrics, carpets and his own china collections. Not only that, but also a citizen of the world, a cultural connoisseur and an art expert and, as the interior designer of a whole range of the most elegant residences and yachts worldwide, a man familiar with the measure of true elegance.

Time and again, Konrad Ellerhorst studied the historical motifs in the palace, immersed himself in the fascinating world of their patterns and ornaments, allowed himself to be captivated by their brilliant blaze of colour and ingenious variety of forms. And that is how he came to decipher their secret, to crack the code of their beauty and the almost magical effect they have on the observer. His next step involved reinterpreting that beauty – rid of everything superfluous and the ballast of past epochs – for our times: modern, without being enslaved to fashion; rejuvenated, without losing that perfect balance. Almost a hundred carpet designs emerged from the richness of those ancient originals, the patterns of which, in terms of style and aesthetics, are at home all over the world with their timeless composition and colouring, be it East or West, New York, Paris or Tokyo. For true, classical elegance will unfold its charm anywhere, and in any interior. Without doubt, one of the main features of that elegance is its quality, a prerequisite for the fulfilment of the very highest demands in terms of both design and realisation.

Artistic inspiration meets virtuoso craftsmanship: perhaps that would be the best way to describe the encounter between Konrad Ellerhorst and Oliver Treutlein. Oliver Treutlein‘s world is one of pure silk, noble linen and pure New Zealand virgin wool. Since 1985, O.T. has been manufacturing exclusive, hand-worked carpets, every one of them exquisite and unique. And because one of the self-imposed principles of Konrad Ellerhorst‘s work is to fulfil demands higher than those actually made on him, he knew that in Oliver Treutlein he had found the right partner for the realisation of his designs. A period of creative interplay began: the designer brought back from his trips innumerable patterns and ideas, sometimes drawings which were finished and worked out down to the last detail, sometimes mere sketches of individual motifs or exciting colour compositions.

Entrusted to Oliver Treutlein, all this was in good hands. He is not only accustomed to having customers describe their wishes to him meticulously and to committing himself conscientiously to the fulfilment of those wishes, but also to capturing a mood, a style on the basis of no more than a few clues and developing from that the carpet which is the key to a harmonious room concept. He puts all the pieces together like a large jigsaw puzzle. Natural fibres of the very highest quality are selected, such as precious silk which, having undergone an extra refinement process in Switzerland, is hank-dyed in large tubs over a period of several days according to an old tradition. Colours and nuances are combined, patterns created by different pile heights and grooves or brought to the fore with appliqué in precious metals. Thus, in a process of constant exchange between the Ellerhorst studio and the Treutlein manufacturing facility in Meerbusch (Germany), one of the world‘s most exclusive collections of artistic one-off and wall-to-wall carpets is created step by step. Hand-made, the very greatest diligence being applied to every single move, every detail, every subtle nuance, guaranteeing that they will add up to genuine excellence at the end of the line. For the more challenging a project is and the greater the demands made on ‘art & craft’, the more experience counts at all levels. Quality is not born of coincidence. And that applies in a very special way to project planning for boats.

Yachting is O.T.’s passion. Since the early 90s, those sleek, white-hulled vessels have been his profession. In the mean time, with his experienced team of fifty specialists, he has to come to look after most of the megayachts worldwide. And his complete commitment to his work makes that universal yearning for far horizons become a thing you can feel. The fascination of a dreamlike yacht on the ocean as an expression of liberty and independence, isolated privacy and pure luxury in equal measure. “If you want to build a ship,” said Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, “… teach …” (the men) “… to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” Ever since Odysseus, the classical traveller of ancient times, conquered the oceans with his ship – a feat that inspired Homer to write his magnificent epic poem – special vessels have nurtured these dreams. Fitting out these vessels so as to fulfil their owners‘ fantasies, luxury yachts of the 21st century, and thus perpetuating the legend of their majestic aura, is a passion of Oliver Treutlein‘s and Konrad Ellerhorst‘s.

So they really do exist, those carpets with a hint of magic. And not only in fairy tales. Created so that we can, from time to time, turn our back on the world in a tasteful interior, immerse ourselves in an atmosphere of beauty and stylish snugness. Both on the water and on land, the carpets which Konrad Ellerhorst and Oliver Treutlein have worked together to create always appeal to the senses. Soothingly they dampen all sound, seductively they caress the feet of those who indulge their yearning to tread them unshod; and the brilliance of their colours is a true feast for the eye: indigo, coral-red, mocha. Or celadon, a pale spring green which stands symbolically for joy, happiness and abundance. And again and again there are accents in vibrant shocking pink, mauve and royal purple, that extravagant favourite colour of 1920s Bohemianism. And whilst one carpet, for example, still had something of an eastern flair in lush, vivacious hues, the selfsame pattern in a powdery, pastel colour scheme seems, with just the same degree of naturalness, to be Swedish and classical. And with it, all the wonderfully stylised leaves, rose blossoms or pomegranates. And the elegant tulip, that first and most beautiful of the flowers, now luxuriant and opulent, now tender and reticent. The geometrical patterns appear no less multifarious. Of Byzantine origin, they seem minimalistic and thoroughly modern in their clear succinctness. Above all in combination with noble, classical black, which, for good reason, stands for cleverness, wisdom and constancy in heraldry and here, as a sophisticated backdrop, gives all the other colours a chance to shine out. This comprehensive collection is completed by various tone-in-tone patterns, whose graceful, monochrome formation once again allows us to recognize the great talent of their creator.

That, indeed, is the secret and the art of the designer Konrad Ellerhorst: to create mises en scène which are breathtakingly beautiful and full of surprising, stylistically confident effects. And yet which remain authentic and quite unmistakable, bearing as it were his signature, in spite of this generous play of almost endless possibilities and variations. The pictures in this book may offer a preliminary idea of this by giving impressions of a great collection of the fi nest hand-made carpets, each of the patterns of which is available in about a dozen colour combinations. Not only that, but each can also be produced from start to finish by the O.T. manufacturing facility, in any other colour and any other size, and with the very greatest care, and laid wherever the customer would like it to be laid. Worldwide. Unusual luxury, and thus … a little of what gives the world its value.