The role of carpets in one's home.
Since day one, Iwan Maktabi’s vision was to decorate homes fashionably, so we even had a slogan “carpets are fashion for the floor.” Premier Purveyors of Antique & Decorative Carpets since 1926, Iwan Maktabi, offers a variety of designed carpets across the world.
Below, the Managing Director explains the family ties behind the historic evolution of the brand.
About Iwan Maktabi Carpets
Iwan Maktabi proved to be the go-to address for rare carpets and textile art in the region. Based on three generations of expertise, and a rich family private collection of collectible carpets, Iwan Maktabi added to the depth of people’s appreciation for carpets in Lebanon and the region.
To offer relevant designs that clients have asked for and to differentiate themselves from the market, Iwan Maktabi combined traditional art with modern contemporary handmade carpets exclusively representing different carpet firms and designers such as Jan Kath, collaborated with jewelry local designers such as Nadine Kanso of Bil Arabi, and lastly, offered clients customization options. Below, Iwan’s daughter and Managing Director, Mona, explains how the brand is catering to clients’ needs during this time.
1. Describe yourself as Managing Director of Iwan Maktabi in one sentence.
I cherish our family business; it is like my fourth child, so managing it is a mix of passion and responsibility.
2. Tell us more behind the Iwan Maktabi carpet business.
Iwan Maktabi is a leading carpet designing and manufacturing company engaged in the business since 1926.
Hajj Hussein Maktabi, our grandfather, patriarch of the Maktabi family in Lebanon, immigrated from Isfahan to Beirut in 1926. Like his father before him, his passion was collecting fine oriental carpets. Since then, our grandfather and his sons have undoubtedly become premier purveyors of antique and decorative carpets in the Middle East. Our uncles and father Hj. Abbas Maktabi spread their services from Saudi Arabia to the Gulf area and from Zurich in Switzerland to the rest of Europe.
Our dad had a vision for us, the six siblings, to continue his legacy. He supported and trained us to follow his steps. With his attention, my brother Mohamed, my sisters and I opened the first Iwan Maktabi gallery in Beirut in 1995. Few years later, in 2006 we opened our showroom in Dubai.
Based on three generations of expertise, and a rich family private collection of collectible carpets, Iwan Maktabi added to the depth of people’s appreciation for carpets in Lebanon and the region and proved to be the address for rare carpets and textile art in the Middle East.
To differentiate ourselves from the market, we combined traditional art with modern contemporary art by introducing modern and contemporary high-quality handmade carpets, and exclusively representing different carpet firms and designers such as Jan Kath, Hechizoo and cc-tapis.
To stay ahead of the industry, Iwan Maktabi also edits limited edition carpets with the intervention of Middle Eastern designers, decorators, architects and more in the region. Some of these collaborations include: Marwan Sahmarani, George Mohasseb, David/Nicolas, Nadine Kanso, Karen Chekerdjian, and more!
Lastly, we wanted clients’ to enjoy their personal touch to our designs too, so Iwan Maktabi offers the ability to custom-design any carpet through their design studio.
3. As mentioned above, you collaborate with designers from the Middle East to create your carpet designs; why has this become a part of your brand DNA?
We love collaborating with talents from different fields. There’s something about human connection and creativity that is so rewarding. It’s not only about the end result, the creative process is just as exciting.
Walking the designers through the world of carpets makes them discover this side of art for the first time – they’re always so mesmerized!
Overall, pushing boundaries and experimenting is part of the Iwan Maktabi DNA. It started with my late father Hajj Abbas Maktabi and it’s something that we will always carry and embrace.
4. It’s rare to find carpets sold at a fashion concept store. Tell us about how you are aiming to bridge the worlds of home décor and fashion by being sold at the new Gigi Boutique in Dubai.
Since day one, Iwan Maktabi’s vision was to decorate homes fashionably, so we even had a slogan “carpets are fashion for the floor.” And like fashion, carpets at the end of the day are also representative of one’s personal style. Further similar to the fashion world, we too operate seasonal collections that we launch twice a year, where colors and designs are inspired by the fashion catwalks.
When Gigi Boutique launched, we saw that the setup and the decor was already so homey, so we didn’t have to make much of an effort to blend our carpets in. The cross collaboration opportunities were endless as we even furnished select booths in Gigi such as Bilarabi and Katfish with assorted rugs.