Shaper: Luke Irwin

Luke Irwin is an award-winning rug designer, specialising in the making of hand-knotted, custom made rugs. Previously, he worked in both theatre and Christies before establishing his own company in early 2004. Luke was inspired to start his own rug design company after a chance encounter with a Tibetan weaver’s son whilst at a family lunch in Dorset, and he became fascinated with the rug-making process. Much of the inspiration for his collections is rooted in history and based on everything from original textiles, dreams and poetry, to crop circles and architecture.

One of Luke’s rugs, “Doves and Stripes”, was inspired by Obama’s political fight in the 2007/8 election and was eventually presented to him via the Irish foundation Jack & Jill. In 2015 he discovered a Roman villa underneath his home while laying electrical cabling, which led Luke to develop the novel design and unique manufacturing techniques of his “Mosaic” collection, which had won numerous awards, including Wallpaper’s Award for Best Design Product 2017.

Luke opened his flagship store on Pimlico Road in 2010, and exhibits at trade shows across the world. He has also collaborated with household names, including Anthropologie, The Conran Shop and Williams Sonoma Home.

“The joy and the privilege of what I do is you can turn your whimsies into tangible things.”

“With design you can’t have a fear of failure.”

“When somebody first walked in I was so taken aback that they wanted to give me money for something that I had created.”

“When the business is your own no two days are the same.”

“As you get older you recognise your own weaknesses.”

“Now the problem I have is there are so many designs in my head we don’t possibly have the means to make them all.”

“I began to have the mind-set of, what’s the worst that can happen?” 

“You have to follow what it is that you think is the right thing and then sometimes you are ahead of the curve…and other times you just get it wrong.”