Inspiration Everywhere – The Map Collection

With such a vast collection of fabulous contemporary carpets, it is finally time we look at one of our most impressive and creative carpet series, the Map Collection. With two- and three-dimensional designs within these carpets, continue reading this week’s Inspiration Everywhere to learn about the origin of this collection and the in-depth analysis of San Francisco, South America, Washington DC, and Rome.

Orley Shabahang - Map Collection Carpet overall photos


The Orley Shabahang Map collection idea began as a custom order commissioned by Chad Jensen of Method & Concept. The idea was to create a carpet based on a historic map of the Palace of Versailles, the successful execution of which would require a level of technical skill unlike any other carpet before it. The geometric designs built from this antique map inspired Bahram prompted him to create the map collection. With San Francisco, South America, Washington DC, and Rome being the subjects of this collection, each carpet highlights a different level of detail based on the size and map of the region. The map collection continues to be one of Orley Shabahang’s most beloved collections because of its bold design. Completed in taupe, black, and cream wool, the neutral color palette enhances the collection’s bold designs.

Orley Shabahang - Map Collection - San Fransisco - Hand-knotted wool carpet

San Francisco

Appropriately titled San Francisco, this carpet, completed in cream, taupe, white, and black wool, showcases a classic map of San Francisco. To obtain the linear abrash effect, weavers utilized traditional weaving techniques, including the hand-spinning of the wool. The hand-spun yarn combines multiple strands of wool fiber and when cut, creates a variegated linear pattern that aids the depth of the design. What draws audiences to this carpet within the Map collection is the attention to the intricate detailing within the map design. Different districts are appropriately labeled with black lettering along with crucial landmarks and railroads. And because this carpet measures 10’ x 14’4,” all the lettering within the carpet is legible, adding to its overall allure.  

Orley Shabahang - Map Collection - South America - 10x14 hand-knotted wool carpet

South America

As in much of the rest of the collection, South America measures 10’ x 14,’ and the pile consists of hand-spun cream, black, and neutral-toned wool. The map utilized portrays South America as a medium-sized landmass recently discovered by European explorers. Even though the map used for the design was inaccurate, the Persian master-weavers who crafted this carpet incorporated every intricate detail possible to the pattern. Hidden within the pile, mountain ranges, borders of countries, and even regional animals were cleverly woven into the carpet to provide intrigue to the design. One of our favorite elements about this piece comes out of its versatility based on the orientation and the layering of details. The original map displays a compass and indicates the “top” of the carpet. We love the addition of the scripture and motifs positioned in landscape orientation unique for an area rug. These design elements provide the option to place this carpet within any space.

Orley Shabahang - Map Collection - The Mall - Washington DC - 9x12 wool hand-knotted carpet

Washington DC

The next carpet in this collection, titled Washington DC, depicts a map from 1901 of The National Mall. When comparing Washington DC to the rest of the Map Collection, Washington DC differs by the orientation of the loom. This particular carpet, measuring 9′ x 12,’ was woven on a horizontal loom, resulting in the fringe ends residing on the long edges of the rug. What sets Washington DC apart from the rest of the Map Collection is the accuracy of the carpet design. When compared side-by-side to a modern-day map of the National Mall, the detailing within the carpet is almost exact, aside from additional changes made to the Tidal Basin and the corresponding designs around it. City blocks, detailed in neutral taupe, cream, black, and grey wool, are still identifiable. 

Orley Shabahang - Map Collection - Rome - Hand-knotted wool carpet


The last piece in the Orley Shabahang Map Collection, titled Rome, appropriately captures the majesty of this ancient city. Rome measures 12′ x 18′ and is truly a one-of-a-kind masterpiece. Persian weavers crafted this carpet with all-natural cream, black, grey, and taupe wool. The plush soft pile of the carpet comes from the weavers utilizing traditional Persian hand-knotted weaving techniques. The overall design for Rome is immaculate and incredibly detailed. The center, detailed in black wool, unfurls out towards the edges. Roads, sidewalks, and paths cut through the back abrash with a light cream detailing. Reaching its limits, the outer city limits, rivers, hillsides take shape in cream, taupe, and gray wool. The map design concluded with a compass rose motif, which signifies the orientation of Rome.

What makes this carpet outstanding is the additional three-dimensional designs added to the outside of the map. Capturing three-dimensional space within Persian textiles is not new but very uncommon. On the bottom portion of the rug, a scene from Ancient Rome, detailed in black and neutral wool, depicts Rome’s city square of buildings and monuments. The top right and left corner of the carpet also highlights a three-dimensional design of an angel folding back the corners of the map. Displaying the depth within the design, master-weavers utilized dark and light wool depending on the elements’ perceived depth. To say that this carpet is stunning would be an understatement, and due to sheer size only increases its impressiveness. 

Orley Shabahang - Map Collection Carpet overall photos

Due to their intricate detailing and overall familiarity, The Orley Shabahang Map collection continues to captivate and draw in audiences. To see these pieces in person or additional photos, schedule an appointment today to see these carpets and other fabulous Orley Shabahang creations!