UNSW Rug Up 2020 - Inspiring Student Design

By Designer Rugs on November 10, 2021 
Foley by Jade Philip

Designer Rugs is proud to support UNSW Art & Design students through our Rug Up program. The project is designed to develop the design vision and practice of the students whilst also giving them an insight into the world of commercial design. The program has been running since 2008, and the designs that have been created by these talented students over the years are deeply impressive.

For the 2020 program, students were required to select either an organization involved in environmental or culturally sensitive work, an organization responsible for a public space, or a medical or education institution, and create a collection of four contemporary rug designs for the space. Students were asked to create a rug that integrates into the interior space and creates a dialogue with their chosen organisations practice, creating an atmosphere or weaving a narrative that benefits the users of the space.

The designs submitted to judging panel here at Designer Rugs were a striking and highly varied collection of designs, created with thoughtful consideration of the brief and a reflection of the students work over the semester. Four finalist designs were selected by our judges – Foley by Jade Philip, Nautilus by Sarinah Paterson, Plant by Annika Gifford, and the design chosen as most outstanding, Freedom by Stephanie Bednorz.

“The project was an incredible opportunity to explore the way a design comes to life in an industry setting, allowing me to gain insight from design professionals in a way that I had previously not experienced.” says Bednorz.

Each of our finalists were guided through the process of bringing their designs to life as a full sized rug, and also each received a design fee. The designs are added to the Designer Rugs collection and are open to being selected for projects by Australia’s top interior designers.

Compared to other years, the students faced additional challenges due to the course moving to online learning halfway through the semester. Considering these rugs were designed during such a disruptive and unpredictable time, the results are truly remarkable.

“The students were very focused despite the difficulties of last year, with all its uncertainties and changes from in-person learning to online,” says Designer Rugs senior designer and course lecturer Lia Pielli. “Seeing the students approach to the project and how they overcame these challenges really allowed them to shine – perhaps it’s a wonderful silver lining of the situation that they grew so much as designers.”

The students rugs can be viewed in our Leichhardt showroom in a 190 x 280cm size. Each design is hand tufted in a New Zealand Wool blend, some with highlights of Viscose, and are able to be custom coloured, shaped and sized to suit residential or light commercial spaces.


Freedom by Stephanie Bednorz

The project was an incredible opportunity to explore the way a design comes to life in an industry setting, allowing me to gain insight from design professionals in a way that I had previously not experienced. As a young designer, it was amazing to watch my work grow from a sketch in a lecture notebook to a fully formed product and encouraged me to continue seeking these bigger and better opportunities.

- Stephanie Bednorz

Foley by Jade Philip

I personally really enjoyed the project as it helped me realise my love for digital illustration and textile design. In the end it helped me develop some of the knowledge I needed to land an internship and my current job.  

Jade Philip

Nautilus by Sarinah Paterson

I enjoyed both the research aspect and the design process associated with the Designer Rugs 'Rug Up' project. It has been an exciting and rewarding experience to see my designs translate into a physical rug.

Sarinah Paterson

Plant by Annika Gifford

The project allowed me to apply the skills I’d developed to a practical, ‘real-world’ task. It was a glimpse into an industry that can otherwise seem quite far off when you are studying. Seeing my design come to life has been very rewarding.

Annika Gifford

See the UNSW Rug Up 2020 designs and designs from previous years.

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