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UNSW Rug Up 2021 - Nurturing the Next Generation of Design

By Designer Rugs on August 16, 2022 
designer rugs student designs
Nook by Rose Villari

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 2021 program, students were required to select from a list of iconic Sydney locations - ranging from libraries, to public spaces, to historical houses - and create a collection of four contemporary rug designs for the space.

The designs submitted to judging panel here at Designer Rugs were fresh and reflected varied points of view - we were particularly impressed by the colour palettes this year and their reflection of current interiors trends. Four finalist designs were selected by our judges – South Steyne by Madison Nicholson, Unity by Tami Tran, Nostalgia by Natasha Rodriguez-Hunter, and the design chosen as most outstanding, Nook by Rose Villari.

“Usually work we do in university is quite theory based, so being given assignments that are tailored to the real world and connect to real customers and industry professionals was invaluable as an emerging designer.” says Villari.

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. This years most outstanding design Nook was also included in a photoshoot with stylist Julia Green of Greenhouse Interiors.

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.


Nook by Rose Villari

designer rugs unsw rose villari

The project was an incredibly enjoyable and enriching one. The process was aided by the generous feedback of my tutors and it provided a great opportunity to have industry minded feedback in terms of what would be most appropriate for the Designer Rugs collection. Seeing work we do in a real-world context is incredibly exciting, I look forward to seeing what designs emerge from the project in the future.

- Rose Villari

Nostalgia by Natasha Rodriguez-Hunter

Being an emerging designer, this project exposed me to commercial and professional experiences. The parameters to design for a client and location was challenging yet conceptually drove my design to greater development. 

Natasha Rodriguez-Hunter
designer rugs unsw natasha rodriguez hunter

Unity by Tami Tran

designer rugs unsw tami tran

The project was indeed an eye-opening experience that provided great insights into the commercial industry. I had so much fun developing ideas and learnt a great deal about designing with a purpose.

Tami Tran

South Steyne by Madison Nicholson

Designing this project for Designer Rugs was such an exciting project! It was so much fun and really valuable insight into the industry.

Madison Nicholson
designer rugs unsw madison nicholson

See the UNSW Rug Up 2021 designs and designs from previous years.

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