During a visit to stockist Inform Interiors, Nani Marquina ponders her legacy. Her father, Rafael, was a legend in his own right (he designed the now famous Marquina oil cruet), and it was his tenacity and success that inspired the Barcelona-based creative to pursue a career in contemporary rug design. Early triumphs led Marquina to explore export possibilities for her burgeoning company, a move that would take the designer from her home country of Spain over to India. It was there, in 1993, that her namesake brand, Nanimarquina, came to establish a longstanding production relationship with local craftspeople. For Marquina however, the true value lay in the culture of rugs.
“We always buy products and objects that make us happy. It’s great to see this kind of object on the floor because it creates an environment, we live on them. There is a real connection with the products,” she reflects. “It’s a mix of the function of the product and the emotion created with an art piece.” For Marquina, collaboration with artists, designers, and craftspeople are part and parcel to her brand, and they seek her out frequently. What she in turn looks for in those partnerships is a sensitivity to the material, to nature—a feeling of warmth.
This softer mentality has become more pronounced since the arrival of her grandson. She admits getting older drives her to look internally, and more than for just her grandson, Marquina insists this focus is for all children. “It’s really important to give them something natural and more sustainable. It’s a about having a strong value of respect for what is coming, what they will have,” she explains. “One of the most important things as a designer is for your designs to leave a message, something quite clear and important.” It is through her Natural collection that Marquina weaves this intention.
The line takes seamlessly handcrafted yarns—silk, Afghan wool, nettle, and jute—and turns them into artful textural compositions. Whether hand-knotted, loop-piled, Kilim woven, or knitted using a traditional Sumak handweaving technique, each varietal’s natural beauty is elevated by the company’s dedication to environmental responsibility. The collection also uses manual production processes and chemical-free biodegradable components.
After a quarter-century of rug manufacturing, a dedication to sustainability is something that has become very important for the designer. “A designer is creating products every day, but also creating the need for the customer to buy more and more products. Sustainable products, then, create balance,” Marquina says. Expanding on buyers’ attraction to greener products, she adds, “A lot of people are getting back to the way of the old, to the original, to the need to make by hand. There is a big value in origins. We have to continue looking forward while maintaining a connection to the past.”
For Marquina, moving forward means looking within. Nanimarquina employs her daughter Maria Piera, her son-in-law Pierre Armengaud, and her sister Carlota Marquina. Perhaps eventually, her grandson too. With such talent in the family, it’s likely he’d be a natural.