A stone’s throw from Saint-Tropez in the small village of Cogolin, La Manufacture Cogolin uses incredible expertise to make contemporary, often artist-designed rugs. Their creations adorn the Chateau de Versailles, the Elysée Palace and some of the most beautiful French ocean liners. We take a guided tour of this jewel of the Côte d’Azur.
Jean Cocteau, Jean-Michel Frank and Christian Bérard have all designed carpets made by La Manufacture Cogolin. They are carefully archived at the brand’s headquarters, where the art of weaving is revisited to create collections with a modern touch.
Collaboration with today’s artists and designers
The trademarks of this Provence-based brand are geometric and floral high-relief patterns, vibrant colours and quality workmanship, uniting to form exceptional rugs that grace palaces, embassies, luxury residences and yachts around the world.
By collaborating with modern-day artists and designers and reissuing certain models, releasing a regularly expanded catalogue of collections, La Manufacture Cogolin has become a jewel in the crown of French interior decoration.
Made in Côte d’Azur
It all started in 1928 in the village of Cogolin, at the foot of the Massif des Maures and a stone’s throw from the Gulf of Saint-Tropez. Jean Lauer, a visionary textile engineer, bought the Cogolin carpet factory, created four years ago and specialised in sericulture and hand-knotted carpets. He introduced 19th-century looms with Jacquard mechanisms and imported different knotting and weaving techniques, allowing a multitude of finishes.
Inspired, he called upon various artists and other virtuosos of the Decorative Arts to draw avant-garde models. Jean Cocteau was one of them, who had also forged his own privileged link with the French Riviera.
In the 1930s, La Manufacture Cogolin became a benchmark for its bespoke carpets and showcase of French craftsmanship. Its creations adorned Versailles, the Elysée Palace and some of the most beautiful French ocean liners.
In the 2010s, La Manufacture Cogolin reworked its colour palette and selected new materials to breathe new life into its creations. Today it offers almost 200 custom-made colours, from a basis of 32 light tones.
What about materials? Wool, cotton, jute, linen, silk or raffia – all are valued and worked with care by the Cogolin craftsmen. They make unique pieces based on four families of traditional crafts, using French Jacquard looms from 1880 (the same ones introduced by Jean Lauer) which combine the techniques of needles, cylinder and punched cards. They allow for the remarkably elaborate textured designs and patterns that have made the brand famous.
Read more on antiques and crafts in Provence.
The return of the hand knot
In 2013, with the Cogolin brand and the Mains du Monde, the Manufacture also updated the knotting technique. This initiative allowed the brand to use the buried treasures of ‘Carnets d’Archives’, a collection inspired by the exclusive creations of great 20th-century decorators.
Among them, Les Modernistes and Les Jardins rugs à la Française champion graphic art. The hand-knotted technique is also at the heart of a recent collection, Nord-Sud, conceived as a journey through the memories of artist Stéphane Parmentier between his native south and Paris, his adopted land. His designs are inspired by the work of Vallauris’ craftsmen and the traditional Provençal landscape.
Antibes, Porquerolles, Lavandou... the names of the carpets are flourishing on the French Riviera. Cogolin’s last unpublished collection contains original patterns drawn from the archives of French decorator André Arbus, an emblematic figure in the history of Decorative Arts.
With its geometric designs and rope patterns conceived for ocean liners, this collection has been on display since November in La Manufacture’s two showrooms, in Cogolin and in Paris.
- Ines de la Fressange: French fashion icon from Paris to Provence
- Our 4 favourite designer boutiques in Marseille
- The Provence wool factory that brings fabrics to life
Find out more: