Ben Soleimani’s great-grandfather worked as a rug trader in Isfahan, Iran, and in 1981, his father, Mansour Soleimani, founded the House of Mansour, the London purveyor of antique rugs and tapestries. It is not surprising, then, that the fourth-generation Soleimani has, for the last 13 years, operated a Mansour showroom in Los Angeles and continues to run the U.K.-headquartered business with his family. Less foreseeable perhaps was the way in which Ben has expanded the business by introducing a collection of contemporary floor coverings.
“I’ve spent two years putting the designs for the rugs and showroom on paper,” says Soleimani of Mansour Modern, the 5,000-square-foot gallery-style space in Los Angeles (open to consumers and the trade) that he opened in January. Although Mansour Modern shares a wall with its parent company’s Melrose Avenue showroom, its contents are entirely different. Unlike antique rugs that people value for their lineage and geographical origins, Soleimani says, couture rugs such as the ones in his debut collection—codesigned by Mansour Modern’s design director, Kerry Joyce—are objects of fashion that determine the ambience of a room. “I love clean lines and serene, easy color,” he says. “Today’s grandeur is not about being egregiously colorful, so we’re trying to achieve simple beauty. Everything here is subtle for the [client’s] room’s advantage.”
The 400 rug samples hanging on the showroom’s upper and lower levels range from Art Deco to tribal-influenced and incorporate elements such as animal-print patterns and classic motifs. “Look at this rug,” says Soleimani, pointing to a 9-by-12-foot Rhodes rug ($7,800) bearing the classic Greek Key pattern. “There are rugs with that type of design from 300 years ago and from 60 years ago,” he says, “but our look is timeless because we’ve made it even simpler.” Joyce’s penchant for mixing the classic with contemporary is apparent throughout this first collection; a different designer will create each of the company’s forthcoming lines.
Rugs on display are available for purchase, but custom carpets are Mansour Modern’s specialty. You can specify the materials, the hues, and the dimensions. Soleimani says he will make any size a customer wants, and he prefers using the softest wools and purest silks with natural vegetable dyes for richer, deeper colors that resist aging. “We may not always produce the whole rug in one place,” he says, “but it will always be the best rug because we have the resources, the looms, and the manufacturers around the world.”
The new Mansour Modern collection of couture rugs debuted in January at its eponymous Los Angeles showroom.