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Takashi Murakami x Louis Vuitton Collaborative Rug – A Report From India

Takashi Murakami x Louis Vuitton Collaborative Rug – A Behind The Scenes Report From India

Hello, everyone.

When you think of Takashi Murakami and Louis Vuitton, the first things that come to mind are likely the Multicolor and Monogramouflage series, both of which featured colorful Louis Vuitton logos and became the subject of much attention.

However, our work with Louis Vuitton did not stop there. There are several more items in our ongoing collaboration, one of which is a new line of rugs released early this year.
The rugs come in two different designs, each with 20 editions.

↓The design in the picture below is called Flowerball.
This particular rug is three meters in diameter, but they were also made in two meter sizes.


Murakami with one of the rugs at the opening of the ©MURAKAMI exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao.
Photographed by GION.

↓Here’s another design called “Pink Time,” culled from one of the artist’s paintings: Time Bokan – Pink.


A view from our display at Design Miami, held in Basel, Switzerland in June of 2009.
(Photo courtesy of Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin)

All of these rugs are hand woven at an Indian rug factory with a long and distinguished history.

Now we’d like to bring you a special production report, straight from that same factory!


The rug factory is located in the Indian town of Varanasi. This August, a team of staff from both Kaikai Kiki and Louis Vuitton made a personal visit to the production site to inspect the quality of ten new rugs which were near completion.

After an hour and a half drive from Varanasi Airport, our team finally arrived at their destination.


E. Hill and Company sports a more than 100 year history, making it one of India’s oldest rug production companies.

First things first, we were given a tour of the factory. Indian rugs are famous for both their history and finely aged elegance, and our staff were thrilled at the chance to get a peek inside an authentic production site.

Below is the design wing. Here, data is assembled in preparation for the actual weaving.


Here you can see the actual weaving taking place. The threads are knitted with great precision and incredible speed. The wonderful control of these craftsmen is enough to make you want to applaud!


Here, the rugs are being washed.


Making final adjustments, such as the aligning of individual strands.


With more than 100 years of history between the factory’s walls, it seemed that nearly every employee could regale us with tales of their “thirty year service” to the site’s cause. What more would you expect from a factory chosen by Louis Vuitton?

We quickly began inspection of the Flower Ball and Pink Time rugs.


Actual sized printouts of the rug data were made on semi-transparent film and brought to India by the Kaikai Kiki Design Team. Here the printouts are laid on top of the rugs, while the team checks for deviations from the original design.


Designer Partho (left) also uses the film to inspect, while the company’s Vice Chairman Mudit takes notes and issues instructions.

Further inspection with a different actual sized printout. Rather than simply point out mistakes, the production and quality inspection sides confirm with each other, in an effort to understand the source of the problem.


Adjustments that can be made on the spot are done so promptly.
The speed with which they worked was simply astonishing.


We inspected a total of 12 rugs on this particular trip and among those, nearly half were deemed okay for shipment - seven in all. When it comes time to send them out, each completed rug is given a leather tag carrying Takashi Murakami’s signature.


These rugs are made possible by the collective work of a large number of people and the trip reminded us once again of the hard work and patience needed to maintain a high standard of quality. Even now, the long process continues as each rug undergoes production.

The factory staff showed true kindness and consideration throughout our visit. We could not be more thankful. In their honor, a commemorative photo on the final day!


Inspections are scheduled to continue periodically in the future.
To the factory staff - We can’t wait to meet you all again!

※The rugs introduced in this report are available through all Louis Vuitton stores.