Growing up in a family of artists and designers with a rich heritage in Iranian tribal culture was fertile training ground for Taher Asad-Bakhtiari. The Tehran native established an internationally acclaimed art career by exploring his family’s tribal heritage, giving ancient craft new relevance in the art world. Asad-Bakhtiari now turns his creative attention to designing fabrics for Bernhardt Textiles. His eponymous collection blends primal craft and respect for time-honoured weaving techniques with a healthy wink to contemporary aesthetics. His textiles are the perfect alchemy of the old world and the modern world. The collection incorporates six unique patterns that are available in 52 colourways.
Taher attracted a global audience with his Tribal Weave Project, which was self-commissioned in Iran. The endeavour combined age-old weaving techniques with a modern artistic vision by reinventing the Kilim and the Gabbeh. The pieces were woven by semi-nomadic tribal women using naturally-dyed hand spun wool. To push the boundaries even further, he incorporated polyurethane yarns into the process. Each piece required up to six months to complete. Taher’s encore was the introduction of his Recovered Barrels Exhibition, which gave new meaning to Tehran’s ubiquitous battered oil barrels, embracing the beauty of their patina as modern design objects.
“I was fascinated by Taher’s Tribal Weave Project, which was based on resurrecting and reinventing an ancient Iranian tribal art form. I had the opportunity to participate in a panel discussion with Taher but had never met him before. Five minutes after the talk concluded I asked him if he would do a design project with us,” states Jerry Helling, President of Bernhardt Design. "And he said yes!”
“I based the patterns on the Bakhtiari tribe’s aesthetic of nomadism and lifestyle,” explains Asad-Bakhtiari. “Nomads weave for different purposes: making carpet, tents, blankets, saddles, cushions, bedding, drapes, clothing and much more. For my collection with Bernhardt Textiles, the essence of Bakhtiari fabrics – raw, naturally-dyed and textural – have been given a modern feel. I wanted them to look handcrafted and naturally coloured.”