Presentation to 2008 winner Michelle Lang by Axminster Carpets Ltd.

Unique rugs on display before they fly away

A seven year collaboration between Axminster Carpets Ltd and Somerset College draws to a close as an exhibition of extremely rare rugs are to be displayed at the College this month.

The rugs are the result of a partnership between Somerset College and the internationally recognised carpet manufacturer who challenged undergraduates to design a rug for them.

Each year Axminster Carpets Ltd have given BA (Hons) Interior Textiles and Surface Design undergraduates a live competitive brief to design a rug for them. Only two rugs were ever made of each design, one for the designer, and one for Axminster Carpets Ltd archive. Each of the specially made rugs are worth around £1000.

Imelda Hughes from Somerset College, said: ‘We are really grateful that Axminster Carpets Ltd allowed us to work so closely with them for seven years. Their competition gave our undergraduates experiences of designing pieces for a large organisation.

‘I am also thankful to Adrian Ayres at Axminster Carpets Ltd for allowing us to show their archive. The undergraduates produced an amazing array of designs during the seven years, the different styles reflect the designs of the day and are here for all to see.'

Adrian Ayres from Axminster Carpets Ltd said: ‘We have really enjoyed working with Somerset College, the undergraduates have been highly talented and produced some eye-catching designs. These designers are the future for our industry, they need to be able to work with large companies in the industry to hone their skills.'

Somerset College have forged close links with large nationally and internationally recognised companies including Axminster Carpets Ltd. Undergraduates are given experiences of producing work for these companies as part of their course. Many students leave the College and find employment with these companies, including Mia Puzey and Stuart Pomphrey who graduated last year and now work for New Look.

Imelda said: ‘It is connections with large, internationally recognised companies that allows the undergraduates to get experience of working to a brief with an industry deadline, just as they would in the workplace. It is a vital part of our degree programmes that undergraduates have direct contact with local industry and we welcome collaborations with businesses where the undergraduate's creative flare can add a dynamic input.'

The exhibition runs from Monday 15 September until Friday 26 September in the White Space Gallery at Somerset College's Arts and Design Building in Taunton.

For more information about the BA (Hons) Interior Textiles and Surface Design Course, contact Somerset College on (01823) 366 331, alternatively email enquiries@somerset.ac.uk, or visit the course listings page. Somerset College deliver higher education courses through a partnership with the University of Plymouth.

The winning undergraduates whose designs will be displayed were: 2007 Michelle Lang 2006 Natalie Paterson 2005 Claire Stevens 2004 Anita Heather 2003 Claire Smith 2002 Klara Groves 2001 Gemma Klonowitz