Dreaming in Colour with Rag Home

by Hilda Raina
6th October 2021
Imbued with spontaneity, abstract shapes and vibrant colours, tapestry as a blank canvas in the hands of Ranissa Soraya became the whimsical Rag Home.

A look at one of Rag Home’s dreamlike fuzzy rugs gives off a calming effect – a mantra, if you like, to spend your afternoons lounging at home. Founded by Rannisa Soraya, the artisan rug brand, which she started at the height of the pandemic as a side project, explores itself in her belief that “any interior decor, or rugs in my case, should play the role of making a room come to life.”

Inside her home studio, her very first piece (a rectangular ivory base with a thin sapphire blue outline of a naked woman) is sprawled out on the floor, taking up most of the space. Listening to her speak about her daydreams of shapes and colours, one would think she’d always been artistic. 

But her venture into tapestry was one that she didn’t contemplate but felt naturally drawn towards. “My mother used to enjoy making rugs and my father was an interior designer. My background is in law, then I worked as a flight attendant for a few years, and now I’m here. It kind of just happened,” she laughed. 

Rather than following methodical steps and a specific ‘recipe’, her approach to design imbues spontaneity. She operates on a simple formula: some days she’ll start with the colour schemes, and on others, she’ll imagine and piece together abstract graphics. For the most part, she finds inspiration from easily overlooked subject matters, like the histogram from her camera screen, ripped-up sheets of old paper, or photographs from clients—wherever her mood takes her. The result: every piece she has ever created is unique. 

Compared to classical designs or their mass-produced counterparts available in the market today, her free-form shapes and unusual compositions restore a new panache for rugs. Popular pieces feature bright colours dotted, zig-zagged, or displayed in ‘splotchy’ motifs that pop out in-between geometric forms. For large custom pieces, sketches are projected onto a piece of woven fabric as a ‘guide’ for the hand-tufting processa technique where using a tufting gun, she follows the outline and works her way in to fill the space with coloured threadsoften intuitively combining two or three to get the right shade. 

She outrightly admits to her inability to draw, but takes comfort in the idea that it “gives me an advantage. It leaves freedom for me to imagine my own shapes without sticking to restrictions.” Signatures of Rag Home’s designs display a vibrant jumble of colours and fiddle with a combination of motifs and techniqueswhether shaggy, loop or emboss to name a coupleto achieve their distinct layered textures and uneven thickness that characterise her pieces. 

Apart from shapes, colour, and texture, the relationship between space and the people that fill it is important to Ranissa. Before taking on any commission piece, she would always inquire about her client’s living situation and personality: whether they are in a relationship, if they have pets and what kind of mood they want to emulate in the room. Once the design “fits the narrative”, she heads straight to production, which usually takes up to four weeks per piece.

When not in her studio and working on a backlog of orders, Rannisa spends her time teaching workshops or crafting floral resin wall decorations. “Growing up around my father and his work, I think I grew accustomed to seeing a room from a lens of ‘what can I do to accentuate this space?’ And I guess that translated to Rag Home,” she gently let on.