Campbell-Rey Channels Thorvaldsen’s Tones for Nordic Knots

The London design atelier refreshes its range of hand-knotted rugs using the late sculptor’s affinity for atmospheric jewel tones as a guiding light.

When Duncan Campbell and Charlotte Rey visited Copenhagen’s Thorvaldsen Museum a few years ago, they were blown away. Named for the Danish sculptor Berthel Thorvaldsen who displayed his life’s work there, the museum gracefully blends Greek and Roman architecture with Egyptian and Pompeiian motifs, with each room boasting one-of-a-kind ceiling grotesques. “We loved it so much that we’ve been waiting for the perfect moment to incorporate it into our work,” Rey tells Surface. That should be no surprise to followers of the London-based design atelier, whose interiors and furniture thrive on a compelling mélange of historical architecture, traditional decorative techniques, jewel tones, and the whimsical dialogues that arise from it all. 

Not long after, Nordic Knots was itching to refresh three successful hand-knotted Campbell-Rey rugs from its range, including the Gustavian-inspired Climbing Vine that was reinterpreted for the rooms of Porto Ercole’s Hotel Il Pellicano. With a renewed appreciation for Thorvaldsen’s gesamtkunstwerk—and an abiding curiosity about Italian classical design as well as Charlotte’s Swedish and Duncan’s Scottish heritage—the duo got to work devising new colorways using the museum’s jewel-toned interiors as a starting point. They sought to create a welcome contrast to the core collection’s lighter, springier colors with a deeper, richer palette that creates depth and mystery. “We’re always drawn to great colors,” Campbell says, “delicious colorways that evoke emotion and that draw you in to touch.” 

The result offers a best-of-both-worlds update to the core range, blending Campbell-Rey’s captivating color saturation with the cool Scandinavian restraint that Nordic Knots does best. Garden Maze bears the same geometric pattern inspired by landscape architect Russell Page, reinterpreted in lush tones of deep Prussian blue that recall shadowy skylines. Folding Ribbon benefits from a bold ruby refresh tempered with sharp auburn folds. Chartreuse foliage now meanders across Climbing Vine’s mossy, olive-green base. “The way this collection has evolved to convey the spirit of extraordinary places through a meticulous choice of colors, shades, and tones brings new meaning to the rugs and makes the collection feel entirely fresh and new,” says Nordic Knots founder Liza Laserow.

Campbell-Rey will also introduce a dreamlike green to the brand’s range of all-wool curtains inspired by Thorvaldsen’s historic Egyptian references, too.

Video still by Victor Knötzel

Photography by Robbie Lawrence unless otherwise noted.

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