Exquisite Rugs lands a deal with the Smithsonian and will unveil lines inspired by the historic museum’s artifacts at the upcoming High Point Market. It’s a great honor to be chosen to collaborate with the Metropolitan Museum Of Art on a rug collection, which makes it even more impressive that Exquisite Rugs has also been picked as a collaborator by the esteemed Smithsonian Institution.

The Met collection (profiled in RUG INSIDER Spring 2023) started with two extremely well-received collections, and the company will unveil two more lines at the upcoming Spring market. We caught up with Exquisite Rugs Owner Hersel Bani-Esraili to see how the company’s second ‘night at the museum’ came about.

The rug manufacturer now has a five-year license with the historic Smithsonian museum and is unveiling a variety of designs across three collections inspired by Old Europe, Ancient Persia, Classical Greece and more at the spring High Point Market.

“We create a product that fills voids in the market, and our product is not only high-quality but also competitively priced,” says Bani-Esraili. “It’s very edgy in terms of what is invoked and we are a part of the entire creative process.”

The Masterlooms Collection, Exquisite Rugs’ latest collaboration with the Smithsonian.

For those unfamiliar with the process, the Smithsonian has to approve each design its partners come up with before they can be released. Bani-Esraili says this exemplifies Exquisite’s ability to create beautiful rugs that appeal to all consumers.

Exquisite Rugs is highly successful today because the company has been built on a generational legacy since 1924.

Starting out as importers in London with warehouses in Germany the company started dealing antique rugs until they became hard to find. The business eventually developed into a domestic market where the company started creating new products.

From there, the company took off and eventually opened a showroom on 5th Avenue in New York City that saw a great amount of business.

“We have always been in this industry, and we’ve always been creators of rugs,” he says. “We are very selective in our audience. But the people that we do go with, we support them all out in every way.”

Rugs shown (from left to right) top: design 6094 and 6895; bottom: design 6903 and 6816 from The Masterlooms Collection, Exquisite Rugs’ latest collaboration with the Smithsonian.


Each piece is made by hand by skilled artisans, and the journey to get there is a long and complicated one. First, raw wool or silk is cleaned, detangled and then hand-spun into balls of yarn. Hand-spinning raw materials gives the yarn unique texture, depth and color. Dye Masters then prepare dyes from recipes that have been passed down for generations to create each precise color and submerge the yarn into these dye baths.

The yarn will undergo a color-perfecting process of dyeing and sun drying 4 - 5 times to ensure they obtain the intended shade of color, texture and sheen. The dyed yarn is then collected, wound into balls and assigned to a design and rug artisan.

After a design rendering is hand drawn and painted it serves as the blueprint for each rug, specifying the color and position of every knot.

The intricate art of weaving is the lengthiest step in the process and is done by skilled craftsmen. The company’s weavers practice time-honored techniques that go back generations.

The newly handmade rug is hand-washed thoroughly using wooden paddles and then it is sun-dried.

Exquisite Rugs’ legacy continues with the launch of the Smithsonian collection and the expansion of the Metropolitan line. With the launch of the Smithsonian designs coming up soon, the company is already working on its next big line: a collaboration with Frida Kahlo Corporation to create rugs based on the late Mexican designer’s paintings.

A preview of this stunning work is shown below!

Stop by Exquisite’s showroom IHFC, H204 to see the new Smithsonian Collection rugs and so much more.




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