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A sit down with Melinda Bourdain

A sit down with Melinda Bourdain

 As the Founder of Grounded Rugs and designer of the new Pittwater Collection. Can you tell us what inspired the design of these pieces?

 A: As a lot of our clients know, Grounded's designs and colours are inspired by nature or urban surrounds.  During the last two years of our globe going through a pandemic many of us were able to get back to the simple things in life, even forced to do so some may say given the restrictions in place.  One of my constant go to's when I am needing grounding (excuse the reference!) is water, whether just sitting by it and letting the sounds of the tidal flow wash over me, or immersing myself in it, I always find it extremely cathartic for the mind and body and I wanted to connect that feeling within the home.  

What do you love most about those encounters and sensations you experienced throughout the Pittwater landscapes?

A: I just love how the world can seem out of control around you, or you can be stressed from a daily event in your own immediate surrounds but the minute you either go for a walk in dense bushland or rainforest, or go for a swim, or simply stare at the open horizon, this helps to calm the mind and shift the focus to the things that really matter in life.  I think that nature and space helps us obtain perspective. 

The Pittwater Collections takes a textural approach in its design, can you discuss the inspiration for this approach?

 A: As mentioned above the design originates from water and the colours are inspired by the three areas within the Pittwater enclave which to me reflect such an iconic Australian theme, bush, beach and coastal ruggedness.  Combining all these elements with colour and design but to retain a sense of calmness within the piece was paramount to this all New Zealand wool design. 

What are the techniques used to achieve this contemporary textured design?

 A: At Grounded we are extremely humbled to work with some of the best weavers and artisans in India.  Mr Aamid Mohd is Grounded's full time quality control Manager based just outside Varanasi in the state of Utter Pradesh, it is with his guidance that I work with him to brief our artisans in this design and to achieve the subtle high low hand cutting movement reflected in each individual wool piece.  The rug is woven on a hand loom with pure New Zealand wool and then each artesian hand cuts in the low area of the design to give us the overall effect.  Truly beautiful and you can indeed say that every individual piece is a hand made hand cut original.

You mentioned the catharsis of water and the serenity of immersing yourself in nature. How do you try to stay Grounded in nature?

A: I am very much quite the introvert...after spending my weeks in the Grounded Sydney HQ, or travelling up to our Byron Bay showroom, along with interacting daily with our wonderful trade and residential clients, I very much need my down time to reset for the week ahead.  My priorities of a weekend are spending as much time outside with my 16 year old Groodle, Bronte, as much as possible.  That normally involves lovely walks by Sydney Harbour at Jubilee Park or Centennial Park, then finding the largest Moreton Bay Fig we can find and lying down with Bronte to do some form of breathing meditation.  

 Having only opened Sydney Showroom 6 months ago to a strong start, how have you found the reaction in the Sydney market?

 A: Well, I must say that we have been very humbled by the beautiful support that Sydney has shown Grounded Rugs.  I was born in Hobart, Tasmania, however other than short stints spent in London, Melbourne and most recently Byron Bay, I consider Sydney my home.  It is very lovely to be able to have Grounded Rugs in some of the most stunning homes and apartments in Sydney.  Personally it was very important to me to, as part of our overall Grounded boutique showroom expansion, to have Sydney as our Headquarters and for me to be able to come back home to my personal and professional network that I value so much.

Byron Bay will always have a place in my heart as that is where Grounded all started, that community has allowed Grounded to flourish and to continue to flourish and for that I will always be very grateful. 

You’re also spending a lot of time in the new Sydney Grounded Design Studio. Can you tell us what is upcoming for Winter 2022?

 A: Firstly, and can I say not my most preferred time to launch an Outdoor Collection, but with all the delays in shipping currently we are at the mercy of the sea freight network, we have just launched our first Outdoor collection called PLANET.   This collection consists of NON-DYED hand braided rugs that are made from 100% recycled plastic that meet Proposition 65 standards globally.  It is quite incredible as they look and feel like wool but are completely stain resistant, so spill a glass of red and hose it right off! Perfect for Australian outdoor entertaining and also those homes with little ones and pets for indoors that are concerned about spills and stains!

We've just soft launched this as we head into Autumn and we are very excited to do a full restyle and photoshoot in Spring 2022 and a big push for this wonderful product as we head into a hopefully glorious Summer for 2022/23!

Secondly within the cool depths of winter we will be revisiting our gorgeous Pebble Legacy collection however we have made some very impressive changes with this design in increasing the wool density and use and reducing the shedding down to 90% shed free.  We are also producing Pebble in a trinity colour selection involving some beautiful creme's, charcoals and light dove greys.  Very simple yet luxurious designs visually and underfoot for the home.  

 Finally, in addition to all the above, can you share with us your plans for Grounded for the rest of this year and for 2023 and beyond?

 A: Like any small to medium business owner will tell you, one of the hardest things to manage during a growth phase of business is yourself.  One of our greatest challenges in life is to master ourselves.  This year, after the last 3 years of absolute focus and drive and at points utter burn out, I am determined to get back into my daily fitness routine so I can get "business fit" and to enjoy what I have planned for Grounded over the next 5-10 years. 

That includes opening our Melbourne showroom, hopefully in November 2022, and then starting to look at our first expansion in the USA, predominately a boutique showroom in Santa Monica or close surrounds.  As a business that is only 3.5 years young, two of those years we have operated within a global pandemic and also been dealing with the fluid logistics of shipping and this year now flooding in our Byron Bay region.  I am looking forward to seeing how the business (and myself) operates in a "normal" global market environment...but who knows what that is anymore!