Thank you Inside Out magazine for including Grounded Rugs in the September 2021 issue with a design profile on Grounded's founder and director, Melinda Bourdain.
Melinda Bourdain, the founder of Australia’s newest rug company, has come a long way since she was editorial coordinator at Inside Out
A desire to merge art with nature by honouring the ancient craft of weaving is at the core of Byron Bay-based Grounded Rugs, a business founded by former magazine staffer Melinda Bourdain, who was inspired to do so by her late mother.
Explain how Grounded Rugs was born I’ve always had an intrinsic love for interiors and styling, which I get from my late mother, and when she passed I decided to launch Grounded as – like a lot of people who lose someone close to them – life is too short to not absolutely love what you do every day. I began in early 2018 with a solo exploratory textiles trip to India. Our first showroom launched on October 8, 2018, which is also my mother’s birthday. While I didn’t plan this day to launch, it just all aligned on that specific date, which I found quite beautiful.
What sets you apart from other rug companies? Each piece is an original because of its handmade nature, telling its own story through the individual weave. Our designs are inspired by Australian land and seascapes, and our travels overseas.
How do you choose the perfect rug? Think about your existing interiors and how you want that rug to layer within your styling. Do you want a statement rug that you’ll have to refer to when placing art, upholstery and cushions? Or would you like a more transitional piece that works across multiple styling options? And when looking for a rug, always check the edging to make sure it’s finished beautifully.
Tell us about your work with global organisation Care & Fair? Prior to launching Grounded, I spent months exploring different regions of India and visiting looming studios, both in highly populated regions of New Delhi and Mumbai and out in the rural areas of Jaipur and beyond. During my first visit, I was privy to some horrific working conditions... unclean work places, no fresh water, weavers working beyond reasonable working hours and poor resting conditions. As Grounded grew, it was imperative for me that all our manufacturers adhered to the Care & Fair mandates [to eradicate child labour and improve living conditions for weavers] and that I personally knew of the working conditions of our weavers and had seen them in person.
What’s next for Grounded rugs? We have designed and produced some stunning new designs to flesh out Grounded’s Legacy Collection and, as Sydney is my ‘soul home’, we will be opening our sister showroom there in November. That will be followed by Brisbane in 2022, along with several plans for the UK and the US. Our ethos is exclusive yet globally accessible.
Who or what influences your designs? It sounds clichéd, but as I was born in Tasmania, how can I not say ‘nature’? The thing about nature is that every single person interprets it differently – that’s what makes it so inspirational, and it’s constantly changing and open to interpretation.
Recall your proudest professional moment to date Having dinner at Nobu Sydney with Grounded Rug’s marketing director Camille Timbs and seeing our rugs styled in the restaurant was a nice moment. But I would have to nominate the production and installation of 220 rugs into Brisbane’s The Calile Hotel, along with the production and delivery of its stunning custom lobby rug, which weighed 250 kilograms.