Bridging the gap between bizarre and literal – the new Carpet Museum in Azerbaijan has surely turned some eyeballs and disturbed some eyebrows since it made its debut in the beginning of this year. And, in case you are wondering why there should be a carpet museum to begin with, the exalted Azerbaijani rug with its ancient pedigree and craftsmanship was declared a ‘Masterpiece of Intangible Heritage’ by UNESCO.
In that regard, the Carpet Museum of Azerbaijan has been in existence since at least 1967, when it was housed inside a 15th century mosque and then inside the Soviet-built Lenin Museum. But with the newly found economic growth, Azerbaijan has surely spread its wings in the futuristic direction (as is also evident from the ‘Star Wars project‘ in Baku). The Carpet museum designed by architect Franz Janz, might be a ‘victim’ of this highfalutin commercial trend, given its avoidance of historical tradition and spaces in favor of pseudo-futurism with some literal angles.
To that end, the Azerbaijan Carpet Museum exhibits its conspicuous curved walls both on the outside and the inside. The famed rugs (more than 10,000 in number) along with garments and embroidery works are displayed across such curvaceous facades flanking the two extended sides of the interior space.
Additionally, the museum boasts of myriad of other cultural objects, including ceramics, metal works, Bronze Age jewelry and metallic specimens from 14th century – with most of them being showcased in the expansive middle section that also doubles up as a support system for the roof. And lastly, yes – the ‘texture’ of the exterior bend sort of mimics the intricacy of the country’s carpets, which seems a bit antithetical when compared to the avant-garde embodiment of the structure itself.