Over three decades, has built his reputation as one of the world’s top creators of contemporary, highly luxurious rugs. But with the launch of his eponymous e-commerce collection, he is poised to become a major player in the home-furnishings industry, with products that will eventually encompass every aspect of a person’s home, from floor to ceiling.
If the scale of his new venture sounds ambitious, Soleimani feels more than prepared. “I’ve been designing this stuff in my head for years,” he says by phone from his London apartment, adding that as a rug designer, he has had the opportunity to work with many of the world’s top interior designers. “I’ve refined my eye. I’ve learned so much.”
Be that as it may, the brand marks a different chapter for Ben Soleimani the man—and for his loyal customer base. A direct-to-consumer model, the company is Soleimani’s answer to the void he perceives between design-center offerings (typically only available to professional interior designers) and mass-market goods (open to all but sometimes lacking in quality).
in February with 1,000 objects for sale, among them a for $59, a for $495, and a for $695. At the higher end of the offerings is a sumptuous modern take on a traditional Persian rug, hand-knotted of gray New Zealand wool, starting at $2,295 and available in a range of sizes. Soleimani took pains to ensure that the website’s images would be in a notably high resolution. (“You can almost smell the rug in front of you on the screen,” he says.)
The images are supplemented by a 360-degree video function that helps buyers better envision each piece in a space. There is a white-glove delivery service, and specially trained designers are on hand to answer customers’ questions online. And next year, Soleimani plans to add furniture, accessories, and hardware to the mix. “We want to be a one-stop shop for the home,” he says, “with a real point of view and amazing service at prices that are revolutionary for the high level of quality.”
Soleimani is the fourth generation of his family to work in the rug industry. His parents own Mansour, a company with a Royal Warrant from the Prince of Wales. Soleimani was born in Iran and moved to London at age six. When he was 16, he set off for Los Angeles to open an American outpost of Mansour, which he ran while taking college-level business courses at night. He began designing his own pieces and created the Mansour Modern line of high-end contemporary rugs, with patterns by such top names as Michael S. Smith and Victoria Hagan. In 2010, he launched the Ben Soleimani Collection of rugs for RH, Restoration Hardware. “I’ve always liked things simple and not cluttered,” he says. “I was the kind of kid whose toys were always lined up and parked in a corner.”
That same clean approach applies to the duplex he bought five years ago in London, where he spends most of his time. Situated near St. James’s Palace and next to Green Park, the three-bedroom apartment was designed with the help of Waldo Fernandez, who also worked on Soleimani’s Los Angeles home. In the living room, paintings from Rob Pruitt’s Panda series mix with club chairs in the style of Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann. A colorful artwork by Günther Förg hangs in the dining room—at least for now. Soleimani likes to move things around every so often because, as he puts it, “a trained eye needs to be exercised all the time.”
He also takes the idea of exercise more literally: An avid polo player since he was in his 20s, he competes in matches in such places as England, Argentina, and California. His athletic pursuits mirror his aesthetic ones. “With both, I’m all in,” he says. “It’s not something I do halfway. I don’t think I know how to do things halfway in my life.”
This story originally appeared in the May 2019 issue of ELLE Decor.