Richard Hutten at Design Miami Basel is the Daily Pic by Blake Gopnik

"Playing with Tradition," a recent carpet by Richard Hutten (Photo by Lucy Hogg)

In the latest issue of Newsweek, and on the Daily Beast, I am presenting designers from six countries whose work impresses me for its brainy, non-Jetsons esthetic. Here's the thing, though: If I hadn't decided to spread my favors equally among nations, I could easily have gone with half a dozen – or several dozen – Dutch designers. This carpet, spotted at today's preview of the deluxe design fair held in Basel, Switzerland, is by Richard Hutten, who helped launched Holland's unique tradition of conceptual furnishings, almost two decades ago. Hutten's carpet – and it's a real one, hand-knotted in India and now on view in the Priveekollektie booth – starts out with a traditional pattern. At a certain point, however, it looks as though Hutten has taken a single row of "pixels" and smeared them out across all subsequent rows, in a kind of abstractionist's gesture. That "digital" gesture is a reminder that weavings are the ancestor of today's computer-treated images. It also recalls several major works by contemporary artists, proving that Hutten has more in common with them than with many of his peers in design.

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