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Iconic Custom Rugs: The Shining Carpet in The Overlook Hotel

Want to bring a little touch of madness to your home?

The Shining has become a cult classic film that everyone recognizes. And the Overlook Hotel’s hexagonal patterned carpet has become a star in its own right. Such an icon is it, that many wish they could have their very own version in their homes.

The Shining Carpet

Read on to learn all about this iconic carpet and where to find The Shining Carpet to treasure in your home.

A Brief Reminder About The Shining

Plagued by writer’s block that won’t go away, we meet Jack Torrance. He’s an aspiring author and recovering alcoholic. He takes Wendy (his wife), and their gifted son Danny up into Colorado’s Overlook Hotel. He’s taken up the position of the out-of-season caretaker.

Coming to the end of the season, the manager shows Jack the grand tour as the last guests leave. The chef, Mr. Hallorann, speaks with Danny about his psychic abilities. Or “The Shining”. He warns the child about the abandoned rooms, and the one-room that’s off-limits — room 237.

Instead of curing the writer’s block, Jack begins to lose his mind. The hotel becomes a prison full of weird visions and strange happenings. When the voices inside Jack’s head start asking for a sacrifice, can he deliver? Is he actually capable of murder?

The Shining Carpet is Born

In several key scenes in Kubrick’s 1980 film, the Overlook carpet (seen in the hotel’s corridor) is a major feature. One sees young Danny on his tricycle in his first, unnerving encounter with the famous room 237.
Overlook Hotel Carpet with Danny on Bike

The Shining carpet features dynamic red, brown, and orange colorways. Worked into a hypnotic, mesmerizing pattern, it almost leaps out through the screen. When looking at this standout design, it’s easy to see why it became the most icon carpet in film history.

For it’s exterior, they filmed at The Timberline Lodge, located at Mt. Hood in Oregon, USA. They filmed the interior were all film sets, made in Elstree Studios. But they took their influence from the inside of the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite.

As with all things Kubrick, the carpet has been the target of a great amount of analysis (and conspiracy!) over the years. It’s impossible to imagine that the known perfectionist picked it on a whim. It’s such a distinct carpet.

The Prince of Pattern — David Hicks

So much is out there, written and regurgitated, about Kubrick. But finding the source of the famous carpet was not an easy task. Official Kubrick researchers went so far as to check the production notes for the film. But there was no record of the order, delivery, or even visual reference to this carpet. But, it’s now confirmed that David Hicks is the designer behind this iconic carpet. Its design is actually called “Hicks’ Hexagon”.

David Hicks (born 1928) has gone down as one of the best and most inspiring interior designers in modern history. His designs were a fusion of color and pattern, in both historical and contemporary styles. Not only have they influenced other interior designers, but also the fashion world.

Early clients include a mixture of media, fashion icons, and aristocracy:

  • Helena Rubinstein
  • King Fahd of Saudi Arabia
  • Jackie Kennedy

In 1960, Hicks married Lady Pamela Mountbatten, opening up many doors. He went on to help redesign the interior of Windsor Castle. He also decorated Prince Charles’ and Princess Anne’s rooms in Buckingham Palace.

The first patterned carpets and fabrics Hicks designed came in 1963. It came from the fact that he couldn’t find anything that suited his tastes. These styles came from a dynamic use of color and a preference for bold, punchy patterns.

It’s clear that this vivid design sense came from his personality. In its obituary for Hicks, The New York Times, remembered a temperament that went from apoplectic rage to disarming charm.

But, we know that Hicks didn’t collaborate with the filming of The Shining. “Hicks’ Hexagon” carpets were already in production in the 1960s, well before production started in 1978.

The carpet we see in the film was either bought from this stock or it was a copy made for the film. This has been confirmed by Hicks’ son, Ashley. He states that Hicks only ever worked one movie, Richard Lester’s Petulia.

Why was the Shining Pattern Chosen?

The carpet wasn’t designed to display Kubrick’s symbolic themes for The Shining. But, Kubrick did pick it out. So, why did he choose this particular carpet for his film?

Kubrick is famous for his enigmatic symbolism. It’s very unlikely anyone will actually ever know the main reason he chose this pattern. But, there are a few theories out there that are pretty much accepted by most fans.

  1. The simple explanation. The vivid yet dark pattern is almost mesmerizing. It’s got a very unnerving presence about it which adds this sense of anxiety about what’s to come.
  2. The pattern is perfect for Kubrick’s symmetrical “one-point perspective” framing. The pattern allowed Kubrick to create a dramatic feel of perspective. This pattern also tricks the mind into lengthening the corridor, helping give the Overlook Hotel a labyrinthian feel.
  3. It puts the ‘hex’ in hexagon. Hex means a malicious wish or a curse. It is the perfect symbol to represent the evil that is lurking inside the hotel.
  4. The fourth is because this strong pattern gives a perfect frame of reference for moving Danny’s position between the shots. If you look, Danny has subtle movement changes. This makes the audience question their memory, did he move or was he always there? It builds up this feeling of unease because they cannot trust what they’re seeing. Or themselves.

A Piece of The Overlook Carpet In Your Own Home

The Overlook Hotel carpet wasn’t just chosen for The Shining because Kubrick liked the look of it. It has some serious design credentials. The symbolism of the piece is so strong that film buffs still argue over its use to this day – and it is hard to tell whether this was part of Kubrick’s artistic plan, or the carpet has taken on a life of its own.

 

If you want to bring this piece of cinematic history into your home, you can find the Overlook Hotel carpet available in multiple sizes at Rug Rats. Having one of the best, and most disturbing, piece of interior décor to ever come out of Hollywood is a great talking point, and a great way to show your appreciation for this cult classic.

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About Sandy Henderson

Sandy Henderson is owner of Rug Rats Fine Carpet and Rugs, a small town business with a national presence. Sandy was drawn to materials and design and wanted to explore how we can take charge of the beauty and happiness of our own homes. She earned a degree in Clothing and Textiles, from historic Longwood College (founded over two hundred years ago as a teachers’ college in Farmville, Virginia). Sandy now draws on her 30 years in the custom rug business to help clients all over the US with their custom & logo rug decisions.

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