Style Pick: Kyle Bunting

bunting cowhide rugs austin

10,000 and Counting

Austin-made Bunting cowhide rugs are making their mark


by M.M. Adjarian

Austin Rug Designer Kyle Bunting’s father loved to work with his hands. In his Dallas garage, Jim Bunting experimented with different ways of putting together pieces of cowhide without stitching. By the late ‘70s, he had created the first seamless cowhide rug.

The rugs themselves are all made from imported, premium quality hair-on-leather cowhides. The colors range from naturally occurring browns, whites and blacks to specially dyed versions prepared by master tanners in Italy.

Word of his singularly beautiful work spread. Soon the elder Bunting received commissions to create one-of-a-kind rugs, tabletops, wall hangings and other home décor pieces, all made from cowhide. Twenty-five years later, his entrepreneur son Kyle asked Jim for his tools so he could take over the business.

“I’d caught the design bug and was doing a lot of interior design and decorative work in real estate,” Kyle explains. “Then one night, I woke with an idea to take what Dad had done and do things a little differently.”

Sixteen years later Kyle Bunting has completely transformed the pastime that, according to family legend, put him and his brother through The University of Texas. Bunting rugs are now at the heart of a global brand whose adherents include Kim Kardashian, Kris Jenner and Vogue.

Yet Kyle has remained adamant that his company remain local. “Any other company that makes hide rugs might put the pieces together in Argentina or Italy,” he says. “We do it here in Austin.”

kyle bunting austin rugs

Part of the company’s international appeal stems from Bunting’s commitment to collaborating with designers and artists from around the world. This year, the company has worked with such luminaries as Nigerian-born multi-media artist Abidemi, New York-based interior designer Amy Lau and L.A. street artist Spencer Mar Guilburt.

Three collections have emerged from these collaborations. Element, created with Abidemi, expresses the theme of unity in chaos. Prisma, created with Lau, hearkens back to the Op Art movement of the 1960s. A third in-progress collection, This Means Mar, highlights Guilburt’s bold color schemes and exuberant curves.

The rugs themselves are all made from imported, premium quality hair-on-leather cowhides. The colors range from naturally occurring browns, whites and blacks to specially dyed versions prepared by master tanners in Italy.

To date Kyle Bunting and his team of artisans have created more than 10,000 opulently bespoke rugs. Yet despite the high volume of production, Kyle still sees his company as a studio that seeks to honor Jim Bunting’s original vision.

“Custom work is about introducing something new and unique that the world has never seen before,” he says, the pride in his voice as Texan as his blue jean shirt.

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Kyle Bunting

Monday-Friday: 8:30am-5:30pm
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1340 Airport Commerce Dr. #325
Austin, TX 78741
(512) 264-1148

kylebunting.com
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Read more from the Architecture Issue | October 2017


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