, a 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit founded to empower Afghan women by providing fair-labor, artisan-based employment, has launched a new line in collaboration with Coalesse. Through the to-the-trade distribution partnership, Coalesse will offer the Arzu Master's Collection, a limited-edition, custom-order-only selection of rugs designed by six renowned architects: Frank Gehry, Michael Graves, Zaha Hadid, Margaret McCurry, Robert A.M. Stern, and Stanley Tigerman.
The ten rugs can also function wall hangings. Each rug is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity, artist statement, design specification card, and the artisan's story
Michael Graves' Arabesque 1 (top) and Arabesque 2 (above) are designed as compositions that have no horizon line, according to the architect. "In other words, it has no up and no down; all sides are up and all sides are down, so that there is balance in the composition. I do this with the intention that when a person walks into the room and sees the rug from a number of viewpoints; they still feel the rug is oriented properly."
Frank Gehry's aptly named Puzz is inspired by puzzle-like pieces he designed for a pop-up store: "Our process for developing the rug graphic was similar to how we approach architecture," says Gehry. "We began by looking at our sculptural studies for a pop-up store that was composed of large curved puzzle pieces. The challenge was how to translate a three-dimensional object into a two-dimensional graphic. Through a series of back and forth investigations, we refined the two-dimensional graphics based upon the constraints of traditional rug making while still maintaining the dynamism of the three-dimensional objects."
Margaret McCurry's Simeon I (pictured) and Simeon II designs are based on abstractions of tribal symbols. She explains that "magnifying the size of an abstractly conceived tribal symbol allows one to perceive the shapes alternately as simple geometric patterns with all their associational ancestry, or, on another architectural level, to imagine the images as remnants of an ancient desert dwelling or fortification. And then on a strictly sensual level the subtle stri© of the wool strands attests not only to the hand- loomed quality of the rugs, but to the individuality of their wooly coated contributors."
In her characteristic style, Zaha Hadid's ZH in black and white (pictured) and ZH in pink and black depict a seamless domestic environment as a series of cuts through time and space. "One of the things I feel confident in saying we can do is bring some excitement, and challenges, to people's lives," says Hadid. "We want them to be able to embrace the unexpected."
For his Volute rug, Robert A.M. Stern drew inspiration from classical design. "The volutes of an Ionic capital interweave with unfurling tendrils to create a climbing, spinning grapevine that is at once geometric and botanical, modern and classical," says Stern.
Like McCurry, Stanley Tigerman was inspired by tribal patterning, creating two designs for the collection: Abrahamic Tribal I (pictured) and Abrahamic Tribal II, which evoke tribal customs of the 12th century. "Geometric patterning has a long and distinguished tradition," says Tigerman. "That [these rugs] are woven by Afghan women is a natural part of that tradition."
Each rug stays true to traditional rug-making techniques by using natural materials, like madder root, walnut husks, and pomegranate in the hand-dying process. The rugs range from 120 to 275 knots per square inch following either Turkish or Persian knot patterns.
Click here to contact Coalesse about the collection.
About the Manufacturer: Coalesse is an award-winning brand of furnishings that expresses the new freedom of work. It is part of the rapidly growing category the company calls Crossover. The crossovers are homes and offices, meeting rooms and social spaces, private retreats and public places-the fluid intersections of work and life where boundaries are collapsing and creativity is roaming. Architects and designers recommend Coalesse when clients want inspiring spaces to delight employees and impress visitors. For end-user customers, Coalesse helps graciously integrate work and the rest of life.