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Top architects designing rugs for nonprofit group

LOS ANGELES — World famous architects including Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, Michael Graves and Robert A.M. Stern are trying their hand at rug design to help a nonprofit organization, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Arzu Studio Hope, a U.S.-based nonprofit, is having the rugs produced by skilled female weavers in the poverty-stricken province of Bamyan, Afghanistan.

"The project shows the marriage of iconic global design and extreme authenticity in craftsmanship," Connie Duckworth, founder of Arzu Studio Hope, told the Times. "It's a product with a purpose. It's not just about the name of the architect. It's also about poverty alleviation and the connection between individuals from so far away."

The organization is selling 10 rugs in what it calls the Masters Collection. Each rug takes six to nine months to produce and is sold as a numbered piece. Prices start at $70 per square foot with the smallest 5 by 7 rug selling for around $3,500.

They are sold to architects, designers and corporations through Coalesse, a division of Steelcase, and to individual consumers directly by Arzu Studio Hope.

Duckworth, who was the first female sales and trading partner at Goldman Sachs, founded Arzu Studio Hope in 2004 after witnessing life in Afghanistan.

"Today, we employ 700 people in an area that looks like the moon," she told the Times.

Click here to see photos of the rugs on the Los Angeles Times website.

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