Stanley Tigerman and Margaret McCurry of Chicago firm Tigerman McCurry Architects, along with four other internationally renowned architects, recently traded in their usual blueprints for designs of a different sort for local non-profit Arzu Studio Hope. The group sources and sells rugs for rural Afghan women weavers and for its latest collection it enlisted Tigerman, McCurry, and other architects, to offer their visions with ten original rug designs. Curbed Contributor Gwendolyn Purdom chatted with Arzu Vice President and Creative & Technical Director Angela Attento about the uniquely architectural undertaking:
Curbed: How did the idea for this collection come about?
Stanley Tigerman and Margaret McCurry are fans of Arzu and through various good works know our founder, Connie Duckworth. Stanley and Margaret put together some designs for us and once they learned of Zaha Hadid's previous involvement with Arzu, Stanley suggested he recruit some of his other friends to do a collection. After a few phone calls we had an incredible roster - all of them willing and excited to be part of something so special.
Curbed: How would you say these architects' design aesthetics came through in their rugs?
I spoke with each architect and explained the process of making a hand knotted rug. I explained where the women worked, the Afghan tradition of weaving; how we dye our wool; how we graph the design; how each piece is finished, etc. Within weeks of that first phone call I had each architect's design and was amazed by how each architect intrinsically understood the medium and designed a piece that could stay true to their vision throughout the entire process.
Curbed: You're based in Chicago, a city known for its architecture, and two of the featured architects who participated in this project are Chicago-based as well. Has the opportunity to tap Chicagoans' passion for all things architecture played any role in getting this project off the ground – or boosted sales at all from what you can tell?
Stanley Tigerman and Margaret McCurry are based in Chicago - and it's no wonder. This is a city that reveres architecture. Thanks to Stanley and Margaret, we got an incredible amount of local support. Stanley TIgerman is a hero in Chicago and his name carried a lot of weight - it opened doors to museum directors and others who were interested in helping out. And Margaret McCurry is fantastically active in Chicago's design world and turned us on to and got us into many events and exhibitions.