Wallpaper* AfghanMade celebrates traditional craft and exquisite carpets by international designers

A big wall over something is drawn
Installation view of the 'Wallpaper* AfghanMade' exhibition at Designjunction, on show as part of this year's London Design Festival.
(Image credit: Jamie McGregor Smith)

Afghan rug designs have remained largely unchanged since the 19th century, yet years of war and isolation have left Afghans utterly lacking the facilities to produce them - not to mention totally out of touch with changing market trends.

AfghanMade Carpets (opens in new tab) was set up in 2006 by the American Task Force for Business Stability Operations to help develop the country’s indigenous industries and is slowly bringing the country up to speed with contemporary production techniques. This year representatives from AfghanMade Carpets flew over with a portfolio of contemporary designs and a delegation of European and American carpet brands for a project that culminates this week.

The project challenged local craftsmen to reproduce lines, shapes and concepts completely new to them. The concept so appealed to us that when AfghanMade Carpets approached Wallpaper* to be part of the exhibition showcasing the results, presented at Designjunction this week as part of the the London Design Festival, we jumped at the chance.

The exhibition unveils the finest carpets to emerge from the Afghan looms. Aside from curating and designing the sculptural wooden display forms, Wallpaper* also commissioned a rug of our own, working with Christopher Farr and the Danish-Italian design duo GamFratesi. The collaborative piece, called ’Platonism’ and inspired by Plato’s insistence on the existence of abstract objects, will be displayed alongside two rugs produced for the exhibition under the Christopher Farr label.

Other works include a modular design by Giulio Iacchetti for Nodus; an ABC Italia design by Giacomo Barzaghi; a Martí Guixé design for Nanimarquina; and Fort Street Studio’s collaborations with Brad Davis and Janis Provisor.

Meanwhile AfghanMade Carpets has already provided two washing facilities for carpetmakers in Kabul and Mazar-e-Sharif and the Afghan Ministry of Commerce and Industry is working to establish a chemical factory in Kabul to provide makers with new ingredients. The aim is to allow the country to be independent in all stages of production and export.

Afghan carpets made of rugs

AfghanMade Carpets - set up in 2006 to help develop the Afghanistan's indigenous industries - enlisted American and European carpet brands for a showcase of rugs produced by Afghan master weavers.

(Image credit: Jamie McGregor Smith)

Sculptural wooden display forms

Aside from curating and designing the sculptural wooden display forms, Wallpaper* also commissioned a rug of our own, working with Christopher Farr and the Danish-Italian design duo GamFratesi. The collaborative piece (pictured right), called 'Platonism', is inspired by Plato's insistence on the existence of abstract objects. 

(Image credit: Jamie McGregor Smith)

It looks like big poster paper where something is drawn

Other works include Fort Street Studio's collaboration (left) with Brad Davis and Janis Provisor; an ABC Italia design (right) by Giacomo Barzaghi; a modular design by Giulio Iacchetti for Nodus; and a Martí Guixé design for Nanimarquina. 

(Image credit: Jamie McGregor Smith)

Three cultural images shown on the wall

The exhibition unveils the finest carpets to emerge from the Afghan looms.

(Image credit: Jamie McGregor Smith)

Honeycombs on the wall

A modular design by Giulio Iacchetti for Nodus.

(Image credit: Jamie McGregor Smith)

Honeycomb structure with home model

Giulio Iacchetti's 'Paese mio' (or 'My Country') rug is a poetic representation of every home in any country, taking its colour palette from Afghanistan's arid desertscape.

(Image credit: Jamie McGregor Smith)

Afghan project work in progress

The project challenged local Aghan craftsmen to reproduce lines, shapes and concepts completely new to them. 

(Image credit: Jamie McGregor Smith)

Afghan people carrying carpet

The AfghanMade carpet project is providing the facilities to make Afghanistan self-sufficient in all aspects of production. 

(Image credit: Tina Hager)

Carpet is made by an Afghan worker

Worker finishing 'Paseo Mio' by Giulio Iacchetti for Nodus at the Tamweer carpet factory in Kabul. 

(Image credit: Tina Hager)

Round type of carpet

'Organic Fractals', by Michael Young.

(Image credit: Tina Hager)

ADDRESS

Designjunction (opens in new tab)
The Sorting Office
21-31 New Oxford Street
London WC1A 1BA

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Rosa Bertoli was born in Udine, Italy, and now lives in London. Since 2014, she has been the Design Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees design content for the print and online editions, as well as special editorial projects. Through her role at Wallpaper*, she has written extensively about all areas of design. Rosa has been speaker and moderator for various design talks and conferences including London Craft Week, Maison & Objet, The Italian Cultural Institute (London), Clippings, Zaha Hadid Design, Kartell and Frieze Art Fair. Rosa has been on judging panels for the Chart Architecture Award, the Dutch Design Awards and the DesignGuild Marks. She has written for numerous English and Italian language publications, and worked as a content and communication consultant for fashion and design brands.