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3 Products That Stoke Demand For Global Artisans

  • <p><strong>[1] Puzz</strong> <br />
<u>From Arzu Studio Hope</u> <br />
For nine years, Chicago-based Arzu has employed Afghan women to weave hand-knotted rugs, training hundreds of craftspeople along the way. Now Arzu is shifting away from traditional patterns: The new Masters collection sourced designs from the likes of Michael Graves, Zaha Hadid, and Frank Gehry (whose design is shown here). <em>($12,000, <a href="http://arzustudiohope.org/default.aspx" target="_blank">arzustudiohope.org</a>)</em></p>
  • <p><strong>[2] Drawstring Lamp</strong>  <br />
<u>From Design Stories</u><br />
 After a fruitless search for small-scale manufacturers in their native Goeteborg, Sweden, Kerstin Sylwan and Jenny Stefansdotter found a match: a job-training organization run by the government that specializes in artisan workshops for unemployed Swedes. Plus, the lampshades are made from material donated by a nearby textile company. <em>($450, <a href="http://merry-go-round.se/" target="_blank">merry-go-round.se</a>)</em></p>
  • <p><strong>[3] Ikono Chair</strong>  <br />
<u>From Bernhardt</u> <br />
The American furniture company Bernhardt has become a champion of El Salvador's nascent design community. It began six years ago by sponsoring a design competition there; now it's also teaming up with a collective of local craftspeople and producers called <a href="http://www.thecarrotconcept.com/" target="_blank">Carrot Concept</a>, which helped make this chair. <em>($1,000, <a href="http://bernhardtdesign.com/" target="_blank">bernhardtdesign.com</a>)</em></p>
  • 01 /04

    [1] Puzz
    From Arzu Studio Hope
    For nine years, Chicago-based Arzu has employed Afghan women to weave hand-knotted rugs, training hundreds of craftspeople along the way. Now Arzu is shifting away from traditional patterns: The new Masters collection sourced designs from the likes of Michael Graves, Zaha Hadid, and Frank Gehry (whose design is shown here). ($12,000, arzustudiohope.org)

  • 02 /04

    [2] Drawstring Lamp
    From Design Stories
    After a fruitless search for small-scale manufacturers in their native Goeteborg, Sweden, Kerstin Sylwan and Jenny Stefansdotter found a match: a job-training organization run by the government that specializes in artisan workshops for unemployed Swedes. Plus, the lampshades are made from material donated by a nearby textile company. ($450, merry-go-round.se)

  • 03 /04

    [3] Ikono Chair
    From Bernhardt
    The American furniture company Bernhardt has become a champion of El Salvador's nascent design community. It began six years ago by sponsoring a design competition there; now it's also teaming up with a collective of local craftspeople and producers called Carrot Concept, which helped make this chair. ($1,000, bernhardtdesign.com)

  • 04 /04

When companies say they're sustainable, they're usually talking about the environment. But conscious consumers are also weighing social impact. These brands provide good jobs to artisans near and far, stoking a global market for their traditional skills.

A version of this article appeared in the September 2013 issue of Fast Company magazine.

Slideshow Credits: 01 / PHOTO BY JOEL STANS; PROP STYLING: PETER TRAN; 02 / PHOTO BY JOEL STANS; PROP STYLING: PETER TRAN; 03 / PHOTO BY JOEL STANS; PROP STYLING: PETER TRAN; 04 / PHOTO BY JOEL STANS; PROP STYLING: PETER TRAN;