NODE might just be one of my favorite design projects of the last few years. Set up by the Irish illustrator Chris Haughton and the Nepal-based entrepreneur Akshay Sthapit, the project aims to connect international designers and illustrators with crafts-people in the developing world. Based on a belief that ‘trade not aid’ is the best solution to the poverty trap, NODE has started to make a series of fair-trade rugs with crafts-people at the Kumbeshwar Technical School in Kathmandu, Nepal.
At the moment they’re working on a collection for London’s Design Museum that features 18 hand-made rugs by 18 artists. They’ve got a fantastic array of talent involved including Sanna Annukka (above), Chris Haughton (also above), Geoff McFetridge, Jon Klassen, and many more. Launching on the 5th of March, the rugs will be for sale at theDesign Museum’s shop as well as online as part of Fair Trade Fortnight.
It’s a wonderful project and one that becomes even more special when you find out a bit more about the Kumbeshwar Technical School. Here, employees receive a fair wage and their work also supports an adult literacy and skills training program with 6,000 graduates, a school with 260 children and an orphanage with 25 children. In the video above you can get a great insight into how the rugs are crafted but you should also read a bit more about Kumbeshwar on their website here.
It’s wonderful to see a project like this and particularly one which raises awareness with designers of the possibilities in fair trade. If you’re in London during Fair Trade Fortnight make sure to try and head along to the Design Museum and maybe even pick up a rug! More details and even times can be found online here.