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Empowering Refugees Through Art

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Milan Design Week’s Fuorisalone is known for showcasing not just innovative products, but also initiatives with profound social impact. This year, the spotlight shines on “Making Knots,” a textiles installation at the new Le Stanze showroom. Conceived by Gianpaolo Venier of OTTO Studio, this project features the creative contributions of Afghan and Syrian refugee women, highlighting their skills and cultural heritage.

Art design takes center stage as these women weave intricate patterns, transforming yarns into pom poms, braids, and ultimately upholstery for furnishing accessories. The installation, presented alongside Giorgio Biscaro’s contribution, supports UNHCR and its MADE51 initiative. MADE51 aims to empower refugee artisans by providing opportunities for economic autonomy and amplifying their stories.

Refugee artisans face numerous challenges in accessing global markets. UNHCR’s MADE51 program addresses this by connecting skilled artisans with businesses. Today, MADE51 involves around 4,000 artisans in 23 countries, with a focus on empowering women.

“Making Knots” not only showcases the creativity and craftsmanship of these artisans but also provides a platform for them to reach a wider audience. The installation features a range of products, including an ADJ Style vase and a colorful wallpaper, all produced with the help of SpaghettiWall. The project aims to raise funds for the MADE51 project through donations and the auction of unique customized pieces.

The project exemplifies the power of art design to create positive change. By bridging the gap between creativity and social responsibility, “Making Knots” highlights the resilience and talent of refugee artisans. It also emphasizes the role of design in fostering economic empowerment and cultural preservation.

As visitors explore the Fuorisalone, they are invited to not only admire the beauty of the installation but also to support the cause. Through donations and participation in the auction, everyone can play a part in empowering these talented artisans and preserving their cultural heritage.

Art design is not just about aesthetics; it’s about making a meaningful impact. “Making Knots” is a testament to the transformative power of design and its ability to bring about positive change in the world.

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