GAN WOMEN UNIT
Our GAN Women Unit was born in 2010, when development for the BANDAS collection had just begun, led by renowned designer Patricia Urquiola. At that time, Mapi Millet, director of GAN, learned of a group of women who had lost their jobs after the local workshops that employed them had shut down. She had been thinking for some time about how to support a community that has contributed so much to the growth of GAN, and she knew that she wanted to do it through women, so it was clear that this was the perfect opportunity. She brought to Urquiola her idea of collaborating with this group of women in the manufacture of her new BANDAS collection, and the popular designer accepted enthusiastically. Between the two of them, they looked for a way of adapting the design to the skills of the artisans, to achieve a unique and innovative product, and the idea of embroidered rugs arose.
Getting started took time. Urquiola adapted her design to allow women to reconcile their work-life with their family obligations. The pieces had to be rolled up easily and allow the women to work on them while sitting down, with their work on their laps, so each could not be more than 60cm (24”) wide. But what at first seemed like a limitation ended up becoming a possibility: this is how the idea of modular rugs was born, which has made BANDAS a complete success.
This resounding success encouraged GAN to continue using these women’s skills in its products, and thus increase the number of women who benefit from this project.
The embroidery technique has become the protagonist and is a valuable tool of the program, however other techniques such as crochet and needlepoint have been added to the repertoire. GAN collections thus benefit from the traditional knowledge of these artisans, who, in return, receive a fair wage and learn to work in structured environments.
After Urquiola, numerous designers have joined the project: Claire Anne O’Brien with her KNITTED STOOLS, Sandra Figuerola with RUSTIC CHIC, Neri & Hu with their LAN, and Raw Edges with Backstitch. They are all very diverse authors, but they all have in common a passion for handmade objects, a restless desire to research new techniques and to experiment, broadening the limits of their creations.