Merida Launches Thrive Youth Designed Natural Fiber Rugs

Today, Merida Home launched the new Thrive Collection of wool area rugs created in partnership with youth designers from Artists For Humanity (AFH). The three distinctive designs, which are made in Fall River, MA, will be on display at the Architectural Digest Home Design Show in booth # M-111.

Thrive symbolizes Merida’s commitment to maintaining a vibrant arts community, preserving textile manufacturing in our home state, and sustaining a healthy environment.

Merida’s expert design team used an innovative new CAD program to translate the young artists’ designs, and researched color and design trends to match the collection to current consumer preferences.

The collection is based on three designs submitted by AFH youth apprentices to Merida’s Tufted Rug Design Contest last fall. The contest challenged youth from AFH’s graphic design program to design sustainable textiles for Merida’s tufted area rug line. For inspiration, the participants were asked to think about what sustainability means to them as young people and as designers.

The final submissions were evaluated by a select panel of interior, graphic, and product designers who support the missions of both Merida and AFH. The designs were scored on a number of criteria, including clear expression of the contest’s sustainability theme, originality, color and style trends, and marketability.

“We have found amazing synergy with Artists For Humanity in our shared passions of art, design, sustainability, and social responsibility,” said Catherine Connolly, CEO of Merida. “I am truly impressed to see the maturity and creativity these talented young people have displayed in their designs.”

Susan Rodgerson, AFH executive and artistic director said, “AFH is thrilled to be partnering with Merida and giving our youth a real-world experience. This collaboration reinforces AFH’s mission to bridge economic, racial and social divisions by providing underserved youth with the keys to self-sufficiency through paid employment in the arts.”

Each Thrive design is available in two colors and may be ordered as a 5’x8’ area rug for $490 or an 8’x10’ area rug for $980 at 10% of the sale of each rug will be donated to AFH.

  • Flourish is a repeating kaleidoscope of petals that evokes a lush, vibrant garden. Our cyclical environment and the repetitious imagery of flames and leaves inspired designer Kelsey Arbona to think about the infinite nature of patterns, leading her to this design.
  • Micro is a landscape of large, imperfect shapes that paradoxically reflects a tiny, delicate, and highly structured part of our world. Designer Alland Torchon wanted to create something to remind us that our planet is as fragile as it is nurturing. Although this rug is made to be walked on, it reminds us to tread lightly on the earth.
  • Pavo draws its name from the genus of the peacock, which is clearly the inspiration for this design by Massiel Grullon. Animal-inspired prints represent pride and natural beauty, and call to mind the other living things that we share our planet with.

Merida, a designer of sustainable natural fiber textiles, and AFH, a nonprofit that works with teens to provide paid employment in the arts, developed the rug design contest out of both organizations’ desire to combine the creativity and enthusiasm of the young AFH designers with Merida’s expertise in sustainable textile design to create beautiful, inspiring products with a compelling story.

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