Joe Doucet creates graphic rugs to promote equality for the transgender community
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Transcendence by Joe Doucet

Joe Doucet's graphic rugs celebrate America's transgender community

New York-based designer Joe Doucet has designed a collection of rugs bearing bold graphics, supporting the rights of transgender people living in the US.

Doucet and rug company Odabashian were already developing ideas for a collection last year when US president Donald Trump tweeted his plans to ban transgender people from serving in the military.

Transcendence by Joe Doucet

The announcement sparked the premise for Transcendence – a series of brightly coloured and patterned rugs intended to honour the country's transgender community.

"I wanted to do something quite meaningful and serve a larger purpose," said Doucet. "The rug project came to mind, but honestly didn't at first seem like a likely medium for support, and I certainly wanted to show proper respect."

"So rather than protest their discrimination, I wanted to celebrate their bravery," he added.

Transcendence by Joe Doucet

Doucet likens his rugs to large posters and has created four different designs. They include a striped yellow and blue version, which fragments in the middle along a diagonal split, and a white rug with a black circle emerging in the centre.

Colourful blocked grids in pink, red and orange hues form one design, while another is decorated with red speckles that increase in density to create a bolder hue against a turquoise backdrop.

Transcendence by Joe Doucet

"It is, in essence, a work of graphic design which is placed on the floor rather that a wall, but it serves as a large canvas which can be used to express an idea," said the designer, who previously created mirrors as a tribute to victims of Hurricane Sandy.

The rugs are all handcrafted by Odabashian, and the four designs are created using the company's different traditional techniques, which includes hand-tufting, kilim-knotting and Moroccan-knotting wool.

Doucet and Odabashian are donating part of the profits from the collection to American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), a national organisation that defends individual rights and liberties.

Transcendence by Joe Doucet

The initiative is similar to a recent project by British fashion house Burberry, which updated its classic tartan with rainbow-hued stripes in recognition of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

While designers are bolstering support for the LGBTQ+ communities, a recent survey revealed that the number of architects "out" at work is decreasing.

This forms part of wider issues with diversity that are still present among the creative industries.