Now we would like to turn the focus onto design being created by refugees themselves.
Following the ancient adage of “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime,” a number of designers and activists have mobilized for the purpose of aiding refugee communities.
In June 2016, the Ambassador Chair, designed by German label CUCULA (also called Refugees Company for Crafts and Design, www.cucula.org), was accepted into the Vitra Design Museum collection. At the CUCULA refugee workshop, furniture is constructed following the designs of Italian modernist Enzo Mari’s Autoprogettazione (1974) series; Mari has not only allowed CUCULA to use his designs, but has also authorized the group to develop the designs further.
Photo: Martta Leskelä
We recently came upon an intriguing project from Finland called “Ragamuf”, founded by designer Tuula Pöyhönen and entrepreneur Martta Leskelä. Ragamuf employs Syrian women currently living in Turkey by having them produce large, colorful rugs that can be used to cover a chair or lounger, thereby giving new life to well-worn or unsightly furniture.