Since very young I had a fascination for craft design. I did many art collages as kid for my friends and family. During my architecture studies in the early 90’s I loved to make all these great building models using cardboard and all kind of materials we could find. I realised later on that I had developed many skills (like patience, discipline) by working with my hands on that models.

With the boom of the computers (from 1995) I dug in the drawing computer softwares, becoming an expert in using them, and like many other workmates, I started to dream in autocad (drawing software) commands. Of course it was fascinating the way we could get things done, in one time having the drawings prepared to be printed in different scales. It was amazing!

When I moved to the Netherlands in 2002 I had time to reflect about my way of working and coming from this period of having worked so much with computers I needed to recover the balance  of working with my hands, with softwares, with other people (and not only architects) and even to find a body-mind balance in my life! In that time I re-started my craft activities and I re-starter to dance (Tango) and to practice more yoga. The results were amazing, because I also questioned my whole lifestyle and I committed myself to work for my dream in life.

What has all this to do with craft design? Within this context I created ‘the Maga lamp’

The Maga lamp is part of a series of objects I designed in 2002. It was an experiment based on designing and making these objects at home, with materials and tools I had at hand reach. The Maga lamp is made out of reuse magazine paper and cardboard. By using one kind of material (paper) and organic glue, the product was able to be disposal in the compost bin (following cradle to cradle principles).

I wanted to couple in this object the gains for the environment by reusing materials and not buying a ‘made in china’ lamp, and the therapeutic benefits of working (doing a design) with your hands.

I was of course confronted by many with the word ‘time’. The first thing people said was: I don’t have time to do something with my hands. For that reason I made a comparison between the time and money used by making the Maga lamp or going to buy one lamp at Ikea for instance. The results were surprising. It was a funny ingredient we used later in presentations (See the comparison in the images above).

This journey through the benefits of craft design, the consideration for the environment (reusing materials), the crisis in my role as professional, coupled to the culture differences I experienced when I came to the Netherlands (the lack of diversity in the social contacts, much individualism), were the main elements for the development of the strategy van Recycling tot Redesign (and later  Desycling). Through this strategy we proposed and achieved social cohesion in neighbourhoods by creating craft designs together with citizens, transferring design knowledge, involving other social local actors (like schools, social workers) to create awareness in an unaware way.

I had the pleasure later on to co-design many other craft products conceived to be made by participants (in a DIY way), together with my partner Gabriela and many other great designers, we were able to conceived more than 70 products lines within different project of the Desycling strategy.

Check as well: Desycling products.