Modernist designer Enzo Mari has given Berlin-based CUCULA the rights to use his Autoprogettazione furniture to raise funds for its refugee support programme – which is aimed at helping displaced persons become designers.
Autoprogettazione was created by Italian designer Mari in 1974 as a design guide to a collection of furniture that could be assembled from the most basic materials, using just a hammer and nails.
After hosting a workshop for refugees, CUCULA founder Sebastian Däschle contacted the designer who agreed to let the organisation recreate and sell his designs from the manual to raise funds for refugees.
The company’s educational programme aims to help refugees by teaching them to design and build furniture, and also offers general education, assistance with language skills, and legal advice.
Under Däschle’s guidance, five refugees from north Africa have now created limited-edition versions of Mari’s furniture.
Pieces were built using wood from refugee camp huts, as well as planks from boats used to travel to Lampedusa – an Italian island that serves as a European entry point.
CUCULA said: “This is how the young African furniture designers turn chaos and desolation into high-quality objects, which in their engaging aesthetic invite for a dialogue.
“They are ambassadors – ambassadors of their stories, for an attitude, for an idea.
“We want to offer real jobs for refugees and building up a company as an economical integration model,”
CUCULA, which is also known as the Refugees Company for Crafts and Design, was founded in 2014 in response to the issue of displaced persons seeking refuge in Europe – especially in Germany.
The company added: “The concept of the whole model is aiming to give refugees the real possibility to provide for their lives and to build up a future.”
Four pieces created by CUCULA designers will be shown at the Cologne Fine Art fair, which runs from 18 November to 22 November 2015. All revenue from chair sales will go back towards supporting the project.