Artecnica co-founder Enrico Bressan is still guided by his: collaboration between artisan, designer, and distributor is what works. Because of his adherence to this three-part equation, Artecnica is one of the most sought after companies in the marketplace. Their latest program, “Design with a Conscience,” has boosted their already stratospheric reputation.
Artecnica describes the program: “Design With Conscience projects employ production methods that are humane and environmentally friendly. We denounce child labor, promote safe, toxic free environments and use purchasing criteria that prevent labor and environmental exploitation. Our vision is to promote self-sustaining communities of skilled artisans in underdeveloped countries.”
Good vision. But what Artecnica has created with that vision is spectacular. Bressan identified some of the best designers in the world, who happen to share his values. The list includes Toord Boontje, Emma Woffenden, Stephen Burks, Hella Jongerius, and the Estudio Campana. Each designer has traveled to a chosen artisan community to work directly with the artisans to understand their skills and resources, and has then designed an artisanal product. The combined talents and philosophies of designers and artisans bring forth products which are sustainable and commercial. And sucessful.
Design With Conscience’s origins are grounded in several experiences. The European upbringing of co-founder, Enrico Bressan, instilled a deep rooted sensitivity to environmental issues and our impact on the planet. Artecnica’s location in California, a leader in environmental regulations and a center of sustainable design in architecture and product, further enforced the need to integrate green and social thinking into products. Top notch organizations also influenced the projects. The Design Academy at Eindhoven highlighted the humanitarian aspect of design. Aid to Artisans and British Craft Council were a guide for principled interaction on the artisan level.
An extremely supportive press following has made “Design With Conscience” a succéss d’éstime. The press sees Artecnica as a leader in combining design, purpose, and beauty – as a factor in pushing design forward. Artecnica’s high-end retail partners have been more skeptical, as they have not traditionally seen craft as high design. But with partners like the four designers Artecnica has involved so far, the market is sitting up and taking notice. Comments Bressan: It is unfortunate that well designed hand made products are not price-accessible to the broader market. That is something that we all need to work towards. Convincing artisans not to abandon their hand traditions, not to move to mechanized production and to build business models to reach critical success – this is where we need to focus. Design with Conscience is on its way to achieving that.
Artecnica's DESIGN WITH CONSCIENCE projects include:
Beads & Pieces
A four-piece ceramic collection designed by Hella Jongerius and handcrafted by artisans located in the primary coca leaf growing region of Peru. It is made primarily of black ceramic, a traditional Peruvian pottery technique, and is embellished with delicate pink beading incorporating some Shipibo motifs.
Since its launch, tranSglass® has become one of Artecnica’s best-selling items. With its recycled material and sleek, fluid design, tranSglass® conveys a positive attitude towards the environment. Artecnica collaborated with Guatemalan craftsmen to bring Emma Woffenden and Tord Boontje’s designs to the market and create new jobs and improved incomes for the Guatemala community.
Come Rain Come Shine
Tord Boontje’s lyrical reinterpretation of the chandelier is produced through Coopa-Roca, a women’s cooperative based in Rio de Janeiro’s largest shantytown. By using their homes as workshops, cooperative members earn a living while tending to their children and other domestic responsibilities. In addition to extending livelihood opportunities, Coopa-Roca’s commitment to world-class craftwork has enhanced the self-esteem of women in this impoverished neighborhood.
TaTu, a brilliant steel wire modular furniture collection, meshes traditional with urbane. And so do its origins. Celebrated designer Stephen Burks worked side by side with Willard Musarurwa of Feeling Africa in his South Africa workshop to convert wire animal souvenirs sold by the side of the road into this collection.
An innovative container crafted from a repurposed scooter tire and natural wicker designed by Estudio Campana and handcrafted by skilled artisans from rural Vietnam. Through Vietnamese non-profit organization Craft Link, Artecnica collaborated with Hai Tai rattan weavers and Hmong women weavers to create each piece. Disadvantaged Vietnamese youths were also enlisted to assemble a tote for each product, providing them with artisan training and a framework by which they could establish sustainable livelihoods.
Artecnica’s mission is to elevate the purpose and value of everyday objects by using design to enchant, inspire and transform through the powerful tools of art and technology. Art represents the most personal expression of our design language, technology our unique application of materials, fabrication methods and techniques.
ENCHANT: the unusual aesthetics of the object visually captivate the EYE of the viewer.
INSPIRE: an emotional attachment to the object develops while experiencing awe and stimulation, filling the HEART.
TRANSFORM: excited and involved, the viewer’s intellectual analysis evolves attitudes toward living environments, and ultimately life itself, intertwining the BRAIN.
For more information about Artecnica, visit www.artecnicainc.com.