Worldly Goods, T Design Fall 2008


Three years ago, the New York designer Stephen Burks traveled to South Africa to work with a group of artisans known for their mosaic-tiled portraits of Nelson Mandela. His goal was to help them make vases and bowls for a new eco-conscious line by Cappellini. Next he headed to Australia to work with Aborigine artists for a Nature Conservancy project, which has enlisted designers, including Hella Jongerius and Ted Muehling, to scout indigenous materials and processes from preserves in countries like Bolivia and Micronesia. Carbon impact notwithstanding, such far-flung collaborations have become increasingly popular among designers who are wary of the perils of mass-market globalism, and who see both ecological and economic benefits in handcrafted goods. Here are six designers who are finding inspiration outside the borders of industrial production…

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