Refugees Company for Crafts and Design

20 Mar – 6 Apr 2015

Five young men – refugees from West African countries – produce high quality design objects in a Kreuzberg design manufacture: they are committed to build a basis for their future.

They are supported by designers, pedagogues and a lot of voluntary helpers. Together they keep a lively production space, where knowledge about wood-working, design and creation of social processes enter a creative exchange.

The Werkbundarchiv – Museum der Dinge presents the production of the young furniture makers and refers to the do-it-yourself furniture program “Autoprogettazione” of the Italian Designer Enzo Mari and his vision of a democratized design.

The furniture exhibited consequently follows the maxim of ethical design from which Enzo Mari’s models for a different society result. This corresponds to the experiences of the refugees: with a regard for the essential they integrate fragments of their involuntary journey to Europe and enrich functionality by stories. Old ship planks from Lampedusa are included into the furniture as messengers of their flight history: scant, functional and at the same time poetic and fierce.

At the same time the five young designers show objects and drawings – little witnesses of their encounter with old Berlin people, war refugees themselves. They exchanged their experience in a workshop of the CUCULA Education Program.

The CUCULA experiment has already roused great attention. The furniture maker team traveled to the Milan design fair in autumn 2014, where they had the possibility to present their special design production as a self-assured StartUp and as a possible space for refugees. More than 330 furniture orders were received.


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