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Social Enterprise Atelier. Ethics and creativity to female labor insertion.

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This project  took part in Florence, Italy,  in which I worked on as Designer and Consultant too. It was an Esprit tre project funded by Regione Toscana and Unione Europea.

In the beginning of 2013, I was invited by the Atelier cooperative to run a project aiming to create a new line of production for their collection. Atelier cooperative is a tailoring workshop, based in Florence, that works with vulnerable woman helping them out to improve their life through labour.

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They wanted me to come up with a new project that could be associated to their exiting one, called Penelope. Penelope re-uses advertising banners made of 100% cotton commonly seen in the Florence streets (municipal law). This collection of the Atelier cooperative takes out the most beautiful pieces of the artwork of those banners but discards other less interesting parts, as logos, slogans and other images.

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Then I came up with the idea of creating a new line from Penelope scraps avoiding unnecessary waste, and hence, exploiting the entire banner for the two different collections.

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I conceived the project through a didactic program workshop in which the woman could learn some topics of design process – from the concept to the final product taking into account the idea of brand.

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The educational goal was to stimulate design thinking, skills and knowledge to each woman that attended the workshop. Tailoring techniques and tools were used to decompose the artwork (logos, pictures, slogans) hiding the advertisement.

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The backside of the banner was flipped out, creating a ”new” pattern, becoming the actual side of products and at the same time it highlights the texture of the cotton.

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The outcome is a household linens collection (bedcover, pillow, plaid, tablecloths).  Each piece in the collection emphasizes the detail of the material and the beauty of the diverse tailoring techniques.

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Eventually, the Atelier craftswoman had the opportunity to express themselves through their tools along with design thinking principles that were applied during the workshop. Any single product developed in this project is more than a mere object. Its a source of inspiration that springs from the understandings of the design process of the product.

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The outcome of the workshop was exhibited during the Terra Futura fair in Florence, between 17th-19th March.

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