Renowned French designer Sandrine Dole wanted to find a way to recycle piles of rubber lying around Marrakech while simultaneously elevating the local community and its numerous cottage industries. Some of the main design challenges included separating the piles of dirty rubber from other waste and then turning them into something not only beautiful but also replicable, useful and of superior quality.
The results of this endeavor financially supported by Smiley World Organization and distributed by the French Fair Trade Company Altermundi couldn’t be more surprising. Now based in Morocco, Dole incorporated local and natural materials into the design process to soften the rubber, adding color and a grace that belies the origin of these once wasted materials.
Weaving, woodworking and basketry are all popular local crafts that Dole sought to incorporate into the recycling project with dual benefit. Not only do these crafts (and the materials they use – wool, wood and straw) lend a far more gentle aspect to pure rubber products, but they also allow the local community to do work with which they are familiar.
Although there is something of a rubber recycling inclination in Marrakech, it remains informal and underdeveloped, although the environmental non-government organization Groupe Pizzorno does contribute to a municipally-sanctioned collection program that greatly reduces pollution in one of the country’s most enigmatic cities.
Add some color and Dole’s existing product lines are both quite extraordinary, not least because of the manner in which the materials were sourced. Red, white and black interiors and household furniture are being distributed via Altermundi and more repurposed goodness is definitely in the pipeline.
Raising the profile of Morocco’s talented artisans and putting money in their pocket, this fantastic project also has unsung environmental benefits as hundreds of pounds of rubber has been diverted from the city’s already overburdened landfills.
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