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sustainable values: supporting communities through design

in sustainable values

This episode of Sustainable Values looks into ways in which design can contribute to making the world a fairer place.

Sustainability is a wide concept. Besides environmental matters, there’s a whole social aspect that is not to be forgotten. And here too, design can be part of the solution…

community support

Through its processes, the design industry can create occasions to strengthen local communities, open up new opportunities, support minorities, and overall have a social impact that goes way beyond making objects.

Examples of social impact are the creation of fair and dignified job opportunities where these are not the norm, supporting those who might otherwise struggle to find a job, helping local communities by valuing the materials they depend upon, and more…

Sustainable design for interiors supporting community.

01
Ngwenya Glass products are all locally mouth-blown in Eswatini. […] The company also works with local schools to help raise environment-aware generations. Students are involved in roadside clean-ups and – in exchange – the company provides building materials and its sponsorship for the school soccer club…
Read more: Ice Bubble by Ngwenya Glass

02
A A K S’ lamp collection comes out of Weaving for Change, an initiative aimed at creating work opportunities for women from the Tuareg community living as refugees in Burkina Faso. This initiative is run in collaboration with UNHCR (the UN Refugee Agency)…
Read more: Ihaya by A A K S

03
Reviving hand-weaving traditions and creating fair work for skilled weavers, Annaloom production helps to improve the economic conditions of entire rural communities in Northeast India. The company also organizes guided Textile Tours of the region as a way to bring guests closer to the artisans, materials, crafts and local stories…
Read more: Avani by Annaloom

04
All Mifuko products are handmade in Kenya by local women. Creating fair and long-term work opportunities, Mifuko production empowers women and helps to improve the economic conditions of entire rural communities. Mifuko is also a member of WTFO (World Fair Trade Organization)…
Read more: Kiondo by Mifuko

05
Named Solidwool, the material consists of wool mixed with bio-resin. Wool comes from the Herdwick sheep, an iconic local breed whose coarse wool used to be employed for carpet manufacturing. Over time, its perceived value declined and Herdwick wool is now seen as just a by-product of sheep breeding. Solidwool creates a valuable application for this wool, supporting the shepherds that depend on it and care for the wild landscape it comes from…
Read more: Hembury by Roger Oates Design


Glass decanter with wine glass.
Credit: Ngwenya Glass
Decanted close-up.
Credit: Ngwenya Glass
Woven textile pendant lamp.
Credit: A A K S
Lamp close-up.
Credit: A A K S
Silk throw.
Credit: Annaloom
Silk throw close-up.
Credit: Annaloom
Woven basket.
Credit: Mifuko
Woven basket close-up.
Credit: Mifuko

Note: this selection is completely unsponsored. All pieces are sourced from riivin, the fully independent sustainable interior design platform I curate. Find additional products and resources to design more sustainable spaces in the members’ area riivin+.