Four Argentinean Design Projects Helping those in Need


Picture: Collage of Minima Huella's work with El Ceibo cooperative. Credit: Minima Huella.

It's Blog Action Day! A special day for bloggers around the world to raise our voices on important causes from different angles. The theme for this year is poverty, and from Argentina we wanted to point you in the direction of some people that are doing amazing things that link environmental responsibility with helping those in need in the country.

Keep reading to see our picks.Carlos Levinton, an architect for the poor

Argentinean architect Carlos Levinton is a veteran environmentalist that dedicated a lot of time developing solutions for those in need.

Apart from having built several prototypes of efficient houses that help people save money in energy and that reuse waste, one of his latest projects was to spend time with a Bolivian community from the very poor Hampaturi region, teaching them how to turn PET bottles into heaters and greenhouses for their cultivations.

This year, the architect unveiled his latest project: a new house prototype and a set of home improvements to reduce energy consume and improve the life quality of a number of families in Moreno, one of the biggest and poorest districts in the Buenos Aires suburbs.

You can read all about these projects in the following links:
Carlos Levinton Interview at TreeHugger
Carlos Levinton Helping the Bolivian Hampaturi community with PET
Levinton's Low-Cost and Energy Efficient Home

A graphic of the house Levinton designed for Moreno's community.
Mu and Eloisa Cartonera, working with cardboard collectors

Cardboard collectors, also known as 'Cartoneros', emerged during the 2001 economic crisis in Argentina and have become an important force for paper recycling in Buenos Aires. So much that the government is now studying a garbage collection project involving them to take care of the recovering of recyclable materials.

Before the Cartoneros were recognized by authorities, some groups of designers and entrepreneurs had already began working with them in projects. For example, the design studio Minima Huella worked along the cooperative El Ceibo to teach people to make design products with materials they could recover from trash.

At the same time, the small publisher Eloisa Cartonera edits books whose covers are produced with cardboard they buy from Cartoneros. They offer them a better price than the one they can get by selling in bulk, and the books are handmade also by some people in need who wanted to learn the process.

Minima Huella + El Ceibo: Trash Collection Meets Design
Eloisa Cartonera Books

Two designs by Minima Huella, using discarded plastic tubes and wine bottles.
Martin Churba, top Fashion Designer with a Social Conscience

We've told you about Martin Churba's environmentally responsible work before, but not about how this high-end designer does couture on one day and travels 10 miles to La Matanza district on the next, to work along the unemployed people cooperative La Juanita.

Churba has been designing a set of overalls with them that have been exported worldwide and also helps them develop their own textile products.

On top of that, the Argentinean designer has recently took on a new project to work with indigenous communities from the north of the country (Kollas) in helping them improve the quality of their work to meet international standards.

Find out more about the designer at his website, Tramando. If you read Spanish, check out this interview with Churba at Clarin newspaper.


Churba and the overalls he's been producing with cooperative La Juanita.

More eco-conscious design from Argentina at TreeHugger:
Plug and Live System: 18 Boxes from Brazil to Argentina, from Waste to Art
'Pocket Library': Book Storage for Small Places, by Ariel Jacubovich
Buenos Aires Fashion Week Spring-Summer 2009

Tags: Accessories | Argentina | Buenos Aires | Energy Efficiency | Poverty | Recycling | Social Networking

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