Marca Carcel: Cool Design Produced by Prisoner Women with Recycled Materials

The never stopping Argentine project Satori Lab has come up with a new initiative: Marca Carcel, a brand of products handmade by women who are prisoners in jails in Buenos Aires with recycled materials and low technology.

Even when helping people who has committed felony may come as a complex subject, the fellows behind the initiative are hoping this will help change these people's realities and create a social-sustainable future, apart from the good of recycling materials. Can this be possible? Keep reading for more.Marca Carcel, Helping Women in Jail Through Design
Satori is a design lab by Argentine journalist Lujan Cambariere and well known designer Alejandro Sarmiento, which organizes workshops to encourage students and young designers to experiment with discarded materials and low technology.

You can see some of the results from those activities in our articles about the second and third workshops.


Another piece designed by students and produced by women, the robot with recycled cosmetics packaging.

Asked by a division of the Argentine Justice Department, they took this practice to a women penitentiary in Buenos Aires, where they transmitted techniques to produce some of the designs they had from the previous workshops and a new design by Sarmiento.

"It's interesting that the product from a workshop with students can now serve as the beginning of a new project with these women. Our approach was very appropriate for them because we work with a group that cannot handle tools or machines, and we bring them simple techniques that they can use when they leave the prison to build their own business or initiative," explains Lujan Cambariere, who studies the social aspects of design.


One more pic of the robot.


Can Design Change these People's Future?

When asked about his motivations with the project, Alejandro Sarmiento said, "It's a very complex subject from every point you look at it. On one side you feel the need to help and on the other, it seems it's a group you shouldn't help. But the important thing is that there are people who want to change and take responsibility for what they've been through, and there's an official statistic that says people who receive education in prison and can find a work place when they go out are the only ones who do not commit crime again. Thinking about it, sustainability also means that the streets can be safer in the future".

Even if the workshop doesn't teach women to 'design', but to 'produce', Sarmiento thinks design plays a good part. "We're not only offering them a technique, but also subliminal notions of aesthetics, and that has to change the way people think somehow," he says.


Pencil Case from Recycled Adidas Trainers, one of the products made by women in jails.

The women are now producing three objects: a pencil case from recycled Adidas trainers, the robot made with cosmetics packaging donated by Natura, and a lamp made with recycled PET straps which was designed by Sarmiento.

All of three products are now available for purchase at the Museum of Latin American Art (Malba) store (must go for any tourist), with affordable prices that go from around 20 to 40 USD.


Lamp made with recycled PET straps. Designed by Sarmiento.

So what's your veredict? Do you think design can really help these people?

For more on the project, visit the links below.

Marca Carcel by Satori Lab
Satori Lab


More Design with a Social Coscience
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Social Designer: Creating "Goods for the Greater Good"
Ikea's Social Initiative Debuts New Wall Hangings

Tags: Accessories | Argentina | Buenos Aires | Lighting | Upcycling

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