Mu + El Ceibo: Survival Trash Collection Meets Design


The story begun in January 2006, when architect Mercedes Frassia called Mu design shop to design a bar that was about to open in the bohemian-chic San Telmo neighborhood (Buenos Aires) with solid urban waste.

Through a foundation they were contacted with El Ceibo, one of the many cooperatives that live out of trash collection in Buenos Aires (cartoneros). After analyzing the materials they collected and in what conditions it arrived, Mu came up with some chairs, sofas and coffee table designs.

From that moment on, the two groups of people started working together under a workshop. "It was two times a week first and three later. In these meetings we transmitted each other our know-hows and experience.

To reach a feeling of belonging was hard for the people in the cooperative, as they saw work as a recreational and almost delirious activity, but with time and as they begun to take part in the production they started to feel the workshop was everybody's and for all of us", says Angeles, from Mu.

Since then, the cooperative goal shifted in another direction: the trash recollection is now to create, and not only to sell by kilograms. "Though our conditions aren't the best ones (some amateur tools and random meeting places), we're now in a strengthening phase, looking for sustainability in our work. We're trying to elaborate a line of better and simpler products that can go directly to the market", says the designer.

More information on their work and products via their website. ::Mu (in Spanish).

Tags: Argentina | Buenos Aires | Latin America | Recycling

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