Rescuing Native Communities Craft Through Design: Caranday Quinua


Photos: Quinua Studio.

As we've shown before with initiatives like Oficina Nomade, design partnerships between studios and native artisans have proved to be a great way to empower local work and materials in small communities. By using their techniques in new, more modern products, artisans gain a new sense of self-esteem while improving their income.

A new project that is doing this in Argentina is Caranday, an initiative by architecture studio Quinua that is rescuing and re-interpreting the tradition of palm-trees-leaves-knitting from the interior of Cordoba province.

Check the interesting products and more about the project in the extended.Revaluing Ancient Techniques Through Design

Quinua is an architecture studio run by Diego Dragotto and Pablo Capitanelli, whose aim is to investigate and experiment with constructive systems that involve sustainable use of natural, social and economic resources.

Over four years ago they arrived in Copacabana, a little town of about 400 people located in Cordoba province, in the center region of Argentina. The place shares the same name of the famous Brazilian beach, but a different environment and reality.

The people from the town live mostly out of cattle, agriculture, and the elaboration of baskets knitted with an ancient technique and leaves from a local tree called Caranday. Not only the value of the products people made were in decline when the architects arrived, but also the commodity: Caranday trees exportation has grown in the past years, damaging people's activities and the natural environment.

With this difficult reality in mind, the studio Quinua began to work with local communities to rescue their knitting technique and develop new products with Caranday palm-trees leaves.

The result are various accessories for the house, some multi-purpose and clever. One of them is a bench created with three cylinders, which can be also storage when its tubes are uncovered. Others include a cylinders mat, a curtain, a wine bottle recipient, and a pencil case.

The products are sold in some artisan fairs and design houses, and through direct contact with the Quinua studio, but the architects are looking for new commercialization channels to provide natives with more work and stable income.

Check the pics below and contact the studio through the links at the bottom.


The cylinders bench from top.

The whole bench.

The mat.

Another view of the mat.

The curtain.

The bottle cover.

A special project for a public sun screen knitted both with palm leaves and PET.
Quinua Studio

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More Design Projects Involving Native Communities:
Oficina Nomade in Brazil
Paula Dib's Trans.forma "Social Design"

Tags: Argentina | Benches | Crafts | Ethical | Fair Trade