Basket weaving traditions in Africa may vary from region to region, but we know that oftentimes recycled materials are used in their making. Working with local basket weavers in a village near Dakar, Senegal, New York City-based designer Stephen Burks is fusing regional craft with modern design in these colorful, "re-invented" basket lamps.
Burks, who has been called a "design activist" looking to bridge tradition with modern forms and functions, talks about the intentions of the project:
My Man Made project is really about integrating centuries old artisanal processes into contemporary design products to extend these craft traditions into the future, while also building a bridge from these developing world hand factories to international distribution.
These beautiful, coiled creations are not yet commercialized; so far, it's a design experiment, and Burks is now looking for partners to fund further production. But it's certainly one effective way to preserve traditions that may otherwise be forgotten; let's hope that when these lovely, one-of-a-kind recycled pieces do make it to market, they'll be fair-trade products too. Check out the video of the basket-making, on-site, and Stephen Burks' Readymade Projects. The exhibition at the Design Exchange will run until April 1.