Artisans in developing countries have the same creative potential of Western designers and practitioners, but most of the time no voice, visibility nor possibility to grow professionally and work in decent conditions. As engaged designer and curious traveller, I felt the need to find a solution in the only way a designer can think about: a creative project.
‘Les Artisans’ is a platform where artisans have finally the space to tell their stories and sell their handcraft products made uniquely for clients around the world. Through a personal space, each artisan is presented with a video and has his/her range of products shown so that clients can choose an item and select the combination they prefer in terms of colors and materials.
‘People behind products’ is the core value of the platform. The first artisans spotted are from Senegal, where the project began. They make jewelry, accessories and small objects. The aim of the platform is to present to clients not only the skills of those people, but their dedication and passion, creating engagement and a real relationship between the two parts involved.
Travelling the world is a personal passion as well as the occasion to discover amazing people with unrecognised talents. Tell their stories through videos and show how products are made is the starting point to create meaningful commissions. Les Artisans addresses to conscious final customers that are willing to wait and fairly pay for a unique product made exclusively for them.
'Les Artisans' project was born from the passion for traveling moved by the curiosity of discovering new cultures. Almost one year of reflection and research combined with previous cultural experience of interacting with artisans in Brazil and Tanzania led me to developing the prototype of the project in Senegal. Senegalese hand-craft scene is extremely rich but at the same time poorly promoted, which is one of the main reason for choosing it as the place where to start.
The idea behind Les Artisans has been since the beginning to to enable artisans to engage with customers and vice versa into a closer and more conscious relationship and the biggest challenge was to build a sustainable model driven by design aimed to preserve and promote the cultural heritage of traditional craftsmanship in the developing world.
As a result, Senegal became the fieldwork for the primary research of the project.
Over the course of two weeks in the African country, I collaborated with artisans in a series of workshops organized by Route Artlantique and at the same time conducted my personal research.
The set up plan consisted in meeting an average of two artisans per day, decide if they were suitable for the project, and if they were to collect their stories through video-recorder interviews and pictures. The totality of the data collected provided the database of the platform and an important resource for the further development of the project once back in Europe.
The goal of Les Artisans is to create a sustainable option for the future of the creative and social development of Senegal, first, and subsequently of other developing countries around the world with a high consideration of the cultural patterns that characterize every country.
Different people, languages, habits and understanding have the opportunity to establish a dialogue and interact through the platform so that Senegalese artisans are encouraged to establish a connection with Western realities, through design. Artisans want visibility, and they deserve to have a way to speak to the world, without being forced to leave their country.
The value of this project for the creative industry in advanced and developing economies is through helping them to understand the possibilities of collaboration and growth across geographical distance, through design.
Les Artisans Founder, Francesca
EQUAL JOB OPPORTUNITY
With a transparent and sustainable system, our artisans are given fair prices for their skills and offered a competent business opportunity.
WE ENCOURAGE COLLABORATION
By presenting the artisans and their skills we promote international designers to develop projects with them and expand their creativity.
PRODUCTS MADE ONLY FOR YOU BY YOUR ARTISAN
By commissioning bespoken objects, every customer gets products made uniquely for her and has the possibility to engage with the artisan maker.
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ARTISANS BEHIND PRODUCTS. Les Artisans loves people. Artisan’s stories, traditions and cultural heritage bring to the product a precious value and a special perception of it, based on empathy.
MISSION. From the passion of travelling, ‘Les Artisans’ is a project born in Senegal to help artisans selling their handcraft products online and to develop bespoke designs to promote them and create meaningful connections with customers.
SUSTAINABILITY. ‘Les Artisans’ promotes decent work for all creating a new sustainable consumption pattern. All stages and transactions involved are 100% transparent so that the customer recognize the real value of the product.
UNIQUE QUALITY. ‘Les Artisans’ guarantees high quality, respecting the small imperfections and the time that a handmade product requires; both elements highlight its uniqueness.
AGELESS STYLE. ‘Les Artisans’ can please everyone because it represents not only a good action, but also a beautiful experience that enriches people of all ages and tastes and way of engaging with very different realities.
DISCOVER, ORDER, ENJOY. ‘Les Artisans’ offers the opportunity not only to buy, but also to create an intimate relationship with the product and with the artisan who makes it.
DESIGN IN ACTION. ‘Les Artisans’ aspire to prove that creativity and design have the power to connect, they can become symbol of cultural exchange and can provide new perspectives and new ways to see the world.
COCREATION. The ultimate objective of the project is to give artisans the confidence to grow professionally and foster their creativity through the collaboration with designers from different countries.
Francesca Luciano - Les Artisans Founder & Design Manager
Francesca Luciano is a design manager with a background in fashion design. Her experience in working for a leading fashion brand in Milan as well as for a French magazine about business and lifestyle, combined with her passion for traveling and discovering design culture across countries makes her a versatile and multidisciplinary practiser.
Radu Rojas - Les Artisans Video Manager
Currently studying film at London College of Communication whilst working his way up in the film industry, Radu Rojas is a Spanish freelance editor and sound designer that has worked in a wide range of different projects, from stop motion, student films and fashion films, up to indie feature films and documentary.
Ilaria Zampieri - Les Artisans Graphic Designer
Ilaria is a graduated of IED (European Institute of Design), Milan. She is an expert of service and product design and she is working now as a freelance for design projects based on sustainability including Red Bull and United Pet.
Ilaria has actively participated to Route Artlantique 2017 and for Les Artisans she curates all the images of the platform using her Illustrator and Photoshop skills.
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