Meet Made in MIMBRE, an elegant lighting and furniture collection made from Chilean woven wicker and handcrafted by artisans using local fast-growing resources. An initiative started by group of designers and architects, The Andes House is a not-for-profit social project that aims to add thoughtful modern design to traditional handcrafting techniques, while also providing sustainable work for the community.
Produced from the fiber of the Salix plant, a type of willow (hence the project´s name) these design wonders are made by local artisans from a town called Chimbarongo, near Chile‘s bustling capital Santiago. The town, which is well known for their history on mimbre crafts and exceptional geographical characteristics for growing it, is the perfect context for this project to run slowly but smooth, remaining sustainable in the long term. Made in MIMBRE is not business orientated. It is a local and social process which started in 2006 and have been successfully growing in a small pace as a consequence of more local people whiling to join. The antique technique of waving and working with mimbre has been used by local artisans for generations, providing a local craft for making baskets and all sorts of things out of the extremely strong, fast-growing, biodegradable and flexible material.
Considered to be a common material for making wicker-baskets and garden furniture, the designers where inspired by the idea of working with an element with bad reputation, but known to everybody – as mimbre is already present in 80% of Chilean households.
Six lighting objects, standing and hanging, are part of the collection that also includes magazine racks and seats. The lamps, all named with a different letter and in alphabetic order, could be hung on their own or together as a chandelier. Some wicked hanging domes will no doubt become the room’s main feature.
The Andes House not only makes new pieces from wicker, but their collection incorporates a wide range products made from other local materials. Just one month ago they presented their new pieces at Milan Design Week, exhibiting the warm light of their Member collection, which also draws from local resources like stone, wool, copper and clay. They work from a “Shop – Office” space doing design, architecture and interior decorations.
Photo © Marcos Zegers L.