Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Go ahead and Touch:

Touch is a design division of the socially sustainable product development firm of Brazilian-born Zoë Melo. Melo, who has worked as a design consultant since the early 2000s for such well-known companies as Artecnica’s Design with Conscience (see earlier blog). The mission of Touch is to collaborate with emerging designers to create hand-made products-thereby decreasing need and pushing people’s choice away from the mass-produced. The products also have an environmentally conscience approach to materials, whether recycled or produced organically. Some of the designers working with Touch include: Domingos Tórtora, an incredible designer, based in Brazil, who practices a design philosophy deeply rooted in the principles of sustainability and renewable organic cycles. His handmade fiber-based objects are produced in a cooperative in Brazil. They are stunning; Estúdio Manus, based in Sao Paulo, are a Brazilian couple, who take great inspiration from travel, collaborate to produce a quirky yet beautiful line of creamy-white porcelain ceramics which often have a touch of gold; La Feliz, an Argentinian designer who trained in industrial design. His unique lamps, stools and objects are made from a plastic wicker and are individually hand woven in his studio. There is no machine or assembly line; and last but not least, jewelry designer, visual artist and poet Mana Bernardes, www.mana.cx who lives in Rio de Janeiro. Her line of jewelry is contemporary, sleek and simple forms dominate, and materials, which are typically reused materials, can range from gold, plastic, crystal and the simple bobby pin. Mana works with teenagers in Rio through a community based initiative with the Museum in Rio and the European Design Institute of Sao Paulo, teaching them jewelry making techniques and how to reuse materials in a creative way. All in all Touch is a pretty fantastic initiative and I hope that it continues to develop and promote the work of such amazing designers. www.do-not-touch.com Image courtesy of the website.

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