MASS Design Group & Super-Local
75 furniture and fixture products for the Rwanda Institue of Conservation Agriculture
The Bugesera Collection emerged out of collaboration with MASS Design Group for the Rwanda Institute for Conservation Agriculture (RICA) funded by Howard G. Buffett Foundation and Super-Local, a design studio that co-creates sustainable products and services through a unique blend of local knowledge and resources with innovative design methods to support equitable access to happy and healthy lives around the world.
The vision for the collection was to leverage the design and production of furniture to advance the country’s sustainable development goals.
RICA is a new university in Bugesera, Rwanda that was founded to educate the next generation of leaders in conservation agriculture, with the ultimate aim of establishing healthy and sustainable food independence in the country.
Super-Local has build a network
of over 85+ manufacturers,
cooperatives, craft centers,
design enterprises, and
PROJECT AND PROCESS
Over the past three years, MASS has provided end-to-end architecture, landscape architect, engineering and industrial design services for the RICA. To offer sustainable and locally produced furniture and fixtures, MASS and Super Local asked me to join the design and production of over 75 different furniture and interior products all locally manufacture.
Throughout the search for materials, designs, and producers, we engaged dozens of makers in Rwanda and surrounding regions in pursuit of sustainably sourced materials and expert craftsmanship to produce the Bugesera Furniture Collection. The sourcing and production of the Bugesera collection has had a positive effect on employment as well as craft within the country. Weavers, whose products were previously limited to mats and hats, now have new livelihood options in the production of furniture. Through this process, we sought to highlight local innovation while limiting carbon emissions and minimizing the reliance on imported materials and products.
text source: super-local.com
The resulting of Bugesera Collection, which features products ranging from lounge and leisure furniture to desks and dining hall tables to lamps and wall hooks has resulted in employment for hundreds of people throughout Rwanda, adding new possibilities to handwork while preserving traditional crafts and techniques, and meeting the unique needs of all campus users.
There is another benefit to the dominance of local materials in the design of the Bugesera collection - putting these materials at the forefront of contemporary trends.
A broader shift in tastes in Rwanda would amplify the economic impact on artisans producing this kind of furniture in addition to the traditional products. As an illustration of what sustainable development could be, this collection challenges the design industry to be more intentional about the processes of making and to radically reduce the embodied carbon tied to the built environment.