Old Traditions, New Eyes
“Let sleeping dogs lie” is an old English expression that warns of the consequences of disturbing the status quo. But for designers, re-imagining old traditions is one temptation that cannot be resisted. Craftspeople, too, relish new perspectives on the traditional discipline they practice while for people with disabilities the world is always seen through fresh eyes.
This international project has brought together the creative ideas of designers, craftspeople and young people with disabilities in a co-design process across borders. Together, they re-imagined and re-interpreted the Doll’s Festival from their own international and outsider viewpoint. In the process, they have linked contemporary design, social enterprise and inclusivity with an old and respected Japanese tradition.
We hope this fresh vision will be as inspiring to visitors of this small exhibition as it has been to all who have taken part in the project. We hope too that it serves as a new model for future collaborative projects of this type.
Julia Cassim, Project Leader
Royal College of Art, Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design
Directed by Ligia Lopes of Design Includes You, the project brings together craftspeople, designers and five young people with special educational needs from the Pais em Rede Association– a non-profit organisation in Lisbon.
The products are based on the young people’s drawings and inspired by images, objects and stories of the Doll’s Festival. These have been re-interpreted by the designers and fabricated using Portuguese traditional techniques- Bilros lace, filigree silverware and wood crafts.
The Bilros Lace products have been made by students from Jose Regio, the only vocational school that teaches this technique located in the Vila do Conde outside Porto. The filigree is by Antero Santos with the brushes fabricated at Escovaria de Belomonte, Porto’s oldest specialist shop and manufacturer.