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Contrast City! Rubber Recycling in Marrakesh, Morocco

Dole, Sandrine is a French product designer, trained in industrial design and specializing in the handicraft sector since 1999. Based in Morocco, she has worked in both the rural and urban areas in several African countries.

She works in applying design in a development perspective, keeping in consideration social, cultural, economic and environmental assets in the fields of handicrafts product design, vocational craft and design training and consultancy, - scenography design for events and in visual communication (photography and graphics). Her experience is in a wide range of production techniques (wood, bamboo, metal, ceramics, natural fibres, leather, recycled materials...) and in different sectors (urban furniture, home furniture, tableware, fashion accessories, home textiles...), she provides the connection between a local environment and international demands, for tourism markets and export.

Nov ember 2012, Craft Revival Trust
"Contrast city" is a rubber recycling program in Marrakesh-Morocco. The project aims at sustainable development. This is an initiative of LCCE (La Compagnie du Commerce Equitable), a French fair trade importer. LCCE wondered what could be done with rubber waste, polluting and poisonous when used as a source of energy.

I have worked in this program as a designer, specialized in handicraft, working around Africa for a decade and settled in Marrakech. The whole process was covered from organizing supply to standard production, including product design.

   

Few questions that were to be carefully dealt were;

  • How to cleverly collect waste mixed up until now with household garbage and dumped?

  • How then prepare this disgusting and ill-assorted material to make it usable?

  • Finally, how transform this new raw material, through local craft, in repeatable, qualitative, graceful, useful, agreeable and saleable artefacts?


   

In order to soften the appearance of the rubber and to enlarge its recycling capacities, a local natural raw material like wool or wood was added. This combination creates a strong contrast, both visual and tactile. Products shapes were kept simple to emphasize on the material.

The program was named as Marrakech specific contrasts: from donkey cart to fashionable racing car!

For the realization of the project various groups were connected.

Financial support for development was provided by a French organisation Smiley world association.

Marrakech subsidiary of international Pizzorno Environment group collects rubber waste, on a voluntary basis, with the blessing of the municipality.

   

Different types of producers make the transformation, from low skill home based women artisans to export Craft Companies.

Weavers combine local natural raw material with the rubber wastes before sewers finish the products.

   

The quality of product thus reached is so high, that people mostly mistake old rubber with rubber.

The commercialization of the first range, home textile accessories, was launched in France, in Altermundi fair trade shops. To follow this, a range of furniture was also introduced. The whole range was presented in June in a lecture during a Green Business Forum organized in Pointe-Noire (Congo) to assess the real green business opportunities in Central Africa.

June, 2011



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