Cosmo is a range of objects produced with a focus on mutual exchange of knowledge between artisans who have fled their countries of origin and are looking for a fresh start in Europe, local artisans who already have established networks here and designers who bring their expertise and ideas to the design of the products. Lupo Burtscher initiated this long-term project and are the art directors of “Cosmo”.
The point of departure of Cosmo is the immediate present and the need to find an answer to the question of how refugees can become a more active and cohesive part of a collective society. Interaction between craftsmanship and design, intercultural expertise and shared knowledge enriches; it creates new working processes, new collaborations and new products. It is a driver of change. It has no permanent premise and instead creates synergies at various locations and workshops, providing refugees with opportunities to join the workforce as employees, entrepreneurs and business partners. Cosmo produces and markets its own objects and serves as a platform for sharing new possibilities, knowledge and experience. Its focus is on collaboration informed and inspired by personal histories and cultural origins. The aim is that this intercultural dialogue will contribute to a new sense of identity.
Time to relight
Cosmo’s first collection, Edition No.1 Time to relight, is a collaboration between the craftsman Bakary Darboe and the designers Lupo Burtscher. This collection was shown during Operae, the independent design fair in Torino and started from an invitation by the Centro Piemontese di Studi Africani. It was accomplished with the collaboration of Chiesa Valdese.
The collaboration began by experimenting with potential woodworking techniques and by studying forms and colours typical of the Gambian craft tradition. The objects in the collection highlight the search for surface geometries obtained by clean cuts, chiseled cavities, or using the woodworker’s plane. This first collection was produced in collaboration with the workshop of carpenter Christian Mittendorfer and the wood turners Drechslerei Fritz and Benno Vinatzer.