M'Afrique by Patricia Urquiola 09.07.10

MERIDIENNE

The Meridienne chair by Dominique Petot

M'Afrique is a furniture collection for the Italian brand Moroso, produced with the help of traditional craftsmen in Senegal. The brainchild of Patrizia Moroso, the collection launched at last year's Milan furniture fair and is now set to expand with these chairs by Senegalese interior designer Dominique Petot. 
"The intention is to stay stable, to keep 20 to 25 people working on the collection in Senegal all the time," says Moroso.

The first collection included pieces by Tord Boontje, Patricia Urquiola, Bibi Seck and Ayse Birsel, who were all asked to take inspiration from Senegalese weaving craft to come up with an idea for a new outdoor piece. Petot's chairs are in a similar vein and use the same techniques. The chairs are made by producing a metal frame around which the craftsmen weave a seat, armrests and back. The sun- and waterproof plastic is the same material used for the fishing nets that can been seen in multicoloured mountains on Senegal's beaches. "But they don't produce this material locally," says Moroso. "It comes from Japan and sometimes, the cheaper variety, from China."

Each piece is slightly different in terms of shape and pattern. It is up to the craftsmen themselves to decide what colours they want to produce the chair in, leaving the creative process open-ended.

"The individuality of the piece is the sign of the handmade, it's part of the beauty of the object," says Moroso.

Contrary to popular belief, these pieces are relatively expensive to produce as it's a labour-intensive process – 
the prototype for the very first chair by Tord Boontje took ten days to make. "You can't expect the uniformity and speed that we are used to with European manufacturing," says Moroso. "But if you are happy with that you can have a more interesting project, something with a difference."

IRIS

The Iris chair by Dominique Petot

 

 Words

Johanna Agerman

quotes story

The chairs are made by producing a metal frame around which the craftsmen weave a seat, armrests and back

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