written by Fábio Neves
Mwabwindo School Receives 2017 Panerai Design Miami/ Visionary Award – For the first time, the award recipient is a collaborative project, conceived by 14+ Foundation, New York; Selldorf Architects, New York; and artist Rashid Johnson with the new contribution of commissioned furniture by Christ & Gantenbein, Basel.
Mwabwindo School, to open in 2018, will serve primary school students in rural southern Zambia. The 2017 Panerai Design Miami/ Visionary Award will be presented in December at Design Miami/.
Design Miami/ announced the Mwabwindo School project as the recipient of the 2017 Panerai Design Miami/ Visionary Award. In its fourth year, the annual award is sponsored by Officine Panerai and celebrates significant contributions to the field of design.
14+ Foundation is a New York City–based nonprofit established by Joseph Mizzi and Nchimunya Wulf in 2012 to develop, build, and operate schools in rural African communities. The organization’s initiatives are centered on the following core tenets: empowering children through education, achieving meaningful engagement with the communities they serve, promoting arts-based education, and the belief that quality design can not only inspire, but also make a difference. Mwabwindo School, which will open in 2018 and serve primary school students in rural southern Zambia, will be the second school in the region developed by 14+ Foundation, an organization committed to increasing education accessibility in rural African communities, where travel distance to school is one of the biggest impediments to quality education.
“Nchimunya and I were absolutely thrilled to open our first school in January 2015, which has now grown to serve almost 250 students with a fully cost-free education, and includes important community-based projects and programs. Our newest project, Mwabwindo School, designed by Selldorf Architects, represents a meaningful and organic expansion of our projects and programs within nearby rural Zambian communities,” said co-founder of 14+ Foundation, Joseph Mizzi.
The school’s design by Selldorf Architects, New York, is inspired by the tall trees on the surrounding savanna that serve as shaded gathering spaces. The complex will comprise mud-brick classrooms for 200 students arranged around courtyards and covered by a large corrugated metal roof canopy, housing for eight teachers, a vegetable garden, and playing fields.
Handmade bricks have been fabricated on site and buildings will be constructed by local masons, providing employment and training opportunities. Rainwater will be collected for use in the garden, solar panels will provide energy for the school and teachers’ housing, and a windmill will power the facility’s well water. The design will also incorporate a mural installation to be createdon site by contemporary artist Rashid Johnson in collaboration with Mwabwindo School students, emphasizing the importance of art-based educational projects and programs.
Mwabwindo Series by Christ & Gantenbein
The Basel-based architecture and design firm Christ and Gantenbein has been commissioned by Design Miami/ to design the Mwabwindo Series of furniture for donation to the Mwabwindo School. Based on a simple vernacular object, the child-size stools and tables in this set are made of wooden blocks held together by long cylindrical wooden pegs, without the use of hardware or glue.
The fabrication of the pieces will support the Zambian economy, using local fabrication of the wooden elements and locally available woods delivered for final assembly by members of the Mwabwindo community. A simple interlocking system allows the furniture to be arranged in different configurations, adapting to the various needs of the curriculum.
Prototypes of the Mwabwindo Series are installed at Design Miami/. The layout features many of the different configurations made possible by the furniture’s flexible design: cross shape, square shape, single long row, and more.
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Source: Design Miami