Unveiled to in a buzz of exitement on April 18 at the 2012 Salone de Mobile Trade show, Marni has released a colourful 100-piece collection in a collaboration with former Colombian prisoners. 

All proceeds from the sale of this this collection will go to the ICAM, an organisation that helps foster the relationship between imprisoned mothers and their children, enabling the children of imprisoned mothers to spend their first years of life in a family environment.

Here is a snippet from Marni's website about the project:

All the products in Marni's range are handmade by Colombian craftsmen using salvaged materials: concrete reinforcing bars for the structure and coloured plastic pipes for the seats and backrests. The colours and colour combinations were chosen by the Marni team, thus adding a personal touch to the project and completing the creative process that was initiated overseas.

The chairs are part of the art project "L'arte del Ritratto": products become subject and setting of the 17 portraits by photographer and filmmaker Francesco Jodice.

The story of these chairs begins far away, across the ocean, in San Gil, Colombia. It is a story that tells not only of the typical products of a local tradition, but above all of the great work that lies behind this project - the result of a social rehabilitation activity set up by Antonio, who has personally experienced the harshness of imprisonment.

It was in prison, in fact, that Antonio put to use his skills as a craftsman to start up a programme of reintegration, through work, producing items in plastic and iron.

He continued this activity after his release, with the manufacture of chairs that still involves, as well as local craftsmen, also (and especially) the inmates and former inmates of the San Gil detention centre.

Shipped from Colombia in a container, after travelling for almost a month the chairs have finally arrived in Milan – a long journey ending at the Marni store in via Spiga.

Collaborations can have remarkable outcomes, with this one being one of the most striking collaborations I have seen. The furniture is undeniably beautiful and the outcome is an wonderful reflection of the cause, culture and process that went in to the collaboration. 

The collection is currently being sold exclusively at Marni stores. Check out the below video to see the work in progress. All images via Cool Hunting and Marni. Text from the Marni website.


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