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Company: Preserving Local Industry Through Innovative Design
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Nominated by Bjarke Ingels

I’d like to nominate the designers Aamu Song and Johan Olin, who together form Company.

They have done a series of projects where they went and visited old factories and craftsmen in different provinces in Southern Germany, Finland and Korea, among others. Through conversations with the factory workers and craftsmen they came up with new products that explore and exploit the potential of those people and their knowledge.

Rather than letting these traditional factories die out, victim to global outsourcing, they propose to take charge of the skills already out there and see if they can actually foster new kinds of contemporary products. Rather than first designing some cool thing, and then getting someone to do it, Song and Olin start with the person who is going to manufacture it, and through conversations with those people, they evolve their ideas. And the stuff is both clever and cute -- as are the two designers!

Secret shop (Salakauppa) was touring around as temporary shop in 2007-2008 before finding a permanent loacation. Secret shop toured in Milan, Berlin, Oslo and Jyväskylä.

Bjarke Ingels is Founding Partner of the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) in Copenhagen.

Top photo: "Dance Shoes, For the Father and the Daughter." Design by COMPANY (Aamu Song & Johan Olin). Material: moulded felt (100% wool). Made by Lahtinen in Jämsä, Finland. Jukka and Riitta are running their father's felt factory in Jämsä, Finland. See more designs here.

This piece is part of Worldchanging's Attention Philanthropy campaign. All week long, the Worldchanging Network will be delivering "attention grants" to worthy projects, individuals, resources and more. You can learn more about these gifts of notice and find other entries by clicking here.

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