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Social label -Socio economics during Dutch Design Week 2014
A Social label product is the beautiful and valuable result of workers – workers whose health or problems have prevented them from finding regular employment – collaborating with designers and artists. After >HOUT with Piet Hein Eek and the workers at sheltered workshop Woodworks, and >VAAS with Roderick Vos and creative sheltered workshop Artenzo, we presented the Social label – Socio economics Collection during Dutch Design Week 2014. Initiators Petra Janssen and Simone Kramer are developing new product ranges and linking sheltered workshops (care organisations or businesses) to designers, to create customised products that offer opportunities to vulnerable groups. New customised jobs are needed for people who do not need close care but who would experience problems in regular employment.

Three new product ranges
During Dutch Design Week (18 – 26 October) three new prototypes have been displayed at the temporary Werkwarenhuis inside the Piet Hein Eek factory (Strijp-R, Eindhoven). The public met the people behind the new Social labels and register to buy these valuable products.

> VEEG is a collaboration between community stewardship centre Cambio (Deventer) and designer Dick van Hoff. The inspiration for Van Hoff’s design was sparked by the local mindset to ‘Roll up our sleeves together to create clean and caring neighbourhoods in Deventer’. This Social label product makes the world a better place in more than one way, as old bicycle frames are recycled to create a handmade collection of cleaning utensils.

> MASK is a collaboration between artists Marc Mulders and Ria Mul from Artenzo (sheltered workshop for people with an impairment in Tilburg). >MASK allows us to see the world through the eyes of Ria, who has autism. The collaboration is an opportunity for the world to see the way she experiences the world, and an invitation to Ria to venture into the world outside her own. This collaboration is the starting point for a series of pillows that feature the patterns from the paintings they made together.

> STILL is a collaboration between De Verbinding BV (Groningen) and Haiko Meijer (Onix architects), with support from the Start Foundation. De Verbinding, a factory that makes window frames and dormer windows, works with deaf people. This inspired Haiko to create his design for >STILL. A closet for silence, a sanctuaria to withdraw to, a tiny room that you can adapt according to your own ideas, interests or needs. A DIY-kit without screws. Social label >STILL gives De Verbinding its first customised product for the consumer and the education markets.

Creating Employment and Flow
These prototypes are not the only new introductions. Social label >HOUT and >VAAS ranges are each extended with a new product. For >HOUT it is a lounge sofa. The Citydwellers (Eindhoven) sewing workshop was commissioned to create cushions for it from the unique fabric >MASK. Social label has had the co-created >VAAS with Roderick Vos turned into an ‘industrial’. Cor Unum (Den Bosch) was commissioned to produce it, which also stimulaties the link to sheltered workshop Artenzo, with an eye to craftsmanship and progression onto the job market.

Design Thinking
The Social label foundation develops valuable Social label products to offer people workers whose health or problems have prevented them from finding regular employment a platform, a challenging job, and new opportunities (socio economics). Design, art and communication as ‘openers’ to start reshaping processes involving participation (laws), care and employment. We use concrete design products to create new jobs and initiate a conversation with care professionals, social entrepreneurs, governments and designers to help create an inclusive society.

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