In 2009 and 2010 Giovanni, together with Franco Papeschi and supervised by Valentina Nisi, installed a satellite Internet connection in the town of Ouahigouya, in the north of Burkina Faso. A group of Locals took part in a series of workshops intended as an introduction to the Internet and an opportunity for them to generate concepts for services on a local and global scale.

Alessane is a craftsman in Ouahigouya who spent most of his life converting old barrels into watering cans. Unfortunately for him, his business is going through a crisis as in the country a massive amount of plastic watering cans from China are being imported, threatening his activity. However Alessane is very skilled in his technique of folding savaged metal and together we designed and finally built a number of items, including this chair.

If Alessane could sell online his items, he would probably make a living as living costs are very low in Burkina Faso, especially if compared to the money he would earn by selling directly to Western customers. Unfortunately Alessane cannot read and write and also his spoken French is very limited, so he can’t do much with the Internet. To help his interaction with the World Wide Web I imagined a code that translates orders into simple illustrations which Alessane has no problem to understand. The address of the person ordering the items appears on the sheet in a box that Alessane only has to cut and stick on the parcel. Salif, who has access to the Internet, acts as a middleman between local craftsman and the rest of the world. He prints the automatically illustrated order and hands it to Alessane. Alassane sees what has been ordered and starts the production. Once the objects are finished and ready to be shipped, he cuts out the address of the customer. Alessane sticks the address of the customer on the box and proceeds with the shipping.

This project is broadly illustrated in the book “Made in Burkina”. Read it online, download the PDF or buy your printed copy
More information about the project can be found by following this link.


Year: 2009 and 2010
Description: a chair made of folded savaged metal from old barrels + a concept for online sales managed directly by craftsmen in Burkina Faso