Our latest page 23 is from the new issue of Disegno, the quarterly that focuses on architecture, fashion and design. Page 23 falls in the centre of the issue’s first feature, which explores an initiative in Berlin that gives refugees the space and resources to build and sell their own furniture.
It’s the first of several double pages that are filled with images from the workshops (named Cacula, which translates as ‘to do something together’ in the West African Hausa dialect). Cacula offers full-time and part-time traineeships for refugees in Berlin, allowing them to learn a new skill, develop a routine, and make some money. Alongside running the workshops, the organisation also makes contact with lawyers, finds housing, and arranges language courses for its attendees.
The image on page 23 shows Cacula as a bright, open workspace, much like any other design studio. It is a place where participants can leave their status as refugees behind. The layout of the piece, which has just a few simple paragraphs about the project and is accompanied by lots of images, invites you into the space. The other images show different aspects of Cacula; finished chairs and tables, a group taking a break outside. They present opposing ideas of refugees, vastly different from those we usually see in the media.
In his introduction to the magazine, editor Oli Stratford admits that his own definition of the word ‘design’ is fractured; ‘What even is design? To tell you the truth, we at Disegno have no idea.’ Disegno generates content that looks at the impact of design both artistically and politically, and not just at the ins and outs of how things are made. The feature about Cacula perfectly reflects their manifesto, and leads the way for a brilliantly varied issue, covering everything from Amanda Levete’s porcelain courtyard at the V&A, to a look at a Nepalese Hanuman shrine that is surrounded by crumbling buildings.