Proceeds From a Limited Edition Collection Will Benefit Pintando el Cambio Association
West Elm, the global design and lifestyle company, will continue its mission of using design for good by introducing a limited edition collection titled the Atitlán Project. Featuring an array of artfully designed products, the Atitlán Project celebrates the vibrant culture and indigenous craft of Santa Catarina Palopó, a small community on the northeastern shore of Lake Atitlán. West Elm collaborators Roar + Rabbit combined their whimsical designs with Meso Goods’ bold graphics to create 14 one-of-a-kind swivel chairs and ottomans handcrafted by Guatemalan artisans. Each piece is an exquisite work of art for the home that will be available at auction via Paddle8.com from May 6-May 22. West Elm will donate 100 percent of the proceeds to Pintando el Cambio Association, the non-profit transforming communities through art and local histories.
“Our mission for introducing the Atitlán Project is to demonstrate how the power of design can ignite social change for our artisan partners throughout Guatemala,” said Alex Bellos, president of West Elm. “Together with Pintando el Cambio Association we can help create socioeconomic opportunities and deepen our commitment to the people behind our products and their communities.”
Pintando el Cambio Association has worked to create economic development in Santa Catarina Palopó by painting colorful patterns of cultural significance on the town’s homes since 2017. West Elm’s donations from the Atitlán Project will help Pintando el Cambio Association paint approximately 70 percent of the homes by the end of 2019, supporting the town’s 6,000 residents.“The Atitlan Project has helped preserve my culture’s heritage by contemporizing our traditional craft and providing better possibilities for artisans,” said Diego Olivero, the Guatemalan designer and co-founder of Meso Goods who introduced West Elm to Pintando el Cambio Association’s mission back in 2017.
“This partnership speaks to the good that comes when companies like West Elm honor the stories behind their products and when grassroots organizations are open to exploring innovative approaches to development,” said Harris Whitbeck, project founder of Pintando el Cambio Association. “It is about great design coming together with a vibrant culture to bring about empowerment and a better understanding between communities.”
Mitzie Wong and Wendy Wurtzburger of Roar + Rabbit travelled to Santa Catarina Palopo with Olivero in 2017. “Santa Catarina Palopo captured our imaginations and the Pintando el Cambio Association’s mission captured our hearts. We were thrilled at the idea of celebrating Lake Atitlán with paintings and handcrafted designs on our iconic swivel chairs,” said Wurtzburger. Together they conceptualized the power that design can have to create meaningful change in the lives of Guatemalan artisans, and designed the 14 artfully woven, hand-embellished, and hand-embroidered furnishings that will be up for auction. “We couldn’t wait to partner with Diego to share ideas about how to translate the beautiful landscape, vibrant community and artisan technique into one-of-a-kind pieces that benefit the people making them,” said Wong.
Beginning May 6, Paddle8.com will host an online auction of the Atitlán Project handcrafted pieces with 100 percent of the proceeds benefiting Pintando el Cambio Association. Opening bids for the Atitlán Project ottomans will begin at $750 and bids for the Atitlán Project swivel chairs will begin at $1500. A selection of works will be on view at A/D/O in Greenpoint, Brooklyn on May 7 and May 8. West Elm invites the public to a panel presentation on May 7 at 7 p.m. titled, “Crafting a Brighter Future; The Power of Social Design” featuring Olivero, Wong, Whitbeck, Wurtzburger and Rebecca van Bergen, founder of artisan non-profit buildanest.org. Space is limited and attendees are encouraged to RSVP via https://atitlan.eventbrite.com to enjoy an evening of cocktails and a live DJ set by SteveTek.
An affordable collection of the Atitlán Project featuring colorful patterns and motifs is available now at select West Elm stores and online at www.WestElm.com/TheAtitlanProject, and includes items such as tote bags, decorative pillows, rugs + more with prices ranging from $34 to $1899. These works will also be on view at West Elm Chelsea located at 112 W. 18th St, New York, NY 10011 from May 13-May 22 as an official NYC Design Week exhibition. Half of the retail price for items in this assortment will be donated to Pintando el Cambio Association. To learn more about the Atitlán Project and to support Pintando el Cambio Association visit www.WestElm.com/TheAtitlanProject.
About West Elm
Born in Brooklyn in 2002, West Elm is a global design company dedicated to transforming people’s lives and spaces through creativity, style, and purpose. We create original, modern, and affordable home decor, and curate a global selection of local, ethically sourced, and Fair Trade Certified products available online and in 100+ stores worldwide. We are a part of Williams-Sonoma, Inc. (NYSE:WSM) and participate in The Key Rewards, a free-to-join loyalty program that offers members exclusive benefits across the family of brands.
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