After 3 weeks in Vientiane, I finally settled down in Phonsavan and actually started to WORK. One of my first assignments will be to design a souvenir-shop / small exhibition at Ban Napia. This village is about 1 hour from Phonsavan on a dirty road (very diffcult to reach during rainy season).
Ban Napia is famous for making spoons out of scrap aluminium (in the past mostly from bomb scrap). Out of a collaboration between the local spoon-makers, Helvetas, the RISE-project and Article22, a new product (a bracelet) was developed, which is mainly sold to tourists. (some images will follow soon) Ideas for new, easy-to-make products are very welcome!
Helvetas and GIZ also supported the village with building a weaving house – another important local craft and additional source of income for local people. The souvenir-shop is intended to be inside the weaving house and my work will be to draft and design the whole shop (and it’s products) – so it will be exhibition, interior, product and graphic design. And packaging and probably also photography. Uff!!! Very interesting and very challenging and I’m already excited about the result!
It was also interesting to listen to the local people. They started a village-fund and were telling us that they had to pay some tax (around 50 Euros which is a lot for them) without getting a recipe. It makes me really sad to hear such stories – we are here to improve standards of living but some people only make life of locals more difficult…