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Design Indaba Expo 2010: Moonbasket Lighting

Made in South Africa by local craftswomen, a line of crocheted globe lamps with a socially conscious twist

by Brian Fichtner in Design on 04 March 2010

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At the close of last week's Design Indaba conference in Cape Town, we had the opportunity to meander through the expo of over 260 impassioned exhibitors from around South Africa. While much of the work on view skewed toward accessories and jewelry, we found a handful of tremendous products for the home, including this beautiful collection of suspension lighting by designers Dani Le Roy and Laura Summs. Produced under the label Moonbasket, the duo combine their passion for knitting with a desire to aid impoverished communities in surrounding townships.

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Working out of a studio space in the rapidly developing Woodstock Industrial Centre (an area that has become a mecca for emerging artists and designers), Dani and Laura have been developing the new collection over just the past six months. Dani, with a background in art, interior design, styling and merchandising, began the project "on the very frayed end of a shoe string." She met Laura, "the crochet maniac," in the early days of the project, while seeking a consultant to hone the idea and train the team of women who would be responsible for the knit production. They've since become inseparable business partners.

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All components of Moonbasket suspension lighting are fabricated in Cape Town. Craftswomen hand-knit the crocheted patterns that dress the wire frames in Khayelitsha, one of the most troubled townships in the city. All of the women have an existing skill set, inherited from relatives or teachers, which the Moonbasket project helps both broaden and refine.

The lights come in unbleached cotton and neutral cotton twines, a variety of knit patterns, and in 10", 18" and 24" diameters. While not yet available in the US, we can think of a number of home interior boutiques in NYC alone that would do well to hang these lights in the window.

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