Design For…

design for is a non-profit organisation, funded by Nanyang Technological University’s New Silk Road Grant. It is an open platform for collaborations on social design projects.

In developing a network of collaborators, we aspire to create design solutions for the good of the individual and for a better society. Ultimately, our goal is to achieve holistic solutions for a sustainable world.

The name design for is a catalyst for the possibilities of design with a humanistic view; members of design for intentionally focus on designing for good, for people, and for cultural preservation.

Utilising scholarly research, we advocate cultural understanding and preservation by using design as a dialogue. Through this dialogue, we aim to translate, reinterpret, adapt, and try out new ideas and forms in traditional crafts for contemporary living.

As part of our work with communities, we share cultural information and aim to promote ethical consumerism for sustainable livings.

The concept of design for is built upon models of Asian apprenticeships that are based on the methods of traditional craftsmanship and the adoption of a hands-on, process-driven method. By visiting craft villages and learning from the original artisans themselves, we come to understand their philosophy of life, learn from their techniques, and derive a wealth of knowledge that is slowly fading away today. This leads to a model of research into meaning, conception of designs by making, and fostering human relationships through sharing.

Historically in the Asian cultures, there are strong links between craft, design, and meaning as the basis of the sense of cultural identity: the people live with a respect for nature and an appreciation of tradition. Collaborators in design for see the value in this perspective and seek to apply it to our Southeast Asian region, which is rich in heritage, culture, and craftsmanship.

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Mae Fah Lung Foundation 

The Mae Fah Luang Foundation under Royal Patronage (MFLF) is a private non-profit organization established to improve the quality of life of the people in poverty and deprived of opportunities. The Foundation provides the people in the project area with education, proper infrastructure, and legitimate ways to earn their living, while fostering co-existence between man and nature. It also encourages the conservation of Lanna and tribal arts, traditions and cultures.

One area of focus for The Mae Fah Luang Foundation is their alternative development (AD) programme. AD programs have helped villagers in remote areas, particularly ethnic minorities, reduce or quit their dependence on illicit crops and turn toward sustainable farming, while maintaining, or even improving, their income, and helping to reforest denuded mountainsides from their slash and burn cultivation.

By working with and alongside villagers, The Mae Fah Luang Foundation are discovering the importance of empowering locals to build livelihoods that generate income and a healthier environment for their communities.  

The problems faced by the villagers of hills of Doi Tung are not unlike those of El Meta in central Colombia which, in 2007, was one of Colombia’s top five municipalities with the largest coca cultivation area and potential cocaine production. A recent visit of Colombian officials to Doi Tung has proven to be a source of inspiration and renewed thinking surrounding how best to work with communities beset with problems of illicit drug crops.

See here for more information on the The Mae Fah Luang Foundation AD program in Doi Tung.

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