Guillermo Cameron MacLean and William Clark don’t see discarded cardboard and wood – they see an opportunity to create something that looks great, and to do some good. The duo formed the Estepa project in collaboration with the Margarita Barrientos Foundation. The result is a beautiful line of furniture and objects, including some seriously stunning lamps that help the world and its people while providing ambient light to any space.
Estepa’s purpose is to expand opportunities for the most disadvantaged sectors of society through training and work. Estepa’s lamps are made of cardboard and wood that has been cut into strips. Learning to craft the fixtures requires brief training, and the use of specially designed machines and tools that nearly eliminate the risk of injury.
Constructing the lamps involves cutting the materials into strips, bending them, and then gluing and assembling the pieces. The assembly is the only manual process. The team developed tools – such as cutting devices for the strips of cardboard and a machine to bend the strips in the correct way – after testing options already on the market and discovering that most crushed the cardboard or didn’t leave a clean edge. A 3D printer is used to create the parts of the tools and machines, as well as prototypes. Watch an Estepa lamp come to life in the project’s Vimeo video.
Even though Estepa’s lamps are crafted using discarded materials, there is a focus on the strength and durability of the products. It’s nearly impossible to tell that these beautiful pieces came from materials that were regarded as waste, since viewers only see a chic light that provides a warm glow.
MacLean says that the idea for the Estepa project arose from a desire to start something new after returning to Argentina after years of living abroad. He says that starting from scratch “allows you to choose which materials to work with, which people to work with, and what kind of things to do. Once you start trying, you realize whether you can do it or whether you have to recalculate.”