Looking for a way to spruce up your porch or back patio, but don’t want to buy the cheap plastic furniture all the stores are hawking? Stephen Burkes, a self-proclaimed “design activist” from NYC, might have the solution for you. Burkes recently debuted a line of chic outdoor furniture that’s not only friendly to the planet, it’s a constant reminder items made by hand will always be of higher quality and more beautiful than those churned out by a machine.
As pointed out in this review, Burkes’ new collection, called “Dala,” is meant to “champion the adoption of traditional crafts into the realms of modern design to ensure that these arts are preserved and develop as a part of the natural progression of design.” Each element in the line draws inspiration from handicrafts and other traditional artistic influences from Senegal. Burkes hopes that by incorporating crafts into upscale design work, the collection will benefit artisans and communities who have preserved these skills.
Inspired by improvised seating in the developing world, Dala is Stephen’s first collaboration with woven outdoor furniture manufacturer Dedon. According to Burkes’ website, Dala means “to make” in Senegalese and “to take” in Tagalog, the language of the Philippines, where the designer spent over a week collaborating with artisans there to perfect the collection.
Preserving a traditional hand craft isn’t the only philanthropic element about the Dala collection, however. The colorful fabrics of each element, whether it be chair, ottoman, or table, are made from recyclable extrude polyethylene and recycled packaging used in the food and drink industry. The fabrics are then woven around a frame of lightweight, powered aluminum. Depending on your mood, the collection is offered in three hues- Sea, Grass and Fire. More in the video below.