Good work: the Shoelaces lamp is made by Spanish people who have had a rough life

Spanish designer Curro Claret presents a project for the Spanish lighting company Metalarte – resulting from its collaboration with the Majorcan company, Camper, and the Arrels Foundation in Barcelona and San Martín de Porres Foundation in Madrid. The new lamp model is made with and is called Shoelaces and was presented for the first time to mark the grand opening of Palo Alto Market (Barcelona) Dec. 6-7.

The idea consists of a collection of lamps that are the result of a social project and a chain of actions undertaken around the same idea: involving a group of people at risk of social exclusion, who have lived rough in the past, in a design process, as an opportunity to assist in their recovery process. It has been carried out by Curro Claret with the collaboration of two institutions (the Arrels Foundation in Barcelona and the San Martín de Porres Foundation in Madrid), the support of two companies of international prestige in the design world (first Camper and now Metalarte) and the aid of many people who believe that design can also be used to create a better society.


Behind these lamps there is a unique story that can be summarized in three acts.

The first began in 2010 when Curro took part in a meeting on “Design against poverty,” called by the Ministries of Culture and Health. He designed “the Piece,” a simple metallic element designed to join parts and build furniture from reclaimed materials. He was given an award and used his idea to develop, with the Arrels Foundation workshop, a diverse collection of stools, tables and lamps, to illustrate its possibilities. He presented it in the Estrany de la Mota Gallery in 2011. Then he offered his idea to any organization that so requested, provided the furniture was made by more or less marginalized Eng groups, socially excluded or otherwise, as a way to help them in their situation.

In 2012 Camper took action and asked Curro to design and build one of its stores in Barcelona (calle Pelai, 13-37, in the Triangle Shopping Centre) based on his idea, with reclaimed materials and the collaboration of a group of people from the Arrels Foundation. The idea was not only to use them as labour to produce the furniture but to actively involved them in the process, offering them the chance to participate and make decisions on certain aspects of the design. This resulted in the curtains made from shoelaces that add colour and personality to the space. The collaboration model was a success and was repeated in Madrid (calle Preciados, 23) two years later, this time with the San Martín de Porres Foundation.

Shoelaces were also used to make lampshades for both stores, with such a striking result that it did not go unnoticed by Metalarte. This is, so far, the last act of this story. The lighting company has added another link to the chain and developed with Curro Claret a collection of lamps christened with the name of Shoelaces, which will be marketed as from January 2015. They will be made in the workshops of the Madrid foundation and be sent to the world’s major furnishing and lighting stores, on their own merit, as with the Camper stores, without using the social aspect as a claim.


Curro Claret (Barcelona, 1968) has dedicated a major part of his professional career to offering disadvantaged people new opportunities to feel valid and creatively active. He studied at the Elisava School in Barcelona and finished his training at the exclusive Central Saint Martins College of Art in London, but he is the antithesis of the typical image of a designer. In 2013 Claret received the Ciutat de Barcelona Award for his work, which is full of meaning and considers design a tool at the service of society.

The thought and method of Curro is contained in the book Imperfect Portrait of Curro Claret: Polyphonic Conversation on Design and Other Things, written by Oscar Guayabero and published by Camper. To mark the occasion of the presentation of Shoelaces in Palo Alto Market. a special retail edition has been published, limited to 60 numbered and signed copies printed by Nova Era on recycled paper. Lamps made in situ by people from the foundations and the display lamps themselves, mostly prototypes or unique items, will also be sold at very reasonable prices.


Arrels Foundation is an institution dedicated to caring for the homeless in the city of Barcelona since 1987. Its work is based on two pillars: meeting the needs of the homeless and accompanying them on their personal journey. It provides housing, food and social and health care to men and women who live rough on the streets, accompanying them on the long road back to independence.


San Martín de Porres Foundation was established in Madrid; since 1969, it has been dedicated to the care, promotion and development of actions in favour of the homeless and, in general, people lacking the economic resources to survive on their own, including mentally ill people. It does so through various social projects, some of them international, which include primary care, housing and employment.


Metalarte is a decorative lighting brand within the Luxonia Group, which is defined by a vision that mixes the contemporary with the traditional and the capacity to constantly move forwards and adapt to changing times. Since its foundation in 1932, Metalarte has maintained a catalogue that balances the future and the past, with a clear focus on Spanish design and its creators.


“Light is our reason to be” is the company motto. Luxonia develops and delivers the best integrated solutions for design, production and sales, adapting to the specific needs of every architectural project. Through the Troll, Metalarte and Sagelux brands, Luxonia provides a wide range of global solutions for technical, decorative and emergency lighting. Trust, security and flexibility are the foundation of our international success. With an HQ is Spain, the Luxonia Group has subsidiaries in Mexico, Peru, China, Poland, France, Italy, Germany and Hong Kong.

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