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Our Workshop + Nike Grind = Shack Life Solutions

We will explore using Nike grind to improve our shacks and shack life using real-life testing with 1:1 prototyping

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Our Workshop 182-070 is a nonprofit organisation based in Langa township in Cape Town. We are community-run and many of our members live in shacks. This proposal uses Luvuyo's self-built shack as an example but we would like to experiment with the materials throughout our township as follows:

Our workshop's proposal is to experiment with Nike Grind materials as a community in our actual homes and in other shared (public) spaces in Langa Township. The aim will be to find solutions to physical problems in and outside our homes like insulation, comfort, safety, beauty, storage, gardening... as well as to look at societal issues in township life - like inclusivity, public safety, communal amenities, basic health, hygiene, and comfort.

We have a shared workshop space at a cultural centre in Langa with basic tools and already use mostly 'waste' materials. This is an ideal opportunity for us to be somewhat supported in the work we are already doing... and to also be really directed to find life solutions rather than simply to make 'pretty things for tourists'.

Langa is a prime tourist destination in CT for 'township tours' which to be honest have warped the focus of many makers, designers and artists here - in that people make for the tourist market, where easy money is available. At Our Workshop we are trying to change this mindset (slowly to be sure) by addressing real life needs instead of just making what has always sold before.

We would love this to be a way to not HAVE to sell to tourists for a period of time - by having access to some funding - and to rather really focus on the growth of our existing township culture and our homes.

Company / Organization Name (if applicable)

Our Workshop 182-070 NPO

Website (if applicable) instagram @ourworkshopct

Which Nike Grind materials will your idea utilize?

  • Rubber Outsoles
  • Rubber Flashings
  • Rubber Granulate
  • EVA Foam Injection Scraps
  • EVA Foam Flashings
  • EVA Foam Sheets & Blocks
  • EVA Foam Components
  • Laminated EVA Foam
  • Laminated PU Foam
  • Mixed Apparel Textile
  • Mixed Footwear Textile
  • Footwear Fiber "Fluff"
  • Full Grain Leather Scraps
  • Split Leather Scraps Coated
  • Synthetic Leather

How specifically will these materials be incorporated into your solution?

We have already started to play with using fabric off-cuts from a local manufacturer in a starch based glue/bioplastic to make some small insulation panels. We need to further research fire-proofing/flame-retardants into the work (shack fires are a real threat). However, this is only one aspect of the possible work we want to explore. Basics like doormats, mattresses, pillows, draught excluders for wind, mosquito netting, waterproofing, flooring solutions, storage and organising systems for small space living, multi-functional objects (chairs that are shelves that are tables that are step-ladders etc.) A seriously interesting part of what we want to develop is also basic brackets and fixings for multiple uses inside and outside shacks - storage and maximising the use of space being of primary importance in shacks. Potentially, as we go through the design process these solutions could even lead to new substrates for actual shack building itself - so to enter the realm of architecture via the exploration of interior and furniture innovation.

Please include a visual (can be either 2D or 3D) representation/prototype of your concept. (required)

We are in VERY early stages of development, but we also can't work in a vacuum - i.e. we need the real materials to work with. We are entirely process driven and don't plan first, make later. We Do!

What is the current stage of development of your idea?

  • Research & Early Testing

Describe your target market. Who will benefit from your product?

Us. And other township dwellers in and around Langa - initially. Thereafter other township spaces (by teaching the skills we develop through the design process and our tests.We run monthly workshops already and this technology can therefore easily be added into our existing structure of sharing and caring. And community building. Then also on to other places where informal settlement is the norm. Doing this in conjunction with IDEO is an ideal way to build in the scalability of our work via web

How will you scale your idea? Please describe in detail your plan to scale your concept.

I believe firmly that starting small is a great way to start. So I forsee a good long period of playing, prototyping and testing in order to come up with some solid, practical, useful and cost-effective solutions for our lives in this world in Cape Town... however in partnership with IDEO and Nike we would ideally be able to reach out globally with open source plans and videos and workshops for EVERYONE!!!! Our whole existence is based on sharing TIME and KNOWLEDGE and being a resource for as many people as possible. Everyone needs a blanket in winter - we can show people how to make their own (or mattress etc. - this is where our belief in CRAFTSKILLS and handwork from the 20th century is focussed. Sharing the basics that everyone used to learn like stitching and weaving, but in a contemporary context with waste materials (small businesses may be an outcome of this but that would not be our focus - rather a kind of self-sustainability through time spent making trust and connection)

How is your idea innovative?

Shared workshop space in the context of township life is fresh and it is working. For so long, township life has been about self-protection and ensuring one's own safety... but sharing in the way we are already doing is a simple but VERY effective way to progress and grow new and valuable culture. We have been piloting this workshop inn Langa only since December 2017, and already we are attracting more members than we can accommodate in our one room - so this test we are already running is GOOD

What inspired this idea?

I (Heath) was involved with a project called the makerlibrary network previously. This is where I learned about sharing a space and community-building through workshop activities and simply allowing time to be spent together around simple ideas and material explorations. In the township its better!

Tell us about yourself and your team. What is your background and experience?

Heath is an artist/designer focused on social and environmental work. He asked how best art and design in South Africa could best be served. The answer: Our Workshop. We share. We are transparent. We are not hierarchical. It is OUR workshop not mine.

In what city are you located?

Cape Town

In what country are you located?

South Africa

What is your legal / organizational structure? (if applicable)

nonprofit organisation 182-070 NPO in RSA

Please describe how becoming a Top Idea will support the growth of your concept.

We are a solution in the making already, but this is an opportunity to make our infrastructure REAL... e.g. we can't even afford shelving or a sewing machine yet. We have not yet received any funding, and this seems like a seriously interesting and NEW innovative vehicle for NPO support. I think we are an ideal match.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Ann Marie Newton

Love your project! Wishing you lots of luck!
Also if you are interested in collaborating please check out our ideas...Nike Comm

Photo of Our Workshop

Aaaaahhhh!!!! Thanks so much!!! I'll check it out now...

Photo of Our Workshop

We haven’t moved into the 2nd round sadly but please see our bridgebuilder entry here

Photo of Ann Marie Newton

Will check it out.
We didn't move onto the next round either.
Good luck in all! Liked what you said about Play=Life!

Photo of Our Workshop


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