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Together with a village in rural Haiti, we will design and build a home that brings an ancient building material into the present.
Thank you to the 631 backers who made this campaign a success!  It's not too late to donate -- all rewards are still available through our online store.
Thank you to the 631 backers who made this campaign a success!  It's not too late to donate -- all rewards are still available through our online store.
631 backers pledged $85,566 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

Bamboo Renewal : Designing a modern bamboo home in Haiti project video thumbnail
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Bamboo Renewal : Designing a modern bamboo home in Haiti

$85,566

631

Update: Note to international bidders: to control shipping costs, we've limited shipping of some items to the United States. If you're elsewhere and want to pledge, contact us and we'll give you a shipping estimate.

We are collaborating with the people of Cormiers, Haiti to build a modern bamboo house for a local family. This structure is also a communal work of art and architecture – it will involve local teachers, farmers, artists, architects, and school kids in every aspect of its creation.

Last month, Hurricane Matthew brought more destruction to a place that has already suffered so much. As Haiti disappears from the daily headlines, the need for long-term economic recovery only grows. Please join us in providing good jobs and building something beautiful.

About Konbit Shelter

Konbit Shelter was started by artist Caledonia Curry (Swoon) after the devastating 2010 earthquake. In the months after the quake our team of artists, architects, engineers, and builders worked with locals to create a disaster-resilient community center for the village.

Together, we went on to construct two single-family homes that combined traditional materials with modern building technologies, and that were crafted with careful attention to detail, form, and light.

Monique and family at home
Monique and family at home

About the bamboo house

We want to continue this collaboration with the community by building a third house, this time using bamboo. The house is for Louisiana Pierre Louis and her family of five. Louisana lost her son and daughter-in-law in the earthquake, and their surviving children (Louisiana’s grandchildren) left Port Au Prince to come live with her in Cormiers.

When the community conducted a survey to determine which houses had sustained the most damage, and who was least able to repair or rebuild, Louisana and her family were chosen to receive the bamboo house as a part of Konbit Shelter’s long-running earthquake reconstruction and community building efforts. 

But the house will be much more than a dwelling. It will also be a multifaceted work of art and social architecture made with and for the local community — a structure built on relationships that is designed to bring bamboo as a building technology into the new millennium.

Joana Torres' rendering of the collaborative house design in progress
Joana Torres' rendering of the collaborative house design in progress

Why bamboo?

This year, we worked with farmers in Cormiers to help them realize their vision of planting crops of a super-strong variety of bamboo called Angustifolia Kunth (sometimes referred to as “vegetable steel”). They plan to use bamboo as a way to prevent erosion on hillsides, as food for their cattle, as a cash crop — and as a building material. 

Since it takes up to 12 years to become strong enough to be used for construction, the bamboo for this house will be sourced from nearby farms outside of Cormiers. But we hope that the house will serve as a model for how local bamboo can be used in creative and functional ways, expanding people’s imaginations about the possibilities for this crop.

Educational partnerships

While we were building the community center in 2010, we started to bring in art supplies and began running drawing classes for local kids. Their interest in, and enthusiasm for, not only art but also the construction process led us to the realization that we should create more lasting structures to involve Cormiers’ younger residents in our work. So we partnered with teachers in Cormiers to start the Klub Obzevetwa after-school program in 2014.

Each week, Klub Obzevetwa teachers introduce 30-40 local kids to arts, crafts, and building design concepts. We see this as a way to become even more intentional in our work — to slow down, listen to the community, remain connected, get to know people better over time, and have fun together. While we build the bamboo house, the students in Klub Obzevetwa will have a chance to work with us and learn about bamboo architecture, home design, and town planning. If a building can be an artwork and a model of possibility, we think it can be a teaching tool, too!

Klub Obzevetwa after school program, meets for a series of classes on architecture and neighborhood design
Klub Obzevetwa after school program, meets for a series of classes on architecture and neighborhood design

About the rewards

We are excited to connect you with the incredible creative energy of this region. Almost a dozen artists and craftspeople, many of whom who are also guest teachers at Klub Obzevetwa, have been working with us over the past six months to create rewards for this campaign. 

We are proud that the rewards offer tangible economic benefit to the community in two ways: first by providing jobs to local craftspeople who are working to create the pieces, and second, by cycling the money generated from these pieces back into the community through the construction of the house and the job and training opportunities it will provide. We are drawing on a rich tradition of woodcarving, beadwork, stone sculpture, hat making, embroidery, and crochet.   

Some of the rewards were designed by artist Caledonia Curry (Swoon), some were designed by local artists, and others were collaborations — but every reward is a labor of love.

Legendary Haitian wood carver Bonsy. Artists and craftsmen from the region have created almost all of the rewards which will help build this home.
Legendary Haitian wood carver Bonsy. Artists and craftsmen from the region have created almost all of the rewards which will help build this home.

 

$15 - Ra Ra Rattle
$15 - Ra Ra Rattle

 

$25 - Carved heart, river stone.
$25 - Carved heart, river stone.

 

$40 - Ra Ra marching band hat.
$40 - Ra Ra marching band hat.

 

Earrings - $50
Earrings - $50

 

$60 - Crochet designs
$60 - Crochet designs

 

$65 - Comb
$65 - Comb

 

$150 - Pennant
$150 - Pennant

 

$200 - Carved Stone Plate (in progress design pic)
$200 - Carved Stone Plate (in progress design pic)

 

$300 - Embroidered wall tapestry
$300 - Embroidered wall tapestry
$350 - Stone Carving
$350 - Stone Carving

 

                
$450 - Swoon Silk Screen Print
$450 - Swoon Silk Screen Print
 
$1,500 Collaborative stone and paper sculpture
$1,500 Collaborative stone and paper sculpture

 

$3,500 - Collaborative mixed media sculpture
$3,500 - Collaborative mixed media sculpture
 
$5,000 - 3 Artist studio tour
$5,000 - 3 Artist studio tour

 

$10,000 - Visit Cormiers!
$10,000 - Visit Cormiers!

 

  

Risks and challenges

Building:

Building projects have so many variables, and working with a new material in a post-hurricane climate is sure to be challenging.

For us, this is a project with a clear start and end date. We have worked with this community to build three structures in the past, and so we have a great deal of confidence in our team and in our ability to persevere even when obstacles arise and things get complicated.

Rewards:

Making and shipping handmade crafts from Haiti is also challenging. Sometimes things get lost or broken in transit, so patience is required. Each gift is hand made, so some variations are to be expected.

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Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    Customize Your Reward

    Want more than one reward? Contact us through the link our bio and we'll work out the details. Please note that some rewards will ship before the Christmas holiday -- others need time to get from Haiti to us to you.

    International bidders: to control shipping costs, we've limited shipping of some items to the United States. If you're elsewhere and want to pledge, contact us and we'll give you a shipping estimate.

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    Thank you!

    A photos postcard from Swoon and a backers-only video update from the build.

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    Ra Ra Rattle

    Tiny celebration machine! One rattle from Haiti's unparalleled month-long celebration, know as Ra Ra. 

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    49 backers
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    Carved Stone Heart

    Carved stone heart. Cut from the soft stones that are uniquely found along the riverbeds of Cormiers.

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    Hand-Made Hat

    Hand cut, hand stitched, and wildly fashionable. One artist-made cardboard hat. Also a Ra Ra celebration special.  

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Earrings

    One pair of earrings. Collaboration between designer Corinne Loperfido, and Swoon. Choose from one of two of Swoon's iconic cut-out designs. Materials: Laser-cut plexi. Color: Red.

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    Crocheted Clothing

    Designed and created by young designer Getchniada Falestine. Just 16 years old, this girl is on fire. Participate in this budding career by selecting a skirt, dress, shorts or undies, in one of her designs. Each item is unique, so there will be some surprises.

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    Pledge $65 or more About $65

    Wooden Comb

    Hand carved wooden hair comb. Designed by Swoon, this piece incorporates some of the architectural details designed for the second home created with Konbit Shelter and the residents of Cormiers. Carved by Vixon Lapointe, artist, wood carver, and Klub Obzvetwa teacher.

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    Embroidery (Pennant)

    Hand embroidered wall pennant, designed by Swoon, and embroidered by Mirta Louis Marc. Materials, fabric, sequins, embroidery beads, thread, carved hanging stick. Signed.

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    Stone Plate

    Hand carved stone plate, incorporating Swoon's sun and fish tails design, interpreted by stone carer Emmanuel Occilus. Signed.

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    15 backers
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    Embroidery (Snake)

    Hand embroidered by Louisana Pierre Louis, limited edition, signed wall hanging, designed by Swoon. 

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    Stone Sculpture

    Hand carved river stone relief sculpture. Local master sculptor Johnny Louis, interprets Swoon’s designs in this limited edition, signed stone wall hanging.

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    Pledge $450 or more About $450

    Swoon: Edline Silkscreen

    Swoon's portrait of Edline, one of the girls we work with in the Klub Obsevatwa after school program in Haiti. 13 color silskcreen print on archival Coventry Rag paper. Signed by Swoon in an edition of 250. WILL SHIP FOR XMAS.

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    Pledge $1,500 or more About $1,500

    Stone sculpture collaboration

    Carved stone mother and child sculpture with cut paper finishing and details. Local stone carver Johnny Louis, and Swoon collaborate to create a unique sculpture on the classic theme of mother and child.

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    Erzulie Fréda, Carved Wooden Relief

    Carved Wooden Relief. Legendary Haitian sculptor E. Boncy, and Swoon team up to create a collaborative relief sculpture based on Erzulie Fréda, lwa of love.

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    3 Artist Studio Tour

    Caledonia Curry and the Heliotrope Team take you on a tour of three of our favorite Brooklyn-based artist's studios. Get a firsthand look at the creative process in Zaria Forman and Tatyana Fazlalizadeh's studios. Also features some fun Brooklyn food treats. (Third participating artist TBA).

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    Trip to Haiti

    Visit Cormiers! During the spring build, you will be welcomed to visit Cormiers. The Konbit team will show you the ropes on the build site, take you to see local artists workshops, you will visit each of the 3 Konbit structures, be shown around to other local sights, get your feet wet in the river, and even guest teach an after school class if that suits your fancy. (Logistics will be taken care of, travel expenses not included.)

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Funding period

- (32 days)