The initiative links up with existing workshops that provide activities and jobs to makers with mental disabilities, psychiatric problems or addictions, and enables them to produce and sell pieces by well-known designers.
"By making, presenting and selling these meaningful products we create new possibilities for those who have difficulties to participate in society and in the labour market," Janssen told Dezeen. "That’s what we call socio-economics."
The first collection, called Hoot, was created in a collaboration with Piet Hein Eek and Woodworks, a woodworking shop in Tilburg Noord that teaches people with disabilities how to make furniture.
The result is a range of furniture made from chunky sections of scrap wood, painted in four shades of grey that were selected by Eek. The pieces include a dining table and bench, a cabinet with sliding doors, a console and a lectern.
"The idea is that it is not only occupational therapy but hopefully a structured way to raise funds with the products that I created, but only for a good cause," said Piet Hein Eek.
The second product line is a vase, pairing Roderick Vos with Artenzo, a centre for visual arts that works with people who have mental disabilities. The collaboration produces hand-made earthenware pots turned in a variety of shapes by Oswin, an autistic artist.
Each is topped with an identical ceramic crown designed by Vos, so although every pot is unique the circumference of the top needs to be the same.
The aim of the Social Label project is to connect healthcare providers, social enterprises and local businesses to create solutions that bring communities closer together. It is also bringing paid work to groups who traditionally found entering the workforce difficult.
The benefits of the project work for the designer too, as the team explained. "The designer enlarges his or her portfolio with a special cooperation, moving a value-based approach centre stage to address human dignity, slow design, attention and time."
Designs by painter Marc Mulders, product designer Dick van Hoff and visual artist Sigrid Calon are also in the pipeline, and Janssen expects there will be three new collaborations each year.
Photography is by Rene van der Hulst
Here's some information about Social Label:
Why 'Social Label'?
To discover and develop the individual qualities are important policy themes for the government and institutes in health. Art and culture are able to contribute. Creating something of special value, creating products that matter, products that are valued for their functional and aesthetic value is important to all of us, especially to people with a distance to the labour market. That’s what we call: 'Socio economics'.
Our world is changing rapidly. In our own environment, lets say The Netherlands, you can’t miss the signals given by the government. Budget cuts, decentralisation to local or regional government, accompanied by decreased budgets. Of course: people are not waiting for something to happen. The Dutch initiate new opportunities. One of them is really new and can be found in Brabant: Social Label.
What is 'Social Label'?
Social Label is a new concept for work and daily activities for people with a 'distance to the labour market'. Art and care are combined in this initiative in order to create new product lines. In each of the lines the social welfare workers will have an exclusive bond with a renowned designer. These products will be produced, presented and sold by workers in different social workforce centres.
The designer enlarges his or her portfolio with a very special cooperation, moving a value based approach centre stage addressing human dignity, slow design, attention and time. Social Label is an initiative of Amarant Group, Studio Boot and C-mone (Articipate!). They explicitly invite others to contribute and cooperate in order to bridge the gap of some of us to the labour market.