London Design Festival 2014: design website Standseven has launched its first limited-edition product this week with a stool shaped like the number seven by London architect David Adjaye (+ interview).
David Adjaye's Stool 7 is welded from recycled metal into a seven-shaped profile, with a solid flat seat and two angled legs.
A thin footrest is titled in the opposite direction to the legs, looping around the elements and resting on the floor to provide support. The seat has been created as a limited edition of 40 pieces.
The stool is the first exclusive product to be launched by Standseven – a new online design destination that is working with artists, designers and architects to make limited-edition pieces that in some way create educational or employment opportunities.
"We wanted to launch the website with a product and a collaboration that really explained that we're a bridge between high-end design and off-the-grid communities," said Tamaryn White, who founded the company with Ikena Carreira. "David's work really gets that message across."
Every stool sold by Standseven will pay for one child's fees at a school in Sierra Leone's Kono diamond district, run by Shine On Sierra Leone.
"I strongly believe that design/aesthetics and positive social or ethical impact do not need to be mutually exclusive," White told Dezeen. "We offer our customers the opportunity to buy fantastic, beautiful products for their home and lifestyle, that not only are 'no harm' but that also do a positive good."
The launch party was hosted by the founders, Adjaye and designer Ross Lovegrove, who has designed a shell-shaped candleholder for the brand that will be made by a group of women artisans in Rwanda.
"Ross has been a great supporter of Standseven from the beginning," said White. "He believes in the business."
Read our interview with Tamaryn White below:
Dan Howarth: What is Standseven?
Tamaryn White: Standseven is online destination that offers high end design products that have a social or ethical impact. We work with prestigious artists, designers and architects to produce exclusive, limited-edition products that have a social impact, creating educational or employment opportunities. We also work with artisans in off-the-grid communities around the world that have beautiful products that are ethical, incorporating them into an international supply chain.
Dan Howarth: Why did you set up the business?
Tamaryn White: We really believe that design can change the world. We spotted an opportunity to work with communities in off-the-grid locations all over the world by providing them a route to market, through a for-profit business model that creates sustainable employment and growth. This way, lasting change is possible. Can selling a table or a necklace really make a difference? Well, yes it can actually. One of our suppliers has changed the lives of people in its community, by lifting them out of the 'poverty' of earning $4 to earning $28 a day. This means the difference of being able to eat properly, buy a home and send their children to school. This is not some unattainable sum, it is a practical and measurable way to include human dignity into consumerism.
Dan Howarth: What makes you different from other design companies?
Tamaryn White: Everything that we do. I strongly believe that design and aesthetics, and positive social or ethical impact do not need need to be mutually exclusive. We offer our customers the opportunity to buy fantastic, beautiful products for their home and lifestyle, that not only are 'no harm' but that also do a positive good. You can shop and feel good at the same time. We also offer the opportunity for complete transparency on our products, by clearly labelling with our own ethical standards. We also tell the story behind the products, about the incredible people, artisans and designers that work so diligently through original videos on the suppliers and original copy.
Dan Howarth: How did the Adjaye collaboration come about?
Tamaryn White: We wanted to launch the website with a product and a collaboration that really explained that we're a bridge between high-end design and off-the-grid communities. David's work really gets that message across. It has a powerful integrity – it's innovative in both aesthetic and technology. He works at the community level and with artists and designers and of course his work is very international, with a very strong presence in Africa.
Dan Howarth: How did Ross Lovegrove get involved?
Tamaryn White: Ross has been a great supporter of Standseven from the beginning. He believes in the business, he believes in the team and he is excited to produce an exclusive product for Standseven. We will be working with a group of artisan women in Rwanda to produce the candle insert for the candle holder.
Dan Howarth: Are you doing any more collaborations like this in the future?
Tamaryn White: Yes of course. We are working on a few collaborations at the moment that are very high level, however they are under wraps as they are still in development phase.