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Inspiration | Thread, Senegal

If you have been following us on Instagram for a while, you will know that we enjoy sharing things that inspire us. We often find design inspiration for our collections from architecture and design movements like the Bauhaus, where Anni and Josef Albers were leading pioneers.

In 1971, Josef Albers established a not-for-profit organisation to further "the revelation and evocation of vision through art." Today, the organisations supports projects, which follow the philosophical principles that Anni and Josef Albers lived by. The Josef & Anni Albers Foundation has been the driving force behind the development of Thread, an artist residency program where international and senegalese artists can gather, exchange, create and co-work with the local villagers in Sinthian, Senegal.

Designed pro-bono by Toshiko Mori Architect, Thread was built in collaboration with a team of local craftsmen and villagers, who provided their expertise and knowledge of working with local materials, such as bamboo, brick, and thatch. Thread is through and through a collaborative project between specialist in each their fields and skilled people from different cultures, which has resulted in a building nothing less of magnificent.

Thread cultural centre not only provides artist and artisans with a creative hub, the building itself is an incredibly outstanding and sustainable piece of art. Based on local customs to use thatch and steep slopes for water to run off buildings for water collection, Toshiko Mori Architect designed the roof of Thread to be constructed with a similar idea in mind, allowing rain water to run off the building into nearby water basins. This increases the accessibility to water for the local community, which besides for drinking and cooking, provides new agricultural opportunities. In addition, this smart water collection system greatly reduces the risk of water contamination compared to other local rain collection basin and wells.

Thread mixes local materials and traditional construction techniques with innovative design and architecture from Toshiko Mori Architect. Lead designer Jordan MacTavish came up with an innovative way to apply local materials in a new geometric way, creating a structure that benefits the local village.

The roof is constructed via a special thatching technique used commonly by Bassari people, an ethnic group in Senegal. During the construction of Thread, an expert Bassari thatcher taught the contractors the technique and oversaw the thatching process during the roof built.

From water collection, revitalisation of the local community, to providing a place for international and local artists to gather, be inspired and create, Thread is a hub full of culture and activity.

This project was made possible thanks to the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, who was the driving force behind the development of Thread, funding the construction as well as the operation and collaborating on its programming. The Joseph & Anni Albers Foundation chose this village for the project, as the result of a previously strong relationship with the local community.

Thread is an unforgettable building created by combining modern architecture and traditional craftsmanship and knowledge - a concept we at Collective-Stories live by.


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