© 2019 The Cultural Intellectual Property Rights Initiative


 Power to the hands

 Enabling Slow Design Thinking through Heritage Wisdom

KraftMade means Marlene Stanciu and Alex Herberth living and working in the village of Cincu, Transylvania. They research sources and resources of archaic harmony and traditional craft techniques – why things were done in specific ways in relation to their originary geography.

They test and measure contemporary practicality of old ideas, of natural local materials and the slow circuit of design thinking, production, consumption and recycling.

Slow design, a concept probably first coined by Allistair Fuad-Luke in 2002, holistically addresses the balance of individual, socio-cultural, and environmental needs concerning the process, not only the outcome. Starting from the idea that more design or new design is not necessarily beneficial and that craft revival is perhaps the best survival and resilience strategy for a given region, KraftMade is developing and testing an educational method of conveying slow design thinking to various audiences.

KraftMade Programmes

KraftMade programmes include creating performative objects and exhibitions for design-to-make educational purposes (exhibiting at Romanian Design Week, Vienna Design Week, Design Center Madrid, Textile Arts Center New York);

KraftMaking the Future, a series of practical workshops devised for artists, designers, architects and makers to demonstrate the efficiency and practicality of industry alternatives and to de-standardise practices and aesthetics;

Architectural Restoration and Reconstruction training for local construction workers; revitalisation of Urzelnlaufen, a Transylvanian Saxon custom of chasing away winter and bad spirits and protection of ancient craft guild pride and secrets with the multi-ethnic participation of villagers from 3 to 80 years old (recently included in the UNESCO RURITAGE Programme).

These various interventions enable participants to immerse into local environments, observe and distil the soul of place. Through learning about archaic craft wisdom and hands-on making they understand how and why sustainable solutions are tied to the creative reuse of local resources; also, how they can independently deliver a high quality product or service through systemic slow-design thinking and hand-power.

       dog-sleigh, used in the past for dog-pulled locomotion (a version of our ½ 7B chair) made of oak and hand-woven wool covered with waxed leather, mounted on ancient transylvanian carriage springs and cca 1930s antique skis.  craft and design: Alex Herberth, woven textile: Marlene Stanciu; leather seat cover: Marcel Drăgan

Naturalism is an interesting concept. If even the magic and the divine could be depicted in the minutest details, handling the strings and the strokes of potential worlds, where are the boundaries, actually, in depicting our own reality as accurate as we want it? We create performative objects, because they tell a story and create their own context. These objects are speaking about melting boundaries between craft, art and design, sustainable resources and upcycling, heritage techniques and contemporaneity.

Power to the hands.


                                                                     Marlene Stanciu 

Ambassador of cultural sustainability, KraftMade conveys archaic craft wisdom as a viable strategy for the future and offers a bottom-up, replicable means of reconnecting communities while saving traditional techniques, architectures and landscapes.