Hello, I am Alessandra. I just finished my third year of BA Architecture at UCA, and my final project, is the outcome of all the skills I have developed throughout those three years:
ETSY’S CRAFT COMMUNITY INSTITUTION
The final project is situated in the Tower Hamlets borough, London, in an old veneer factory, attached to the Chisenhale Gallery building. The idea that started my concept was bringing awareness to the part of the craft community, and the crafts themselves, that are struggling to survive the changing times. Whilst researching I came across the craft heritage list, showing crafts with varying levels of endangerment that may soon disappear as the the skills required to practice them are not being passed to the future generations. Therefore, the professionals that have mastered these skills, might be our last hope to save these crafts before they cease to exist, becoming only history.
The idea of creating a programme that will teach the skills needed for the endangered crafts started by considering the fact that as a community people show the desire to support local businesses, rather than buying mass-produced objects imported into the country. There are also studies showing how an individual would prefer to know how the bought product was created, by who and where, in order to connect more with it and its creator. Thus, the idea of people preferring to shop in person, over e-commerce shopping, was added to my concept.
By considering e-commerce as a part of my brief, I came across Etsy as one of the biggest craft related e-commerce platforms and decided to create an in-person Etsy shop where people could buy their products physically, whilst simultaneously being able to see how they are created in the workshops situated in the same building. Therefore, creating an intimate connection between the seller and the customer, strengthening the communities preference for handmade items.
As a last addition to my programme, by looking at the area in which our site is situated and the high level of deprivation that the borough has, I implemented an apprenticeship programme where individuals from the community can learn new skills, that can be applied further into their future, thus continuing to practice the crafts that will hopefully no longer be endangered.
To see the evolution of my project, you can access the following link:
LinkedIn: Alessandra Moraru
Email address: [email protected]
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