Eco-friendly Furniture at RISE
When we were imagining how a facility – meant to promote cutting edge conservation research and address complex conservation challenges affecting the Serengeti ecosystem – ought to be, we knew that earth-conscious design was the way to go. So, in June 2020, when we completed the construction of RISE, our new research facility that has key components of sustainable design such as solar power, rainwater harvesting and the use of locally sourced materials, we were ecstatic. Yet, we wanted to do more. We reached out to as many local eco-conscious brands, and social enterprises as we could to furnish this building.
Here are the brands and businesses we supported:
We here at Grumeti are proud One Planet warriors and generally try to avoid plastic use, opting for more eco-friendly materials whenever possible. But, in the rare cases where we do have plastic waste, we always recycle through Dunia Designs – an eco-friendly design company specialising in up-cycling of plastic bottles, plastic bags & other recycled materials to create customised furniture. Thanks to this ongoing relationship, we were able to source a comfortable sofa set for the creative space and a crocodile sculpture for the lobby at RISE. Dunia Designs does not just turn trash into treasure; they also commit to educating youth, employing local people (especially women) and equipping other businesses with earth-conscious raw materials.
Shanga is another one of our One Planet partners – we’ve been recycling glass waste with them for years. Shanga is an environmentally conscious, social enterprise dedicated to employing people living with disabilities. For 13 years now, this social enterprise has created unique, high quality, handmade jewellery, glassware and homeware that incorporates recycled materials. Shanga’s products are sold in Tanzania, and all over the world, with profits reinvested back into developing opportunities to employ more people living with disabilities. The lights in the creative space room, the chandelier in the gallery and all glassware in RISE is from Shanga.
Adding character and a splash of colour to the bathrooms at RISE are WomenCraft decorative wall hangings. WomenCraft is a Fair Trade certified social enterprise in Ngara District in the remote northeast of Tanzania. Since its inception in 2007, WomenCraft has increased economic opportunity in the post-conflict, tri-border area of Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania by bringing rural women together, facilitating their growth and connecting their artistry to the global marketplace. Through WomenCraft, over 600 artisans advance themselves, raise stronger families, stimulate their communities and inspire the world around them.
The all-women production team at Inaya Zanzibar supplied the soap and lotions in the washrooms. Created from carefully selected African grown botanicals, oils, and essences using, whenever possible, organic and wild-harvested ingredients, Inaya’s products are both luxurious and eco-friendly. What drew us to Inaya is the fact that their products are handmade, hand-blended, hand-poured, and hand-packed in small batches to ensure optimum freshness, low waste and meticulous quality standards.
The pottery at RISE is hand-made in Arusha. Starfish Pottery products are wheel-thrown and hand-crafted from stoneware clay locally sourced. The business is woman-owned and produces in small batches with little to no waste.
RISE also has an outdoor table bench set from The Green Room. The set is made out of reclaimed wood by local artisans. All collections from The Green Room are designed and produced in Dar es Salaam, but they also feature products from over 40 other artisanal businesses in Tanzania and beyond. They also partner with many charities and organisations who they support through the sales of their products. The Green Room produces aesthetically, pleasing products that are also socially and environmentally responsible.
Beyond purchasing eco-conscious decor, we also opted to work with and train local carpenters to build some of the furniture right here on site. Using FSC certified wood, local carpenters custom-made all of the tables and workspaces.
While sourcing most of our furniture locally makes RISE the sustainable building we envisioned – in line with the overall ethos of the programs it will house – it also helps us stay true to our commitment to developing local communities. Many local businesses, especially ones that depend on tourism, have been negatively affected by COVID-19 so our purchases, though very small, have supported those businesses to stay afloat in these trying times.
If you can support these businesses, we encourage you to do so.