LCC Design School students Ashmi Mridul and GMD students Tamara Lewis and Sarah-Louise Bingley were selected by LCC and Route-Artlantique to travel to Senegal for two weeks and collaborate in a series of craft and design workshops with African artists with the objective of repurposing materials. Route was born in September 2014 in the bosom of Artlantique, a company that transforms the wood of old African fishing boats into design furniture. The workshops aimed to promote an exchange between African and European designers through the common language of creativity. Route-Artlantique, supported by LCC seeks to build a bridge of communication and understanding between different cultures.

“This is not a touristic or contemplative trip. The participants are in touch with a reality that calls for ideas to give answers to problems that affect Africans’ everyday lives” said Ramon Llonch who conceived the project and is working with a number of design courses in Universities across Europe. “Route-Artlantique is a passionate voyage across one of the epicentres of African creativity: Senegal. It is a dynamic route to different parts of the country following the steps of art with the aim of giving young designers the opportunity to share techniques and experiences with local artists in their own workshops.”

From LCC’S perspective Route has an academic approach but also a social dimension which fits with the philosophy at UAL. Route is a meaningful human experience that goes beyond design and has given the students a completely new way of collaborating and understanding into the value of materials, the importance of repurposing and insights into how enterprise and innovation can transform lives.