LiveinSlums and Giacomo Moor collaborate on functional furniture for Nairobi’s largest slum

‘Design for Communities’ by LiveinSlums and Giacomo Moor at Assab One (until 26 May 2023) puts the slum’s inhabitants at its heart

LiveinSlums and Giacomo Moor collaboration, benches and tables
(Image credit: LiveinSlums)

Urban regeneration is at the heart of a new initiative by designer Giacomo Moor and NGO LiveinSlums. ‘Design for Communities’, presented at Milan Design Week 2023 and on view until 26 May, draws on LiveinSlums’ years of experience in carrying out regeneration projects in one of Nairobi's largest slums, Mathare, focusing on reintegrating children and the young into school and work.

The group emphasises the importance of involving the communities inhabiting the spaces in the regeneration, in a bid for both long-term change and greater control over the living environment. It is a factor considered by Moor, who worked with the Mathare children on furniture prototypes for the dining hall and dormitory of the Why Not Academy, a school with 300 pupils. Children, paid for their contribution, also learnt lasting new techniques.

benches and tables

Photography: Onyango

(Image credit: LiveinSlums)

The emphasis is firmly on functionality for the furniture, which embodies a simple usability and eschews the need for complex machinery and methods, requiring only a chisel, square and pencil. Furniture subscribes to the production simplification philosophy, which sidesteps decoration focusing instead on clean lines. The system is easily adaptable, with a construction system composed of sequential joints which can also be applied to other pieces, such as beds, benches and tables. Table tops are part of a padlock system which mean they can be easily replaced once weathered, while the interlocking system as a whole making complex techniques accessible for community life.

benches and tables

Photography: Omar Sartor

(Image credit: LiveinSlums)

The public can discover the project in an exhibition hosted by Assab One, with ‘Design for Communities’ taking place in Milan. Furniture created by Moor will be displayed alongside an immersive photo installation, featuring photographers Francesco Giusti, Filippo Romano, Mattia Zoppellaro and Alessandro Treves, created for the School of Curiosity project, a school of photography which gives a platform to local authors as well as training new talent from the slum.

"Design for Communities" is on view until 26 May 2023 at Assab One
Via Privata Assab, 1 20132 Milano MI

Hannah Silver is the Art, Culture, Watches & Jewellery Editor of Wallpaper*. Since joining in 2019, she has overseen offbeat design trends and in-depth profiles, and written extensively across the worlds of culture and luxury. She enjoys meeting artists and designers, viewing exhibitions and conducting interviews on her frequent travels.