Beef butchered and offered for sale by the village ton (youth collective) under Ferroni’s lights. Because of the climate, butchering must be done quickly and at night. In the space of a few hours the youths slaughter the bull, portion the meat, and call the villagers together by megaphone. The money raised supports the ton’s collective activities, including ceremonies, literacy classes, road repairs, and mosque maintenance.
Works That Workis a Netherlands-based international magazine about design founded and edited by Peter Biľak. The following story—about Italian architect Matteo Ferroni‘s mobile lamp design project that is bringing light to rural Mali—ran in Works That Work, No. 2. Ferroni’s project is also the subject of an exhibition running until May 4 at the Museo Nacional de Antropología of Madrid.
When visitors come to Africa they can suddenly find themselves “cracked open,” as the British writer Richard Dowden put it. One of the reasons is that life’s basic demands become more immediate: Everyday acts such as work, celebration, and education depend on the availability of essentials such as water, light, and food, items whose acquisition, at least in the vast rural areas, is rarely straightforward.
This was certainly the experience of Matteo Ferroni, an Italian architect who first visited Mali in 2010. In a relationship with a Malian singer at the time, he went with the intention of building an open-air theater near Ségou, 146 miles northeast of Mali’s capital Bamako.
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Forobla Yelen: Creating Collective Light for Safe Community Gatherings at Night — Watch video on Open Ideo com
Meaning “Collective Light,” Foroba Yelen is a portable street light system that was developed to improve the lives of Mali’s rural villages. In Mali, access to electricity from the grid is available to only 45% of the population. After a two year stay with the local community, architect Matteo Ferroni developed the design solution as a way to create opportunities at night where women and children can socialize and work. Built locally from recycled bicycle parts and powered by a battery that is charged by solar panels, the Forobla Yelen system was an affordable solution that empowered the Mali villagers to activate their nighttime activities.