Yet for me, the most meaningful of the Camper Together projects comes from the curious and original mind of Curro Claret. The work of the Barcelona-based industrial designer is rarely seen on the pages of glossy designer magazines, yet he is well respected within the city’s creative community. Claret is more concerned with function and the social and experiential role of design – the added value that goes beyond its price tag – than the latest trends from Milan. “I refuse to accept the belief that design is the domain of the rich and sophisticated,” he states in Retrato Imperfecto de Curro Claret, a book published by Camper to commemorate the opening of their new Madrid shop.
This is the second project Claret has carried out for Camper after an interior made for their Barcelona Plaça Catalunya shop in 2012. Like that project, the ‘design team’, consisted of a group of people who are, or have been homeless, or what we like to term ‘marginal’. Working together with the Fundación San Martín de Porres, and using upcycled material from the store’s previous furniture and fittings, the team transformed the store in Calle Preciados into a bright space where shoestrings from out-of-catalogue models were made into curtains and lampshades, recycled elements transformed into shelving and stools, and old Camper advertising posters reproduced in oils to adorn the walls.
Claret is clear to point out that the project was about work, not charity. It was about implicating the men and women in the design process, teaching skills and reaching agreements on what would make an attractive store that transmitted the brand’s values.
“I hope it doesn’t stop here,” said Claret at the store opening. “ And there are other companies out there that understand this is not about charity, but rather exploring ways we can make the underprivileged feel valid and creatively alive.” Amen to that.