WeBuilt: Africa is a design centered social enterprise focused, on designing and fabricating trade-specific market stalls for the vendors in the informal markets. The aim is to foster a market fit to generate the highest possible outcome in terms of productivity and sales of each vendor, create a customer friendly environment and help in developing community-driven social economy. Our ultimate goal is to empower vendors, traders and individuals alike, who have been neglected by society (scale / size of society depends on context i.e. state, national, global, communal, etc.); these individuals are the agents through whom the change that we all crave in Africa can be realized.
During the case studies, we have observed the positive effect design can in fact have on the psyche of both the trader and customers alike. By helping vendors more efficiently manage market space, the saner environment helps in the development of customer/trader relationships. These relationships will be the foundations upon which a “Productive Market Community” can be established. This sense of communal belonging has the potential to be somewhat therapeutic, and some of their customers do feel as marginalised as they do - they have been empowered not just to support themselves but others in this community as well.
Increased productivity and sales as indicated through the installation of our first case-study; the Bi-Table unit design for butchers in the markets. Our Bi-Table Unit is designed such that space is more efficiently utilised and as a result, bring about a noticeable improvement in the immediate market surroundings of the trader; and the market as a whole. Once mass produced, will give each vendor a sense of empowerment as well as encourages people to buy local produce from the informal markets.
The underlying obstacle of disorganization and clutter plaguing many informal market economies, stem primarily from the lack of vendors understanding design, and its effects; consciously and subconsciously on themselves and their customers in these open plan market spaces. As a result of the lack of an efficiently designed stall for each vendor (and indirectly, insufficient use of market space), on which a form of organization can be built upon, there is a recurring theme of decreased productivity and hostility from the vendors and customers respectively which results in the lowest possible outcome and failure to foster a customer friendly environment.
As a design centred enterprise, we have isolated this chaos and proposed a design solution to tackle it accordingly; to provide each vendor at the bottom of the pyramid, a platform for possible business and personal growth. As stated above, we anticipate a positive impact on a community-wide level. These traders will be financial empowered; which is one of the foundations that must be present for a relatively poor area to grow and develop into a thriving and self-sustaining community. the design approach is to isolate every trade, cutlery vendor, shoe vendor, fresh produce vendor, etc and develop a design concept beneficial for each particular trade as an individual entity; that is to say, a stall unit designed for a butcher would be different from that of a tomato vendor and of a mobile vendor.
WeBuilt Homes aims to redesign and fabricate low budget well designed contemporary homes for those at the bottom of the pyramid in hopes of providing the basic necessities with material sources from context. > photographs of a home in Oribanwa, Lagos. The structure is a one room one kitchen shack occupied by a young mother, Blessing and her two kids.
varying perforations allow for natural light and ventilation in the space. It contains a bedroom, kitchen, shower cubicle, and a sales stall which is incorporated in order to cater to the vendor requirements of Blessing who trades to sustain her family.