CUCULA gives concrete form to the visions of young people – with art, crafts and design. In the search for new forms and pragmatic solutions for necessary social change, from indifference to solidarity-based action, CUCULA focuses on rebellious initiative, do-it-yourself and do-it-together!
CUCULA sees itself as an experimental workshop for remodelling and assembling – creative interventions and impulses for shaping community. We create “furnishings” for communal spaces, urban niches, improvised parliaments – all potential laboratories for an open society.
CUCULA started in 2014 with a reinterpretation of the do-it-yourself furniture line autoprogettazione by Italian designer Enzo Mari and combined the design classic with the ideas of five young men from Mali and Niger. The five West Africans, who had fled across the Mediterranean to Italy and finally to Berlin, ended up in our Kreuzberg cultural centre after a gruelling time. In the Haussa language, CUCULA means: to put something together, to connect. This became the motto of our solidarity project. The Refugees Company for Crafts and Design gradually emerged from the design research and initial construction attempts, a small teaching organisation of its own, which from then on oscillated between an educational project and the profile of a start-up.
An important goal of the first CUCULA expedition was to create new perspectives and concrete paths on which the young furniture makers could try out their professional future in a self-determined way despite difficult existential conditions. 17 young refugees with very different biographies shaped CUCULA, many of whom were able to find their way into vocational training, a job and, in one case, self-employment.
Following in the footsteps of CUCULA, young Berliners are travelling around the city in 2019 and transforming the do-it-yourself approach into housing construction. Perhaps someone has already got to know the nomadic housing association CUCUwohnen . The first spontaneous buildings can be discovered in the Haus der Statistik.