The Friendly Fences Project

We are proud to present a new project by Umcebo Design, the Durban based art and craft consultancy, focused on making decor, lighting and public art pieces from recycled, reclaimed and other materials.

The project was developed by Kelly Lemans, a Dutch Social Studies Intern, who spent ten months in South Africa working with Umcebo Design. Kelly took recycling and used it as a vehicle to get the residents of the Glenwood suburb to come out from behind their fences to make decorative components out of recycled materials and  to decorate a fence in a local park. The idea was to not only create an awareness of recycling and its creative potential, but to get the residents to meet each other and to become a community force for good. Kelly has since returned to Holland, but the fence is now being upgraded and maintained in an ongoing effort to keep it an attractive feature of the park.
Robin Opperman, Umcebo’s Creative Director, wants to challenge all the negative notions around recycled art and wants the fence to be regularly updated, to look fresh and to remain a community asset. Through a series of upgrades, Umcebo hope to keep the fence in top condition, connected to the community and to help bolster the neighborhood’s status as the new creative hub of Durban.


The Glenwood Fence

In the following pictures of the Glenwood fence you will see fish made from cool drink bottles and Aluminium printing plates, small fish and sea stars made from the plastic of ice cream containers, barnacles made from recycled compact discs and flowers made from recycled Coke bottles.
The waste material is collected and delivered to Umcebo’s workshop by the community members who, in this way, have the opportunity to meet, socialize and create something together. In the context of the South African society this is an important and valuable aspect of this recycling activity.
Due to safety concerns in the cities, people in South Africa tend to live behind high walls and stay away from the parks which often become neglected.
Bringing people together in the parks, through recycling, will not only improve the image of these areas but also foster connections amongst people and, in turn, make the neighborhoods cleaner and safer.
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