From the Beach to the Boardroom: Unispace's 'Art for Impact' Program Partners with NGO to Turn 50,000 Ocean Plastic Bags into Office Art

The collaboration produced 30 unique tapestries for the offices of Unispace clients like Zoom Video Communications, Inc.

NEW YORK, March 08, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- In partnership with the NGO Casa Congo and Nicaraguan women’s collective Las Tejedoras, Unispace’s Art for Impact (AFI) program has helped to design and produce 30 unique tapestries for the offices of more than 20 global brands, including Unispace clients Zoom, Kraft-Heinz, Ford, and Deckers Brands, along with its own studio locations across Europe. The one-of-a-kind tapestries were designed by Unispace and woven by Las Tejedoras using more than 50,000 recycled plastic bags that once littered the coastal areas in Nicaragua. Today, the art pieces serve as inspiration for individual and corporate action in environmental conservation and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB).

A local collective of 17 women, Las Tejedoras has been crafting art from the waste on the Pacific Coast of Nicaragua since 2007. When they started, the beach was so overrun with plastic it was affecting tourism, the local economy, and posing a serious threat to marine species – specifically the turtles that use the beach for nesting. In 2018, Nicaraguan NGO Casa Congo, which is focused on climate change and local socio-economic development, began a collaboration with Las Tejedoras to provide pro-bono business tools and training to help the art collective expand the reach of their art worldwide.

“Las Tejedoras is a group of incredibly resilient women, and we wanted to find ways to enable them to take their vision and passion to the next level,” said Nicholas Kaspareck, Co-Founder & CEO, Casa Congo. “That’s where the partnership with Unispace came in. The more tapestries we produce and sell, the cleaner Nicaragua’s environment is going to be, and the more opportunities we’re creating for the local women.”

Unispace joined the fold in 2021, forming a partnership with both organizations to design an impact-driven product for the office sector through the firm’s Art for Impact (AFI) program. AFI helps Unispace clients bring their organizational DEIB and culture stories to life through partnerships with local artists, creating bespoke art that builds lasting community impact and memorable workplace experiences for employees aligned with each company’s goals and values.

“By building relationships with community agencies like Las Tejedoras and Casa Congo, we are providing clients like Zoom a framework, the tools and thought partnership to harness who they are and who they aspire to be; ultimately manifesting their stories in the physical space to drive cultural change, and create rich new experiences for their people,” said Chely Wright, Chief Diversity Officer, Unispace. “At the same time, this initiative promotes economic independence and social equity for the women of Las Tejedoras and a cleaner, safer environment for the turtle population in the area.”

In Zoom’s London office, one of Las Tejedoras bespoke art pieces adorns the wall. Made from 3,500 recycled plastic bags, it serves as a physical manifestation of the company’s brand and core value of care, including caring for the planet and its communities.

“In redesigning Zoom offices across EMEA, including our London Experience Center & Engagement Hub, it was a top priority to ensure our value of care – for the planet and our communities – was reflected in the physical space,” said Izabella Lorenz, Global Real Estate & Workplace Strategy, Zoom. “We wanted to ensure our spaces serve as a venue for community, connection and inspiration, and our partnership with Casa Congo and Las Tejedoras – envisioned and enabled by Unispace – allowed us to do just that.”

Art for Impact’s work with Las Tejedoras has now been recognized as a champion for sustainability within the office workplace sector with an award from The Sustainable Design Collective, and the program has enabled the women of Las Tejedoras to better support their families, invest in higher education for their children, and improve their daily lives.

“This has been a source of pride for us as Nicaraguan women to be able to protect our wildlife and natural habitat more broadly through our work,” said Senelia del Socorro Vargas Sevilla, President of Las Tejedoras Cooperative. “Not only have we helped to rid our beautiful coast of harmful plastic bags, but it has also provided me with a sense of greater purpose and means of income that I didn't have before.”

Learn more about how the Unispace Art for Impact program helps connect companies with their community through DEIB-focused art here.

About Unispace Group

Unispace Group is a global commercial strategy, design, and construction leader creating people-centric spaces with purpose across offices, life sciences facilities, hospitality and sports venues and retail spaces. Brands in the portfolio include experience design agency Downstream, laboratory fit-out specialist Unispace Life Sciences, and workplace design-build firm Unispace. Some of the biggest companies in the world are among its clients, including Hugo Boss, Biogen, Tata Consultancy Group, Boston Scientific, Orrick, and Las Vegas Raiders, to name a few. They have a presence across 25+ countries, and 800+ employees across the Americas, Asia, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

About Casa Congo

Casa Congo is a sustainability hub in El Astillero, Nicaragua, where local communities and international experts come together to create projects that address challenges in climate change, social inequality, and economic development. Casa Congo is supporting the growth of Las Tejedoras by providing seed funding, operational training, product design and developing a global marketplace to showcase their talent. Las Tejedoras, "The Weavers,” are a collective of 17 women in El Astillero who transform recycled plastic bags into artworks and fashion accessories. Their motto is "1 bolsa meno, 1 tortuga mas" (1 less plastic bag, 1 more turtle).

Caroline Thompson, Akrete
Phone: (847) 440-4831

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