Object of Desire: People of the Sun, Floret bar, Florence
Say hello, or good morning, to our latest makers – People of the Sun – and their Sleeping Animals collection. And if you love homeware with a difference, you’ll want to make time to browse this award-winning social enterprise’s daring designs
People of the Sun was founded by Maria Haralambidou in 2012, and gives artisans and artists of Malawi a platform to reach a wider audience, helping them make a bigger profit from their centuries-old techniques. She was inspired by her travels, where she’d often visit markets to shop the traditional crafts, but was struck by the poverty facing such talented makers. Cue, then, People of the Sun: when you shop the pieces, you directly support these indigenous craftsmen and women, helping them make a bigger profit and improve their quality of life. And in turn, you get access to one-of-a-kind pieces you wouldn’t normally encounter without trips to far-flung destinations.
The Sleeping Animals Collection is a range of handmade, hand-lacquered pots, inspired by sleeping animals native to Malawi, like elephants and giraffes. But there’s a playful twist: each is on its back, with skyward legs forming the lid of the storage compartment in its belly. No matter your room’s style, there’s a design to suit every space, from the teal ostrich to the coral rhino.
With their bright colours and fresh designs, the Sleeping Animals Collection is perfect for brightening up your summer dinner table, or as an unusual storage solution for keeping clutter at bay in your home office. But they make great gifts too: what better way to warm your heart than to give a house warming or birthday gift that’s sustainably made and supports people in need. If you’re really planning ahead, a sleeping crocodile pot is the perfect Christmas gift for that friend who has everything – each one is unique, thanks to their artisan, handcrafted design and production. Which makes them a storied statement piece, whether for yourself or someone else.