Design Matters: 100 Fontane – Fantini for AfricaAuthor:Lindsey Shook
The water crisis in Africa continues to be one of the biggest issues plaguing the continent. Since 2012, family-owned Italian kitchen and bath manufacturer has been working to eradicate this problem by tying the sales of their iconic designs directly to the installation of clean wells. Learn from managing director Riccardo Conti, how their I Balocchi collection (available at ) is improving the lives of many.
How did the program come about?
It all started in 2010 during a personal trip to Burundi, Africa, when Daniela Fantini (daughter of the founder) and I joined a mission led by Rotary International, which was building schools and hospitals. Fantini, as a company and family, was a sponsor of the hospital project. While there, we saw the most critical issue for the community was gaining access to clean drinking water, so two years later we launched the project—100 Fontane: Fantini for Africa—aimed at building 100 fountains to serve roughly 20,000 people.
How does the company contribute to the program?
It is self-funded by Fantini; we coordinate the labor, permits and construction materials. In 2013 we reintroduced our iconic I Balocchi collection (launched in the ’70s and later discontinued in the mid ’90s), donating all proceeds from the sale of the collection to directly support the project. The collection is particularly special as it made history in the world of design because of the innovation and introduction of color.
Since the program’s inception, how many fountains have been installed?
More than 150 fountains have been installed, covering almost 20 miles, with the relaunch of the I Balocchi collection and the donation of the proceeds from the sales. As a symbol of the success, we started marking each fountain built from that point on by pouring the iconic cross handle of this faucet in the concrete.
What is next for the program?
We are actively involved in reconstructing the program’s mission in Masango, which we use as a base for our humanitarian efforts in that region. The goal
is to enhance the overall initiative in order to encourage more volunteers and doctors to participate in future missions.
How can the design community get involved with the program?
By supporting Fantini’s mission and specifying the I Balocchi collection, which will directly contribute to the expansion of our humanitarian efforts aimed at bringing clean drinking water to the community of Masango.
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