Patty Johnson Interview Part 3: Opportunity in Guyana

Establishing a role for a Canadian furniture designer in Guyana.

Qasim Virjee
Patty Johnson, Elise Hodson
March 2006
© 2006, Design Exchange. All Rights Reserved.


Establishing a role for a Canadian furniture in Guyana

"I started originally working in Guyana in 2000. I was hired on by the Canadian International Development Agency Consultancy. I was hired as a furniture design consultant for the furniture industry in Guyana. I'd never been to a third world country before but off I went for 21 days. During that time I visited 14 factories in Guyana. I got a very good chance to compare with Canada or the US what their furniture industry is about and also the obstacles faced by third world countries. It's almost a miracle that any industry exists but it does. I completed that consultancy and I was very moved by their efforts and the materials they were using there also fit very will with the kind of materials I had worked with previously. [...] I was actually really compelled and I really wanted to continue to work there. It was really hard to see a way to do that because the industry is not set up to work with designers, the infrastructure is not there to really allow design to flourish and what they need in addition to design is actually access to markets."

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