Published on May 6, 2019

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Courtesy of West Elm

Consumerism can be a dirty word. We’re all for a seasonal refresh, but with things like sustainability and paring back on everyone’s brain, we’re making an effort to be more conscious about our retail footprint, focusing our shopping attentions on worthy collections. West Elm’s latest endeavor is one such collection. In partnership with the Pintando el Cambio Association, the retailer just launched a limited-time capsule line in two parts, called the Atitlán Project.

The Pintando el Cambio Association represents Santa Catarina Palopó, an impoverished lakeside Guatemalan town. Proceeds from the Atitlán Project go toward painting the houses of the locale in cheery colors and vibrant prints that reflect the town’s artisan culture. By painting the homes, the Association hopes to provide sustainable economic opportunities to its residents and draw international attention to the sleepy village. As for West Elm, the proceeds from the decor line are estimated to help paint around 70 percent of the town’s homes by the end of 2019.

West Elm’s Atitlán Project is a two-fold philanthropic effort. The first part is in the form of an auction, that will be live on paddle8.com from May 6 to May 22. Fourteen one-of-a-kind chairs and ottomans, each with fabric painstakingly hand-stitched on by local artisans, are available for purchase, with 100 percent of the proceeds benefiting the Association.

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Courtesy of West Elm

For those not able to splurge at an auction, the second part of the collection offers a more manageable way to make your online shopping habit count. A larger assortment of furniture and decor, created in partnership with West Elm collaborators Roar + Rabbit and Meso Goods, will be available to shop on westelm.com. Fifty percent of the proceeds from those colorful items benefit the Association.  

“The town of Santa Catarina Palopó was the inspiration behind this collection—you can see this through the vivid colors, shapes, patterns, and textiles that came to life with the products,” says Diego Olivero, the Guatemalan designer and cofounder of Meso Goods responsible for bringing the Association and West Elm together in 2017. “We were able to create prints and patterns that would celebrate the artisan techniques of wool weaving, hand-beading, and hand-embroidery.”

The Atitlán Project is truly a celebration of Guatemalan craftsmanship. Want to help support the goals of this tiny technicolor town? Hit up the virtual auction for a bespoke piece with a philanthropic touch. If your dream item is sold out (or simply out of your price range), don’t worry; the pieces available on westelm.com are equally beautiful. Shop our edit below.

If your living room is sorely lacking a pop of color, this chair will do the trick. With a cozy blanket and cushy pillow, it’s the ultimate reading nook accessory.

Why settle for a boring deck of cards when this set exists? Pack them up and bring them with you on your summer travels to make long layovers a little less miserable.

Speaking of summer travels, this bold beach towel will almost compete with the seaside backdrop as the prettiest item on the scene—almost.

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