Beauty, Purpose and Respect: Kitengela Hot Glass
Coffee tables mimicking crushed ice, gorgeous vases the color of the sea, majestic, bejeweled chandeliers, hip and chic glassware — all made from 100% recycled glass. Beauty with purpose; this is truly what Anselm Croze’s Kitengala Glass Studios in Kenya represents. Well off the beaten path, Anselm’s studio is a marvel of innovation, design and sustainability. While working with 365Playground, top names such as luxury hotel Sankara Nairobi have used Kitengela Hot Glass collections to integrate the beauty of design, the culture of the country and a respect for the environment into their experience.
Anselm’s studio produces chic, beautiful pieces of functional art that are each 100% recycled, 100% Kenyan. Working from a red-brick dome inspired by 15th century Flemish furnace design and by old English beehive glass houses, Anselm creates these unique, handmade works under a ceiling formed from more than 1,000 glass stars inset in the ceiling, mirroring portions of the night sky’s constellations.
More than simply beauty, however, Anselm has always focused on environmentally-friendly design. After returning to East Africa from glass blowing apprenticeships in France and Holland, Anselm met Finnish glassblower Mikko Merikallio, also a furnace builder and inventor. With Merikallio’s knowledge and Anselm’s initiative, they began to build a studio. With no electricity, they had to be self-powered, thus Merikallio helped build a steam-injected system utilizing recycled engine oil in order to get them started. And so even from the beginning, Kitengala Glass Studios developed from a friendly coexistence with the environment.