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Flooring Producer Supports Haiti Rebuilding Using 'Hands-on' Approach

July 9, 2010
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Environmental Design + Construction managing editor Derrick Teal participates in the Collage of Possibilities.


On January 12, the mother of all earthquakes devastated Haiti, particularly the capitol of Port-au-Prince. The 7.0-magnitude shocker claimed 250,000 lives, left more than 1 million people homeless, and reduced much of the country’s infrastructure to ruins.

Fast-forward seven months and, unfortunately, Haiti’s problems are yesterday’s news. The Gulf oil crises, global economic woes, and celebrity buffoonery have stolen the spotlight.

How soon we forget.

So when a collection of right-minded people come along with a program designed to help Haiti’s massive rebuilding project, even modestly, I am encouraged.

The folks at Johnsonite, a company that produces high-performance flooring systems, came up with an innovative way to donate product to the rebuilding while simultaneously involving designers and architects.

With the NeoCon World’s Trade Fair in Chicago as the backdrop, Johnsonite staff invited show-goers to participate in a “Collage of Possibilities.” For each flooring sample a visitor placed on the collage, Johnsonite added to its donations to Architecture for Humanity.

You got to love a charitable program that requires a “hands-on” involvement among the participants. By the end of the four-day event, Johnsonite donated 3,000 square feet of its Harmonium Linoleum Flooring to the cause.

In addition to helping yet-to-be-selected Haiti recipients replace their flooring, Johnsonite reminded thousands of professionals that the job of helping rebuild Haiti is just getting started.

"We believe our efforts to create positive change should extend beyond sustainable building products and practices and should reach into the communities those buildings serve,” said Diane Martel, VP, Environmental Planning and Strategy for Tarkett North America, Johnsonite’s parent company.

To learn more about San Francisco-based Architecture for Humanity, visit www.architectureforhumanity.org.
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