On the outskirts of Nairobi, the rolling amber savanna hides an enchanted land filled with dragons, castles, and giants. Oh, and it’s all made of (recycled) glass…
Welcome to Kitengela—a wild “eco-topia” derived from the creative mind of Earth-conscious artist Nani Croze. Half “green” arts studio and half whimsical homestead, together Nani and her talented craftsmen explore the infinite power of the human imagination there, breathing new life into Kenya’s refuse as they transform broken glass into powerfully colorful (and totally sustainable) art pieces. From household items like cups and dishes to mobiles, masks, church windows, and museum installations, their sales and commissions reach people from all over the world, in turn sustaining themselves economically while also spreading their altruistic message of how arts and creativity can truly benefit the planet.
And that’s only the beginning of their conservation ideals.
Nani’s Kitengela is almost totally off-the-grid. They cultivate their own fuel sources (like solar) and grow organic crops. And waste? Well, their studio motto, “everything is unique and nothing is wasted” extends far beyond the arts and into their kitchens and farms, as table scraps, animal waste, and Africa’s most precious resource—WATER—are conserved, recycled, and reused (albeit in very eccentric ways – keeping with its imaginative theme). So beyond its whimsical approach, Kitengela Glass has become a fresh model for what green lifestyles (and individuals) can resemble in the 21st century.
But the true lesson of Kitengela lies within its founder…
Like Nani says, “all good artists need to starve and suffer” – so from escaping WWII Germany to being abandoned with three children on the African savanna, she’s definitely cultivated an artist’s angst. But she’s channeled it into something truly happy and productive—and best of all, this amazing sense of self and spirit has inspired others to do the same.
On the surface, Nani shows that one can transform trash into beauty, but at its core, it’s something greater. It’s the belief that one can create new life where only rubble once stood. And choosing to work with glass is not accidental. In the end, Nani proves that glass and the human spirit are one in the same—fragile, entirely breakable—but beautiful and unique when given the heart to shine.
And now, CineMap’s Emmy® nominated and award-winning team of industry professionals implore you to join her adventure. Once you immerse yourself in her innovative and colorful world, you’ll never look at glass (or our planet) the same again.
Director/Producer - Danny Mannina
Videographer - Robert Makovicka