Matteo Ferroni Architetto
via Case Sparse 124b
06063 Magione (PG), Italia

Fondazione eLand
via Lengina 4b
6965 Lugano, Switzerland


community garden in Mali © M.Ferroni

An italian architect has transformed life in a Mali village, The Guardian

Turning the tree shade into light

I wanted to overcome darkness in rural Mali homaging the richness of malian culture with a new tool, a new dimension, a new beauty. For a civilisation accustomed to the glimmer of flashlights and the moonlight, I created a tool to turn the tree shade into light and introduce a new yet ancient principle: illuminate life.

Collective light

Moving from Peter Kropotkin writings on independent communities, in 2010 I introduced the concept of collective light in rural Mali. Lighting tools owned by the village and shared for work education and cults, as a response to conventional public lighting solutions.

collective lighting tool © M.Ferroni


Fondazione eLand ran a wide experimentation in the 'Commune Rurale de Cinzana' with more than 100 lamps manufactured in local workshops and delivered to 15 villages. This new light, welcomed by villagers as Foroba Yelen, deeply integrated into the life of communities accustomed to the moonlight and the glimmer of flashlights, carrying outcomes of huge anthropological significance. Fondazione eLand will release a handbook to replicate the project in any of the 20.000 villages of Mali and provide potentially huge energy savings to the country. The project was awarded by the City of Barcelona with FAD and is permanently exhibited at the Biosphere de Montreal as an innovative model of integration between technology and nature.

excerpt from footage 2'30" © M.Ferroni


Concept and design Matteo Ferroni. Project run by Fondazione eLand in partnership with Association Faso Gnietaa and Rural Municipality of Cinzana with the support of FAD Fostering Arts and Design and Haus der Kulturen der Welt.


Alassane Dimbo Keita Association Faso Gnietaa, Yusuke Katsura JICA volunteer, Ruvani Fonseka Peace Corps volunteer, Mauro Favalli lighting engineer, Rokia Traoré musician, Valentina Dellavia scenographer, Youssouf Tata Cissé ethnologist, Aly Kouriba IER Mali, Rokia Traore musician, the women association of Sanogola village

FOROBA YELEN ® is a registered trademark, all rights reserved to Fondazione eLand.
All rights of images and videos reserved to © Matteo Ferroni.