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Aerocene in San Francisco – moving with MAFIA Bags handmade sculpture

Maristella Svampa

We are Mafia, a design and manufacturing studio based in San Francisco, California.

We upcycle sails, climbing rope, wetsuits, jackets, and other materials that come our way.  After that, out of it, we create a new bag. When you get a mafia bag, you’re also getting a piece of the ocean, supporting local community & sustainable practices. We celebrate individual identity through unique designs and materials that become alive again as the wind and sea.

Our belief in a low-impact lifestyle guides every decision we make: our whole practice is based on seeing things in new ways, so we were really excited to make a large-scale Aerocene Sculpture.

The online instructions are great, and, using our previous experience and skills in design, we decided to make a few improvements, that we are here to share with the whole community. We work closely with North Sails in Sausalito for other projects and we knew that their sail loft is perfect for making big things out of fabric because they have huge working tables.

One of the major changes we made was to use seam stick for every seam: this simple action strengthens the seam and also makes it air-tight. (The seam stick should be placed along the whole length of the fabric before stitching. In this way you ensure that the three panels will have exactly the same size, by avoiding the uneven machine pull, and will make the shape of the Aerocene look smooth).

We also replaced the straight stitch with a triple-step zig-zag stitch. This creates a very strong seam without a straight perforation line.

After that, the connection between the Aerocene and the line was slightly changed. We stitched a “pigtail” (a rope with a knot) into a corner of the Aerocene, and added a loop to the end of the line. This made it super easy to set up.

The Aerocene, without the backpack, took two experienced people one whole workday to make, a huge table and a good sewer are highly recommended. After building it up, leave everything there, go outside, launch it, and you will see the sky in a different way.

Made by human hands, wind and sun the Aerocene becomes a living part of the atmosphere, floating toward a new era.