Husk is pleased to present you this article written by Julia K. Ardila, founder of kriteria, a design publication devoted to changing perceptions of Latin America.
Using age-old craftsmanship, a mix of ancient and modern materials, and new shapes, Latin American designers represent a rapidly exploding segment of the contemporary design scene. Many emerging designers from this region take inspiration from international trends while upholding precolonial aesthetics that contrast with a mainly European-influenced design tradition. From Mexico to Argentina, here are twelve emerging Latin American design studios to keep your eye on.
Agnes Studio, Guatemala
Couple Gustavo Quintana and Estefanía de Ros of Guatemala City-based studio Agnes, spent two years researching pre- Columbian craftsmanship before launching their Living-Stone collection, an exploration of symbolism and the contrast between the past and the future, the still and the living. Living-Stone offers a revisionist history of Mesoamerican civilization in the case of there having been less European intrusion. Take the Altar console for instance, which explores a hypothetical evolution of Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican objects, combining the corn millstone (for grinding wheat) and sacrificial altar into an object that celebrates ritual in everyday modern life. A rare and striking approach.
Ana Buitrago, Colombia and United States
Ana Buitrago is another young Latin American artist to watch who presented her work at such significant platforms as New York’s Sight Unseen Offsite, Paris’ 1000 Vases at the Paris Design Week or even more sharply, the Medellin Design Week. The Colombian design student bases her porcelain pieces on an informed research of her cultural background, using texture and form to push the limits of the material and reference the natural world. Her handmade designs allude to modern geometric forms , and achieve harmony through a delicate balance and stacking. Like some of her previous creations, her porcelain and brass Double Arch Vase prioritizes geometry, proportion and equilibrium. An exemplary piece.
Sofía Campos, Mexico
Drawing inspiration from 1960s-era design and geometric shapes, Mexican designer Sofia Campos created the Crux Desk, consisting of a marble top and acrylic footing, and the Cosmos Mirror, featuring terrazzo details and steel. The Latin American designer stands out by designing refined pieces, to be part of the collectible design.
Comité de Proyectos, Mexico
Designers Andrea Flores and Lucía Soto founded their Mexico City studio, Comité de Proyectos, as a way to interpret design through a cultural lens . The objects in their collection draw inspiration from daily life, and are conceived through a long process of reflection and aesthetic research. Their Trama Table, , made of clear glass set atop green Tikal marble legs, was inspired by the 1979 Espacio Escultórico, a landmark monument erected in the middle of Mexico City, while the Entropía Bookshelf s a direct response to the devastating earthquake that struck Mexico City in 2017.
Inspired by Mexican anthropology, the Mexico based Latin American design studio by Hector Esrawe founded his Ewe label in collaboration with Spanish Manuel Bañó and Estonian-born Age Salajõ, employing traditional techniques of local craftsmen, and leaving out any machine intervention. The studio’s solid black Humo table features an oval-shaped top set on an off-center monolithic base. Then there’s the three-legged, black Ceniza Chair and the blown glass Magma lamps that echo molten lava.
Human design explores the value of human handiwork and craftsmanship. Panama City-based Fi by Sofia Alvarado, places human design at the center of its work, focusing on the small-scale production of furniture. Fi’s handmade Welcome Back collection, is inspired by the days gone by of interior design, drawing from several movements including Romanticism, Art Nouveau, Art Deco and Bauhaus, redirected through a contemporary lens. Metal is used throughout the collection, in particular the twisted rods reminiscent of old-fashioned metal welding, while a lively color palette references a time when design was meant to inspire and divert.
MOB projects, Chile and Portugal
Based in Lisbon and Santiago de Chile, MOB s an international design incubator that invites young creators from different parts of the world to submit furniture proposals in order to build bridges between ideas, places and markets. In 2018, MOB launched its first five pieces including the ambiguous CUE by OMMX, and the Isla vanity table by Chilean artist Ivan Navarro and Courtney Smith, a renowned American artist .
Platalea Studio, Mexico
A collection that literally smiles back at you? Look no further than Happiness, a playful furniture range full of the color and spontaneity that recalls the childhood experiences of its designers Lilia Corona and Rodrigo Lobato. Founded in 2017, Platalea Studio experiments with new materials and processes in order to create everyday objects that add diversion and amusement to daily life. Made in terrazzo, the colors and sculptural forms of the Happiness collection were inspired by those unresolved mysteries that ended up becoming lifelong obsessions.
Studio David Pompa, Mexico
Studio David Pompa makes contemporary objects using honest materials that celebrate the essence and craftsmanship of Mexico. The Austrian-Mexican studio’s collection showcases a varied use of materials that signal a return of sustainable production to Mexico. Take the Ambra lamp range for instance, which showcases the rich texture of cantera rosa, a dusty pink rock formed of volcanic ashes and lava. A mystic aura around an of quality work.
Studio Ries, Argentina
Argentina’s brief design history has been heavily swayed by the country’s largely European influence (mostly Italian and Spanish), so it comes as no surprise that Buenos Aires- based Studio Ries’ creations are a mixture of many styles and cultures that they’ve managed to make their own. Founded in 2016 by Marcos Altgelt and Tasio Picollo, the studio forms part of a surge of young designers creating a new avant-garde movement in the Argentinian capital. Using geometry, pattern theory, black steel frames, and industrial materials, Ries has created an aesthetic range that is as cohesive as it is engaging. Take for instance, Aro, a light, circular, three-legged chair with velvet upholstery; and Janus, a wall ornament recalling 90s-era graphic design, consisting of a round mirror, a circular grid and a zig-zag mesh tray. Nice work.
Claudia Suarez, Mexico and Italy
Architect and designer Claudia Suarez lives and works in Milan, Italy, but her work remains heavily influenced by her home country of Mexico. Unveiled during Mexico Design Week, her chair Ch'up is a tribute to the Mexican woman. It stands out for a combination of curvilinear and straight-edged lines that simultaneously represent the sensuality and power of the feminine. She chose to incorporate aluminum to simultaneously represent female strength and flexibility, and a light, desaturated salmon color to complement the smoothness of the chair’s form.
Sofía Véliz, Guatemala
Sofia Véliz runs her multidisciplinary practice in Guatemala City, where she focuses on the design of objects, furniture, sculptures and spatial interventions. Her practice underlines the importance of conceptual thinking and the use of both artisanal and industrial processes, incorporating a language that oscillates between the sculptural and functional with a strong emphasis on the construction of narratives through materiality and research. With her Ornamentos series, Véliz explores volcanic rock as a material, creating sculptures that are simultaneously functional.
A big thank you for this article and the wise eye of Julia K. Ardila on Latin American design actors, who deserve to be known.
➡ SEE ALSO: The interview of our founder on kriteria!
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