Ignacia Murtagh Turns Chile's Natural Landscape Into Furniture

Designer Ignacia Murtagh finds revelations in the poetic landscape of Chile.

Something about the country of Chile—perhaps its rich natural environment, its connection to the mountains and the sea—lends it a profound serenity. The country’s unforgettable geography and topography form its soul. That the land has spawned poets including Pablo Neruda, Vicente Huidobro, and Pablo de Rokha is no surprise. In the city of Santiago, with the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Andes mountains to the east, this sense of spirit is especially pronounced. For 26-year-old designer Ignacia Murtagh, who was born and raised in the capital city, Chile’s various native cultures “add extra value to the piece I create.”

“We live in a world where we’re surrounded by so many objects,” Murtagh says. “I like to design more meaningful objects,” Murtagh says. “I like to think that my pieces are like poetry—materialized poetry.” She continues, “I’m always paying attention to tiny details of nature that can be relevant in an object.”


Ignacia Murtagh's Work 4
Ignacia Murtagh's Work
Ignacia Murtagh's Work

Ignacia Murtagh's Work

Ignacia Murtagh's Work

by Carlos Molina B.
Ignacia Murtagh's Work

Sisa Founded in 2012 and run by Alejandra Cruz with her two partners, Trinidad Rodríguez (a trained industrial designer) and Elisa Rodríguez (a trained architect), the fashion label Sisa is "one of Chile's best standouts," Murtagh says. The brand, like Murtagh's studio, is global-minded: It manufactures all of its collections in Chile, but it sources materials locally, as well as from places like the United States and India. Nueva Costanera 3919, Local 102, Vitacura;

At this month’s ICFF in New York, Murtagh will unveil her latest creating: the Los Andes collection for American furniture manufacturer Bernhardt Design. Pulling inspiration from the Andes mountain range, the solid walnut line consists of a coffee table and two side tables. “The concept, or the essence, of the project,” she says, “was how landscape can be turned into furniture, and how very abrupt, sharp forms can be balanced with weightlessness, elegance, and slimness.”

The Bernhardt Design commission came about after the company’s president ad creative director, Jerry Helling, met Murtagh at the Design Junction fair during London Design Festival in 2013. There, Helling saw prototype versions of the Los Andes pieces, which were initially made with a ceramic top. “We needed to create pieces more suitable for industry and mass-production,” Murtagh says. Following a series of sketches, prototypes, and mockups, Murtagh and Helling decided on the all-wood result. “The table is angled, but at the same time soft, “she says. “Woodworking allows this. It’s versatile and limitless.”

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