Here, we ask designers to take a selfie and give us an inside look at their life.
Studio location: Bogotá.
Describe what you make: I design one-of-a-kind, highly intricate, handmade pieces that are made with local crafts. Each object embraces the traditional motifs and patterns of the applied technique, but I reinterpret them, combining unexpected materials to create pieces rich in layers and textures. My interest lies in the process of how things are made and in the marriage of materials and techniques.
The most important thing you’ve designed to date: After designing one-of-a-kind headpieces and fashion accessories for almost ten years, Magnetic Midnight Maison is my first venture into furniture. This collection, which I’ve been working on for the last three years and designed specifically for 32 St. George at LAMB gallery, is an exploration and celebration of Colombian craft. It consists of more than 120 one-of-a-kind pieces and showcases the work of more than 80 artisans from all over the country, who specialize in more than 12 distinct traditional techniques.
Describe the problem your work solves: I hope through my work to transform how craft is perceived and to give it the recognition it deserves. Colombia has an immensely rich tradition of craftsmanship and so many techniques and materials. For me, it has always been important to work towards not only preserving, but also promoting the beauty of these crafts and the incredible talent of the artisans, especially because Colombia’s strengths have been long overshadowed by its violent and complicated history. It’s inspiring to work with and support these crafts, but it’s also important to do so, not only because it’s the source of livelihood for many of these communities, but is also a part of their material culture and history, a legacy passed down for generations, which is at risk of being lost.
Describe the project you are working on now: I’ve always had a fascination with artisanal objects from different countries, but I’ve spent the last three years researching much more in depth the techniques and crafts found in Colombia. This collection of furniture draws from a variety of cultural and historical references, as well as traditional techniques from across the world, such as inlay, weaving, quilting, and marquetry, and combines them with Colombian materials, such as werregue, iraca palm, and caña flecha. The collection brings together a worldview of craft seen through the lens of my own personal experience, reinterpreting it by drawing from my own roots as well as my travels.
It was very important to respect the nature of the materials—how and why they’ve traditionally been used, as well as study and understand each detail of their fabrication process in order to know how to work with and transform them, whilst staying true to their essence.
A new or forthcoming project we should know about: I’m launching Magnetic Midnight Maison: A Personal Anthology of Colombian Craft at 32 St. George at LAMB gallery in London on Nov. 16. Taking over the entire gallery, I designed everything: carpets, furniture, lamps, and even the wall hangings to create a space that would showcase and celebrate the beauty and diversity of Colombian craft. A beautiful catalog designed by Mestiza Estudio and photographed by Tinko Czetwertynski documents the research behind the exhibition.
What you absolutely must have in your studio: Books! Research is one of my favorite parts of the creative process. I also collect all kinds of objects: masks, baskets, and textiles whenever I travel, which are a huge source of inspiration that I keep in my studio.
What you do when you’re not working: When you have a creative mind and love what you do, you are inevitably always working. But I love traveling—it’s the ultimate source of inspiration.
Sources of creative envy: The artisans I work with. I’m always in awe of what they can make with their hands, their knowledge of materials, and the love for what they do.
The distraction you want to eliminate: Sometimes my own mind. I wish I could organize it so that I could focus on one idea at a time instead of having so many all at once!
Concrete or marble? Marble.
High-rise or townhouse? Townhouse.
Remember or forget? Remember.
Aliens or ghosts? Ghosts.
Dark or light? Shadows.