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The New Language of Latin American Design

By Dwell @dwell
An exhibition showcases the experimental edge of the region's design culture. Slideshow Ikono Chair by Claudia & Harry Washington

Ikono Chair by Claudia & Harry Washington (2010)

This wooden chair with woven PVC string is a product of the Carrot Concept, a studio space and design incubator in El Salvador. The designers updated the classic circle chair concept with artisan weaving techniques.

Image courtesy of The Carrot Concept.

The exhibition "New Territories: Laboratories for Design, Craft and Art in Latin America" casts a wide net across cultural hubs, resulted in an energetic, often riotously colorful chorus of young voices.  

“Since the 20s and 30s, there’s been such a strong design history [in Latin America],” says Lowery Stokes Sims, curator of the exhibit, which runs from November 4 through April 6, 2015 at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York. “I really wanted to focus on young designers, because that’s where I saw new dialog growing out of tradition and legacy.”

The conversation Sims seeks to amplify reaches out in multiple directions. From Mexican designer Edgar Orlaineta’s sculptural work, which repurposes pieces of Eames chairs as part of a post-modern design statement, to numerous installations and furniture pieces based on upcycling and reimagined craft traditions, Sims found many designers creating their own hybrid practices.

“You see the upcycling and environmental consciousness in a lot of work,” says Sims. “A really prevalent theme is young designers committed to working with traditional folk art and indigenous communities, meaning their design practice works as a direct economic engine.”

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