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Argentina in the global design ecosystem

Design London Festival 2022

The new ways of looking back over history enable us to discover other realities. Cultural creations and feats of design hailing from South America come together to nourish the vision of global modern and contemporary design. This exhibition showcases women, men and action groups who have managed to incorporate their searches and languages into the international circuits. Their alternative experiences enable an expansion of the discourses in graphic design, textile, clothing, product and architecture to flesh out the international narrative with the inclusion of new figures from Latin America. Since its beginnings, Argentine design has managed to integrate a social, cultural, geographic and symbolic diversity unique to this part of the world, and, from a base of much ingenuity and capacity for resilience, has served as the means of adaptation to a creative model that is diversified, dynamic and responsive to political and economic changes.   

The IDA Foundation (Research in Argentine Design) has since 2013 housed and disseminated the country’s largest design collection. This represents an effort of epic proportions, previously unseen in Latin America, and that in 2022 earned the award for Best Design Archive from Monocle magazine. 

On this occasion, IDA is showcasing a varied selection of iconic cases chosen according to their historic relevance: whether for their alternative discourses, regional aesthetics or technical innovations, these projects invite us to reconsider the tangible and intangible legacy that they contributed to the global history of design in the 20th and 21st century. These cases will be elaborated upon at the Conference that will be held on September 22nd at 6:30 p.m.

Comprising creatives based in Argentina and, in some cases, those who migrated to become involved in the major global scenes and movements, these figures explore the ambiguous spaces between design, art, craft, the technical and the scientific. Understanding cultural and design links is a strategic way of broadening and re-semanticizing the historic narrative with other disruptive ideas.

Through this event, we vindicate important creators such as the Italian-based, racing car designer Horacio Pagani; América Sánchez, who designed the communication system of the Barcelona ’92 Olympics; Mario Eskenazi, who has developed the identity of several spaces in Barcelona; Jorge Pensi and Alberto Lievore, a team dedicated to design the equipment and furniture of multiple European companies; the architect César Pelli, who is settled in the USA and has created monumental towers around the world; and Victoria Alonso, vice president of Marvel in Hollywood. Their unique experiences allow to expand the discourses of graphic, textile, clothing, and product design, as well as architecture, by incorporating new Latin American designers to the international narrative.

 

Emilio Ambasz

(Chaco, Argentina, 1943) is an architect and industrial designer, pioneer of green architecture. From 1968 to 1976, he was curator of the Department of Architecture and Design of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), in which he developed exhibitions such as Paris: May 1968. Posters of the student revolt and The Taxi Project: Realistic Solutions for Today. The Instituto Emilio Ambasz para el Estudio Conjunto del Ambiente Edificado y Natural was created in 2020 based on a donation granted by Ambasz to MoMA. With an integrative and innovative approach, he combined project and artistic practices, merging solid aesthetic and conceptual features. Among his eco-design architectural projects, the ACROS of Fukuoka (1995, Japan) and the Angel Hospital (2008, Italy) stand out. He is the creator of the ergonomic office seating system "Vertebra" (1974-75) which is part of the collections of MoMA and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He holds 220 industrial and mechanical patents, and has three awards from the prestigious Compasso d'Oro (Italy). 
 

Colette Boccara

(Paris, France, 1921 – Mendoza, Argentina, 2006) was an architect, artist and industrial ceramist.  In 1953, she founded Colbo, a company dedicated to the production of tableware in ceramic stoneware extracted from the Mendoza mountain range. Her artistic talent was reflected the enamel interventions she applied to her pieces, an aesthetic feature aligned with Concrete Art. She demonstrated her mastery of the technique and she diversified her products in a systemic way until the 80’s, when the firm closed due to the political context. The factory was reinstalled in 2007, thus vindicating the pioneering story of a woman who had successfully established a complete production chain that started with the collection of ore in high mountain environments and ended in innovative tableware. Her creations were adopted in gourmet circles, used by international chefs such as Gastón Acurio and Germán Martitegui. Her pieces are currently exported to Spain, France, and Belgium. She received the Grand Prize in the Design and Business category (2012) of the Ibero-American Design Biennial. The Boccara archive and Colbo’s pieces are part of the IDA Collection.
 

Diana Cabeza

Is a designer specialized in supports for community use in public spaces in natural and urban contexts. She graduated from Fine Arts School and later as an architect at Belgrano University. She has intervened public spaces in Tokio, Zurich, Washington DC, Paris, Tenerife and locations in Argentina. Books: “Grand Atlante del Design del 1850 a Oggi” by Enrico Morteo and “Le Dictionnaire Universal de Creatices” by Antoinette Fouque. Magazines: Domus, Abitare and The Plan, (Italy); Landscape Design (China); Selected Design (Bilbao); Summa + (Buenos Aires). Awards: Design Trajectory Prize by the National Arts Fund, Konex Platinum Award for Industrial Design, 17 Good Design Seal, Creative Woman Award Palermo University, First Prize in the National Competition for Urban Furniture for the City of Buenos Aires and the ICCF editors award, New York. Diana is an Academic member of the Argentine National Fine Arts Academy.
 

Alberto Churba

(Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1932) is a designer and plastic artist graduated from the National School of Fine Arts. Inspired by the Good Design trend, he was a pioneer who expanded the field of design in Argentina by working on furniture, textiles, carpets, and glass with a distinctive formal and technical handling. In 1960 he created the Ch Centro de Arte y Diseño Studio, a creative facility that operated for 30 years, where diverse projects were developed, including wooden, metal and acrylic furniture, textiles, set design and decoration, and exhibition material.
From his Argentina-based agency, he developed projects for such companies as Nef-Nelo (Switzerland). He also created decorative and utilitarian glass for firms such as Cristalería Querandí, Rigolleau (Argentina), and iittala (Finland). His sculptural armchair "Cinta" (1968) was incorporated into the collections of the Victoria & Albert Museum (London) and the Industrial Design Collection of MoMA (New York). It has been part of the IDA Collection since 2021. 
 

Nicolás García Mayor

(Bahía Blanca, Argentina, 1978) is an industrial designer and humanitarian entrepreneur who is an icon in social innovation at a global level. Founder of several companies and NGOs, he is a consultant for the United Nations and works on different continents developing projects for product design, transport, and architectural spaces. He is the creator of the C-Max System (2013), a temporary housing solution for emergency cases and catastrophes that is assembled in eleven minutes. During the pandemic, he redesigned this system to generate mobile units for Covid-19 cases. Currently, C-Max mobile hospitals have also been distributed in Ukraine to help people affected by the bombings. He was recognized by the UN in 2014 as one of the Ten Outstanding Young People of the World; two years later, the US granted him residency as Brilliant Talent. He organizes research groups in partnership with CONICET and the Instituto Balseiro in Argentina, the Masdar Institute in Abu Dhabi, the NiFEG (Nigeria Future Energy Group), and the Salzburg Seminar in Austria, among others.
 

Juan Gatti

(Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1950) is a versatile designer, artist and photographer.  He participated in the effervescent cultural scene of Buenos Aires during the 60s and 70s and designed the image of the emerging Argentine rock bands, thus designing album covers for artists such as Charly García, Luis Alberto Spinetta, Moris, and Pappo. Settled in Madrid in the late 70s, he developed the identity of the Spanish pop scene with his unique style that oscillated between pop and kitsch, while being the art director of the CBS company. He designed material for musicians such as Tequila, Alaska – Dinarama, Mecano, Ana Belén, and Miguel Bosé. His studio has developed projects for the fashion world, in particular for Vogue (Italy), Lagerfeld, Sybilla, Chloe, Lagerfeld, Jesús del Pozo, Loewe, and Zara. Since 1988 he has collaborated with Pedro Almodóvar, making the posters of films such as "Mujeres al Borde de un ataque de nervios", "Volver", and "La Piel Que Habito". His body of work was exhibited in the exhibitions "Signs of the century: 100 years of Graphic Design in Spain" (Museo Reina Sofía, 2000) and "The European Design Show" (Design Museum, London, 2005). He received the National Design Award (2004) and the Gold Medal for Merit in the Fine Arts (2010). Gatti's patrimonial fund is part of the IDA collection.

 

INVAP

INVAP (Applied Research) is an Argentine, leading company in the development of high-technology projects based in the province of Río Negro. INVAP, a state company founded in 1976, aimed to become a paradigmatic example of an industrial model that connected basic research with industry and explored relevant research areas, such as nuclear technology, defense, aerospace, security, environment, and medicine. It is dedicated to the design, integration, and construction of industrial plants, equipment, and devices in areas of high complexity such as nuclear energy, space technology, industrial technology, and medical and scientific equipment. INVAP's documentation is part of IDA's collection. ARSAT is a telecommunications company of the Argentine government that provides data transmission, telephone, and television services through terrestrial, air, and space infrastructure.
 

Edgardo Giménez

(Santa Fé, Argentina, 1942) is a plastic artist, sculptor, designer, architect, set designer, and decorator. He began his career as a young man in the field of advertising graphics, experimenting with pop and kitsch trends. In the sixties, he became a part of the artistic avant-garde through his participation in the Di Tella Institute. Praised by critics such as Pierre Restany, he became one of latin America's most important voices. His work is recognized worldwide, having obtained more than twenty awards. He has worked in film, theatre, advertising, and has held numerous art exhibitions. In architecture, he designed the "Blue House", exhibited in "Transformations in Modern Architecture" (MoMA, 1979). Taschen's editors, Jens Müller and Julius Wiedemann, proclaimed him a key leader in world communication projects. His graphic documents are safeguarded in the collections of IDA and ISLAA (Institute for Studies in Latin American Art). His pieces are part of the Getty Research Institute, the LACMA of Los Angeles, El Museo del Barrio, the Cooper-Hewitt, the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET), and MoMA.
 

Francisco Gómez Paz

(Salta, Argentina, 1975), is an industrial designer trained in Argentina and in Milan, at Domus Academy, where he has lived since 1998. His studio, created in 2004, has designed products for companies such as Artemide, Driade, Danese, Landscape Forms, Lensvelt, Luceplan, Olivetti, and Sector. His creations have been acknowledged with multiple awards: he received the Index Award “Design to Improve Life” granted by the Danish Crown in recognition of his project Solar bottle (2007), a piece that was also selected by the MoMA to join its Study Collection; he obtained the “Red Dot award - best of the best” for his “Mesh” lamp (2015), and two Compasso d'Oro awards, one for his Hope illumination device (2011) and, the other, for his ultra-light chair Eutopia (2021).
 

Grupo Austral

It was founded in 1937 by Catalonian Antonio Bonet and the Argentines Juan Kurchan and Jorge Ferrari Hardoy, architects aligned with the premises of the CIAM (International Congress of Modern Architecture) who connected with one another after working with Le Corbusier in Paris. The trio incorporated new concepts to architectural practice through the Austral Manifesto (published in 1939), thus betting on the creation of a transcendent and integral project during their collaborative phase, until 1941.
They developed the BKF armchair (1938), which stood out for its ergonomic and unstructured proposal, which perfectly fitted its first destination: the Casa de Estudio para Artistas in downtown Buenos Aires.  Renowned worldwide, the piece won the acquisition award of the Museum of Modern Art in New York (1941) and the Institute of Design of the Illinois Institute of Technology placed it among the 100 best industrial designs of modern times (1958). Known in the U.S. as a Butterfly chair, it became an emblem of the Californian style. Donated by Victoria Bonet to IDA, the iconic piece finally returned to Argentina after six decades in Barcelona.
 

Julio Le Parc

(Mendoza, Argentina, 1928) is one of the most outstanding Argentine creators of optical and ethical art worldwide. In 1958 he traveled to Paris, where he would later settle. He was a founding member of the GRAV (Groupe de Recherche d'Art Visuel) and member of the Atelier Populaire in the French May of 1968; in addition, he produced, alongside other artists, some of the posters from the series that advocated for the defense of human rights in Argentina in the World Cup 78. In addition to paintings and sculptures, he has devised large-format mobile installations that play with light and movement and are placed inside buildings. His body of work was exhibited in international institutions, such as the Daros Foundation-Latin America Switzerland (2005); the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, (2010-2011); the Centre Georges Pompidou-Metz (2011); the Palais in Tokyo (2013); and the Malba (2014). He has made posters and catalogues for his own exhibitions. In addition, he has designed every kind of objects, including porcelain for firms such as Sèvres and Bernardaud, jewlery for Chus Burés and MiniMasterpiece, packaging for Rutini winery, and silk scarves for Hermès.

Tomás Maldonado

(Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1922 - Milan, Italy, 2018) was a painter, designer, and theorist. Promoter of the Concrete Art-Invention Movement, he participated in the Argentine plastic art avant-garde. A trip through Europe in 1948 drove him towards design and pedagogy. Upon his return, in 1951, he created the magazine of art, architecture, design, and typography Nueva Visión (nv), alongside Alfredo Hlito and Carlos Méndez Mosquera. The project later turned into a publishing house. Associated with the latter and Jorge Grisetti, he established the first, modern graphic design and communication agency in the country, Axis (1951-1953). In 1954 he started teaching at the School of Ulm, invited by Max Bill. He played a key role in the establishment for almost ten years by restructuring the curriculum towards a scientific profile of design. Simultaneously, he worked for companies such as Erbe and Olivetti, where he co-developed with Ettore Sottsass the portable "Olivetti Valentine" machine.  In 1969, he settled in Italy; he became a professor at the University of Bologna (1971-1979) and the Polytechnic of Milan (1984-1997), whose Department of Industrial Design he founded; and directed the magazine Casabella (1977-1981). In addition to teaching in institutions in America, Europe and Asia, he was the author of countless books and specialized texts.
 

Metadesign

It was a design and communication studio specialized in institutional identity, signage, and advertising architecture created in 1964 by Fanny Fingermann (Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1938) and Eduardo Joselevich (Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1933-2012). At the time of its creation in Barcelona in 1977 it was known as Fototrama, however, after diversifying the services it offered, the studio was renamed MetaDesign. 
The studio’s most important invention was Fototrama® (1964), a highly successful signage system that was applied in signage material, store windows, stained glass, interior decoration, and artwork. This versatile image composition mechanism appealed to the psychology of configuration due to the use of plastic elements mounted on modular metal grills. He received the FAD Critics Award (1979) during his exhibition at the Fundación Miró in Barcelona and the system was exported to Mexico, Brazil, France, and Japan. In addition to public communication, the duo has developed modular furniture and standardized architecture. 
 

Cristián Mohaded

(Catamarca, Argentina, 1980) is a young industrial designer recognized worldwide for the handcraft-industrial quality that defines his pieces, as well as for his formal and technical experimentation. He develops a wide array of objects, from furniture and carpets to luminaire and taps. He has set a milestone in Latin American design by conceiving pieces for such companies as CC-Tapis, Gebrueder Thonet Vienna (Italy) and Roche Bobois (France). His pieces have been incorporated into the permanent collections of the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris and the Philadelphia Museum of Art; in addition to being part of the IDA Collection. He won the 2nd Vico Magistretti Prize, De Padova (Italy, 2017); he was selected by Marva Griffin as one of the "Rising Design of America Latina" creators at the Salone del Mobile in Milan (2018); and he won the "Best Design Collection 2021" by Createurs Design Awards (France) for its collection "Hybrid Species". He was chosen to represent his country with the "Monte Abierto" project as part of the design of the Argentine Pavilion at the London Design Biennal (2021).
 

Lucrecia Moyano

(Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1902 - 1998) was an artist, designer, watercolorist, decorator, and muralist, pioneer in venturing into the manufacturing world. Between 1934 and 1962, she was the artistic director of the Rigolleau glass factory, where she transformed its serial production lines and created unique pieces. Her pieces stand out for both decorative elements and practical function, as shown in the jars and glasses she designed. In the field of textile design, she worked for the carpet companies Dándolo and Primi and El Espartano, developing carpets with a lyrical and abstract style. She designed the interiors of buildings such as the traditional Harrods store, the grounds of the Sociedad Rural Argentina, and the Plaza Hotel. Renowned in Europe and the United States, her pieces were exhibited at the Universal Exhibition in Paris (1937), the World Fair in New York (1939), the Museum of Modern Art in Rio de Janeiro (1957), the Metropolitan Museum in New York (1959), and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington (1959).
 

Jorge Pensi

(Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1946) is an Argentine architect and designer based in Barcelona since 1975. There he set up a studio with Jorge Perrando and, later, Alberto Lievore. Since 1984 he directs Jorge Pensi Design Studio, dedicated to the design of furniture, lighting, and plays. An undisputed key player in the field of equipment and object design in Latin America, he is one of the experts featured in the book Seis diseñadores argentinos de Barcelona (Barcelona, Santa & Cole, 2006), edited by Norberto Chaves. 

 

Dalila Puzzovio

(Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1945) is a multifaceted creator. Recognized for her challenging character, she ventured into graphic, fashion, and costume design for cinema and theater, as well as into the creation of patterns for printed fabrics, art direction, architecture, and interior design. Puizzovio and the painter Charlie Squirru formed one of the most explosive couples of the Di Tella generation and local pop art circle during the 60’s. She was awarded the II Prize of the Di Tella Institute (1966) and the II Di Tella International Award (1967) for her design of the Double Platform shoes (produced by Grimoldi). Since 1998, she has continued focusing in her artistic creations and presenting solo exhibitions such as "Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960–1985" (Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, 2017); "International POP” (Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, 2015 - 2016); and "The Edge of Things: Dissident Art Under Repressive Regimes" (Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University, Michigan, 2019).
 

Renata Schussheim

(Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1949) is a wardrobe designer, set designer, graphic designer, plastic artist, and illustrator. She has developed wardrobe for approximately 200 plays and emblematic opera, ballet, theater, cinema, and video clip productions, both in Argentina and abroad. Her disruptive creations have been showcased in the stages of the Colón, San Martín, Cervantes and Luna Park stadiums, in Buenos Aires; the municipal theaters of Rio de Janeiro and San Pablo, the Grand Theatre in Geneva, and the Teatro Real in Madrid.
Her reputation has led her to work with eminent creators of the global cultural scene, such as the choreographer Oscar Araiz, the actor and director Jean François Casanovas, the dancer Julio Bocca, the Soviet conductor and cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, and the Spanish directors Lluís Pasqual and Emilio Sagi, and the Sara Baras Company. Her talent has also stood out in the national rock scene, through the photography, graphic design and integral sets she has designed for musicians like Serú Girán, Charly García, and Luis Alberto Spinetta. In 2006 the retrospective exhibition of Schussheim, "Epiphany", was held at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes.

 

Trimarchi

(TMDG) is a multi-format event of Latin American design that has brought together professional development workshops and entertainment in an unstructured program held since 2002 in the touristic city of Mar del Plata.  Sebastián "Acampante" Valdivia and Pablo "Pacheco" Gonzalez Díaz created the event aiming to promote direct experiences with design creators. The international design encounter took place in the Auditorium Theater during the first years, then it was moved to the Polideportivo stadium, thus fostering a more festive atmosphere. This pioneer global design convention gathers each year over 6000 designers that experience 3 days of intense conferences, workshops, exhibitions, parties, and creative networking with specialists and contemporary designers. In the micro-event, Buenas Noches Trimarchi, the audiovisual underground scene is celebrated with stage performances, projections, light installations, mappings, as well as original music, DJ's, and VJing. Recently, the organizers opened the TRI Club, which already has 2 headquarters that offer a permanent space for creative leisure. TMDG has published 14 books and 8 albums; has organized design courses and competitions in European and American countries; has associated with Domestika; and produced audiovisual pieces (Trimarchi Show).

 

Jessica Trosman

(Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1966) is a clothing designer who founded her eponymous firm in 2002, after concluding an outstanding creative partnership with Martin Churba. Expressing an avant-garde vision, her morphological innovations and textile developments opened the doors for her to present her collections in Paris and to sign a production and distribution agreement in Japan with the important Onward Kashiyama group. Chosen among the one hundred best designers in the world by the influential fashion books “Sample” (Phaidon Press) and “Fashion Now” (Taschen), her designs resonate in the world's leading fashion magazines. In 2011, the Government of the Argentine Republic awarded her a special recognition for her innovative export model. That same year, she sold her brand with the purpose to concentrate exclusively on her own textile research laboratory. The venture generated prestigious collaborations with haute couture houses, such as Chanel and avant-garde labels, such as Rick Owens. From 2013 to 2018 she ran JT, a conceptual brand that included several collaborations and capsule collections. Since then, she has embarked on her artistic career.

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London Design Festival
Argentina in the global design ecosystem - Embassy of Argentina
Creative Experience – From Argentina to the World
17 al 25 Sep 2022

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