Though dwarfed by the festival’s main contemporary art event, ZsONAMACO Design is a lively world of its own, featuring a remarkable selection of fashion, jewelry, interior decor and furniture. The category was an obvious success, with attendees enthusiastically walking out the door with pieces purchased right off the floor. Stylistically, exhibitors were as diverse as the industry itself, but one particular theme seemed to emanate throughout: designers looking toward the organic for inspiration. Here are a few favorites from this section of ZsONAMACO that appear as though they could have been born of nature itself.
Quite literally looking inward for her concepts, Mexico City jewelry designer Xanath Lammoglia‘s pieces could be the product of an archaeological excavation. Lammoglia mixes natural elements such as shell and stone with modern fabrication techniques to create cuffs that look like antlers plucked from an unknown creature, and necklaces that would best befit a mythical sea goddess of some sort. Lammoglia’s “Bone Up” collar necklace is a particular show-stopper—we quite literally stopped when we spotted Lammoglia wearing the piece elsewhere in the fair to ask her about it—available in matte black, gold or silver plate, and, most obviously, bone white.
A product of a collaboration with local glass designers at Nouvel Studio, Mexico City-based EWE Studio debuted its globular Magma lighting collection this past weekend. The fixtures, which are made for wall, floor, and ceiling with amber light glowing from beneath bubbled glass. The designers honor their process in naming the collection; the glass was actually moulded inside native volcanic stone, hand-carved by the stonemasons at EWE. The result is an ancient and terrestrial magic that adheres to the studio’s dedication to ignite connection to the divine.
Sculptor and designer Eduardo Olbes confesses that he loves stone as though it is an intimate partner, and it is perhaps for this reason that aspects of femininity and fertility pop up frequently in his work. Creating both utilitarian and decorative pieces, Olbes carves sculptures reminiscent of the ancient crop deities of his native Philippines, and looks back to pre-colonial cultures in which women had equity in property ownership, politics, and relationship. Olbes also has a delightful sense of humor, adding breasts or nipples to pieces in a way that manages to completely avoid any sense of vulgarity.
Every person passing this lamp by Anders Ruhwald could not help but stop and smile. The biomorphic ceramic base of the fixture seems to wiggle out from the ground like a ghost, evoking all the whimsy and appeal of a Jim Henson creature from The Labyrinth. Add to that the contradicting size of the lamp itself, which is comically small in relation to its base, resulting in a functional design piece that beckons a grin.
Ugo La Pietra
Just behind Ruhwald’s lamp and also brought to the festival by Milan ceramic design gallery Officine Saffi is a collaborative collection of black ceramics by Ugo La Pietra and Giovanni Mengoni. The playfully anthropomorphic vases disguise the difficult bucchero sculpting process that brought these pieces to life, which achieves its satin black finish in a coal-fire process mastered by a handful of ceramics artisans.
All images by Gabrielle Garcia except for Olbes and Ruhwald, all courtesy of respective artists