Primitivo Terracotta Lamps

Chilean designer Abel Cárcamo Segovia uses painted clay to create lustrous and timeless lamps


Santiago, Chile-based industrial designer Abel Cárcamo Segovia—founder of Primitivo—is most comfortable when playing with natural materials such as wood, wicker and clay to create curious pieces for the home. Terracotta, however, has become his favored medium for molding lamps. His first series “Terracota” (the Spanish spelling) pairs the baked clay with unusual partners of wood and aluminum. The lamps’ edges are irregular, and seem as if the clay is wet and dripping, or pinched in—giving you an unexpected glimpse into its interior. Experimenting further, Cárcamo transforms his “Terracota” series with a new edition that replaces the wood base with polished metals, painting over the terracotta in glossy finishes of gold, black, white and platinum—ironically, removing any indication that the lamp is made from baked clay.


Ceramics, Cárcamo notes, is a noble art form: “It gives the ability to generate different types of atmospheres, from the conceptual perspective to the formality of the final object.” Cárcamo works with a group of Chilean artisans who handle the technical side, while he investigates the limitations of the materials. “I am inspired by the history of ceramics and the emotional burden that generates each handmade piece,” he says.


Cárcamo is attracted to ceramics, a practice that’s shared by cultures all around the world. It’s found “not only in lamps, but also other objects of daily use that are always in [direct] contact with the user, granting a much higher value to every product.” Understanding the capabilities of ceramics, he generates organic forms that allow light and shadows to play with one another.


“The main idea of the gold and silver finish is the sophistication and elegance that is delivered to each space. The timelessness was achieved with this new edition of the terracotta lamps.” He transforms the classic terracotta pieces into an atemporal element that’s impossible not to give a double take—thanks to just a simple pinch in the clay.

Contact Cárcamo to inquire about price and shipping. View more past Primitivo projects by visiting his studio online.

Images courtesy of Primitivo