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Post-Mater: New perspectives in Chilean design

PorRevista Materia 01 agosto 2021

Chile is a strange country. The longest and skinniest in the world. Isolated by the immense Andes mountain range for centuries, little is known about this interesting nation. In 2019, just before the pandemic, millions of Chileans took to the streets to protest and make us see that something was wrong in the world. «Chile woke up», it was read on banners throughout the country. The riots in Santiago, the capital of Chile, went around the globe and neighboring nations joined the movement. After months of protests, the goal of rewriting the constitution in the hands of the people on an equal footing was achieved. An unprecedented milestone.

It is in this context that Materia Magazine was born. In times of transformation, new ideas and parameters emerge that respond to specific problems of what has been called the Era of the Anthropocene. This virtual exhibition rescues the work of a new generation of Chilean designers and creatives working with innovative research methods. Concepts such as digital creation with artisanal processes, interest in biomimicry and living organisms, environmental ethics in the development of objects and the creation of models that allow predicting a future that reinvents itself after each crisis are then presented.

Male Uribe 
Architect and artist

My work focuses on designing spaces and narratives that communicate ideas about material culture from research, design, art and experimentation with materials. My portfolio varies between exhibition design projects, interiors, installations, and the creation of large-scale materials and surfaces.

Exploring ideas about material culture from a ‘new materialist’ perspective, my work questions the ways in which these philosophical approaches can infiltrate and change design processes. At Studio-Mále, I work in a multidisciplinary way, using research as the starting point and common thread of all projects. Focusing on the narrative value of art and design as research and communication tools, we can reconfigure the logics under which we relate to the material world and its productive landscapes.

Complementing this critical look with the design and experimentation of materials, my work proposes to inaugurate new encounters between artisanal, traditional and digital techniques, with a focus on the reuse and revaluation of materials. In 2019 I was selected as ‘Designer in Residence’ at the London Design Museum, where my current work that focuses on celebrating the natural and cultural value of the minerals of the Atacama Desert began.

Rodrigo Pinto
Craftman and designer

While studying Industrial Design I developed a great interest in ceramics and other artisan techniques that I use to this day in my contemporary sculptural objects and furniture. After graduating, I did an internship in the Netherlands with the Spanish artist and designer Nacho Carbonell and when I returned to Chile in 2017, I opened Rodrigo Pinto Studio in Santiago.

The objective of the study is to create pieces that tell a story of a future that has not happened, but that proposes what its vestiges would be like. A kind of ‘archeology of the future’, as defined by a curator friend. Not only am I inspired by stories of an uncertain future, I am also inspired by stories that distort something that is happening in my day-to-day life; from banal observations to the most intimate.

The processes vary in their forms and genesis, sometimes they start from drawings of formal possibilities of a project, which when they go down to materiality and the construction proposal, new possibilities, new ideas and projects appear. For example, my project «Tierras Hipnopómpicas» was born from vestiges of a search for a construction method.

In addition to ceramics, I work a lot with my own mix of concrete that I prepare from metal slags, sand with sea shells, marble powders and carbonates from different stones. To structure, I often work with general construction techniques such as metal structures or wood. It is a mix of knowledge acquired artisanal and traditional construction work.

Diego Gajardo and Lucas Margotta – Sistema Simple Studio

We are a duo of Chilean designers, restless in the search for new answers to the problems that affect the world. We believe that in exploration there is the magic of encountering ‘the new’, the infinite possibility that design provides.

In 2018 we founded Sistema Simple Studio, an ‘integral’ design office, focused on the search and enrichment of the design culture, through the crossing between traditional practices and new technological methods, experimenting and investigating new relationships between materials and their processes transforming both analog and digital.

Today, Sistema Simple Studio speculates and designs, from the possibilities that open up in the experience lived day by day in the workshop. The investigation of new formal codes and applied experimentation is the basis of his artistic development.

Since we met in the Design workshops of the Universidad Católica de Chile we realized that we both share the same fascination for building everything, only limited by our creativity. In 2017, together with two other colleagues, we applied to the LEXUS Design Award 2018 competition and were selected as one of the twelve finalists to exhibit at Milan Design Week, among 1,200 projects from 50 countries. This achievement consolidated the relationship and prompted the idea of ​​forming our Studio. System is the way, Simple is the end (?) …

Rosario Ureta

Through an intuitive process, in my work I intend to observe the intersections between the trade, digital culture, art and design. I often experiment by integrating digital fabrication technologies with traditional ceramic processes to open up possibilities, new values, and functionalities in materials and objects.

By connecting long-standing craft systems with new technologies, error might be the most likely outcome, but an opportunity is nonetheless offered to find beauty in the unexpected.

As part of my research and experimentation process, I have done residencies at Fab Lab Santiago (“Digital Craft”, 2018) and at Sculpture Space New York in 2020. One of my latest projects is Glitch Series, where I work with glazed ceramics, molds of digital fabrication, fabrics and extruders. It arises from the exploration with the technique of casting in ceramics and digitally manufactured molds. In the process, the error and its appeal are discovered, to intentionally tend towards it in the creation of the pieces in this collection.

Luis Guzmán
Multimedia artist

My research focuses on the interdisciplinary intersection between art and science. For several years I have developed a body of work dedicated to dealing with ecological issues using different media, but my main practice is in the field of bioarchitecture. For me, bioarchitecture is not a sustainable or green architecture as it is commonly understood, but a radical reconfiguration of the conceptual and material relationships between humans and the non-human part of the ecosphere. He materialized these ideas in sculptures in which I usually incorporate living organisms and biological processes.

I have a deep interest in photosynthetic organisms and their ability to generate living conditions for other beings. By incorporating photosynthesis as a central process in my work, I seek to sculpt the planetary atmosphere, my main object of interest.

One of my latest works was titled Bioarchitecture (Cosmoecology), and it was part of Sojourner 2020, a project developed by the MIT Space Exploration initiative and curated by Xin Liu, where nine works of art were sent to the International Space Station. My intention in the project was to bring CO2 from the Earth, during the time of the ecological crisis, and convert it into oxygen in space, and with that, support the living conditions on Earth and the Moon.

Marcela Paz Undurraga
Visual artist

My creation is linked to contemporary sculpture, abstract language and ceramics. I was born 31 years ago in Santiago de Chile, where I lived a large part of my life. Between 2017 and 2018, I did a master’s degree in ceramics in Bilbao, Spain. I participated in the 2017 and 2019 versions of the Revelations biennial in Paris and in various group exhibitions in Chile.

I work from a noble and vernacular material: clay. Through it I question the way in which the history of human life unfolds alongside that of objects. Primitive, universal and recognizable forms (spheres, cones, cylinders and planes), play and create new elemental and timeless bodies.

The modeling of small and medium volumes, firing at different temperatures without using enamels is a constant in my current work. It is the materialization of a world in forms that, although abstract, seem familiar.

I am currently starting a life project in France that I hope to strengthen, establishing links, generating enriching exchanges and participating in various professional experiences.

Juan Ferrer – Museo del Hongo


Since 2016 I have directed and curated the exhibitions of the Museo del Hongo (The Fungi Museum), in which my excitement for biological sciences and passion for the arts converge. For this reason, my curatorship and cultural management proposes new concepts for the dissemination of science through artistic experiences; immersive and interactive in an itinerant and mutable museum space.

The purpose of my work is to raise awareness and disseminate the relevance of fungi for the ecological cycle through its exploration in multiple dimensions: biotechnological, aesthetic, gastronomic, medicinal, among others. Taking mushrooms as an artistic and museographic object, the museum appears and disappears, transforming its exhibitions into new museographic settings: laboratories, websites, dinners; unprecedented places that facilitate cultural exchange, with the aim of demystifying this kingdom and bringing new audiences to know intimately the lives of fungi, the recyclers of the environment, in order to inspire us to build a more sustainable future for humanity.

I have presented my work in various national and international contexts, both scientific and artistic; Telluride Mushroom Festival, Santiago Media Arts Biennial, Sundance Film Festival, FungiFest Valdivia, Ars Electronica, among others.  /

Margarita Talep
Industrial designer

I focus my work on material research, intertwining areas such as biology, design and crafts. My creative work is formulated on the basis of design –from, for and with living organisms-, linking a new territorial, social, cultural and economic context.

The proposals are linked to the transformation of matter in a coherent way with respect to each property of the material, thus establishing a permanent dialogue with it.

In each of my projects I seek to explore and analyze human behavior around the subject, asking questions and questioning the values ​​of a society in the Anthropocene era. In this way, I project new forms of life in common, possible and desirable scenarios to face current crises.

I understand environmental ethics from a concept of systemic vision – where each element is part of a whole and no one is more important than another. An ecocentric vision, in relation to our responsibilities and duties towards the systems of which we are part, where values ​​of justice, empathy, respect and responsibility are frequently involved.

Regarding my work with bioplastics I want to be able to know the material in its entirety, how it behaves in different media and to face problems that could derive from its use in large quantities, can we continue to use materials or raw materials as if they were infinite?


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