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Julio Vilamajó Residency: Travelogue 3

 © Matteo Fogale

© Matteo Fogale

 © Matteo Fogale

© Matteo Fogale

 © Matteo Fogale

© Matteo Fogale

 © Matteo Fogale

© Matteo Fogale

7 November 2017
by Matteo Fogale

In his last report from Uruguay, Julio Vilamajó designer in residence Matteo Fogale describes the workshops that concluded his time in Montevideo, and shares some of the ambitious aspirations for the next steps following his residency. Matteo hopes to collaborate with seven Uruguayan design practices to produce different pieces of furniture inspired by the highlights of the Vilamajó archive.

The Workshops

As mentioned in my previous posts, my final week in Uruguay was dedicated to a number of workshops with local designers. As a collaboration resulting from the residency, I invited seven uruguayan practices to design seven pieces of furniture together, inspired by seven drawings I've picked from the Vilamajó archives. These included a number of different aspects of  Vilamajó's practice, not necessarily only his furniture designes. Instead, I often chose things I didn't really know what they were, but found interesting - this could be a detail, a shape, a texture or a pattern.

Monday was a bank holiday in Uruguay so we couldn't meet at Casa Museo Vilamajó as it was closed, so instead we met at the amazing Sinergia Design, a new co-working space built inside an old glass factory. Functioning not only as a working space, the ground floor is a retail space dedicated to a selection of local brands including fashion, food, drinks and of course furniture. In fact all seven studios invited to the workshop have their product on display and for sale in a shop here.  

We gathered together at a large table in the middle of the building with lots of natural light shining in. Here I started distributing to each studio their respective drawing, chosen and scanned from hundreds of sketches found in the archives. We spent this first meeting discussing about Vilamajó’s work, looking at hundreds of pictures I took during my previous weeks and talking about local design and manufacturing - a great way to start the week.

On Wednesday we started the workshops at Museo Casa Vilamajó as planned. The room we met in, the dining room downstairs, is situated in the middle of the house with original pieces of furniture designed by Vilamajó so it was a very inspiring experience. The process was pretty much improvised, first to hit the road was Ana from Estudio Diario: we sat down and started looking at the sketch, having no clue what it was, some sort of columns with interesting details. We liked the repetition of the pattern and started sketching based on that: lines, circles, squares; everything was explored. Next we found ourselves discussing about furniture typologies and looking at 1930s and 40s furniture pieces.

Then Rosina and Daniel from Estudio Claro walked in. By then we had a shortlist of possible pieces we would work on, from lighting to cabinets, book shelves, seating and tables. We looked at their drawing and discussed what was interesting about them. The intersected shapes became the starting point for a series of sketches and by the end of the day we decided on what we will be working on.  

The following day we met with Menini/Nicola, Rafa from Samago and both Fede and Carolina from Muar. The process was the same: look at the sketches and find something interesting to work on. Starting with an exercise in shapes, once we had an idea we moved on to choose what that could be - a mirror, a table a coat hanger. If the shapes where not enough we tried to find other stories, perhaps something in Vilamajó’s life that could inspire us.

The last day was the most full-on day, everyone else joined, including Guille from Estudio Diario, Carolina Palombo and Claudio Sibille. We also had a cameraman and a photographer from the Facultad de Arquitectura helping us document the whole experience. We sat in the garden and had pizza under the sun. We took a group photo and had a really great time.

I finished off the week with Carolina and Claudio, defining their products and talking about life in Uruguay and London.   

To find out more about the outcomes of the residency, keep an eye on our blog and social media