Grana vs La Máquina is an academic project initiated by the School of Architecture, Art and Design of Tec de Monterrey, Mexico City, in collaboration with Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City.
Taking as a starting point the upcoming exhibition NATURE BY DESIGN: COCHINEAL, this project seeks to generate a critical vision around the relationship of design and Mexican culture using Cochineal and Digital Manufacturing. This project was carried out in parallel in two campuses of the Mexico City region (CEM and CCM) with students of 8th semester of industrial design, led by José de la O (Studio José de la O) with the collaboration of Christina de León, Associate Curator of Latino Design at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum of New York.
In this project, students were given the brief of making a digital manufacturing machine, using Grana Cochinilla as material to make an object that could provide a conversation or criticism in Mexican culture.
"Being originally from Mexico, the Grana Cochinilla is a super interesting vehicle so that students can explore not only their culture, but they can question it and re-think about the Mexican identity." - José de la O
The students used research methodologies related to Critical Design to generate questions in cultural aspects such as identity, craftsmanship, economy and mysticism. Critical Design, or Speculative Design is a design discipline that aims to understand complex problems using design tools, where its result can gravitate externally to the commercial world.
Thanks to the collaboration with Cooper Hewitt, the students were able to obtain feedback from the conceptual point of view, helping to assimilate different arenas where the design exists, not only from the commercial point of view, but also within museums and galleries of Design.