Understanding the social and cultural differences in between the eight most populated countries in the world, Cross Cultural Chairs is a research about the cultural context of chairs around the world, that seems going too fast. This exploration lies between design and anthropology, analysing social and technical aspects of furniture. Matteo Guarnaccia,founder of the project, Italian designer based in Barcelona, is bringing CCC all around the world, collaborating with a local design studio and their artisans in each of the 8 most populated countries in the world, a chair will be made for each country and at the end of the research will be presented at the Design Museum of Barcelona an exhibition, a 300 pages book and a documentary. This investigation started in November 2018 in Brazil, collaborating with Brunno Jahara arriving in December in Mexico counting of the collaboration of Jose de la O and Los Patrones. CCC will continue in Japan, Indonesia, China, India, Russia and Nigeria, spending one month in each country, producing one chair that represents each culture.
The goal is to depict a culture without falling in basic stereotypes, summing up the essence of a culture, portraying a social act that represents each culture. For the research in Mexico, Matteo Guarnaccia and Jose de la O have discussed and summed up the Mexican culture in three main aspects: the continual exaggeration and excess in colours and forms, the ability to adapt any kind of external inputs and make them “Mexican” and the necessity to portray Mexican manufacture as “neo-artisanal” that is why the decision to collaborate with Los Patrones, a Mexican manufacture company who use almost handmade process to achieve high quality design “made in Mexico”.
The starting point of the design of the chair was the “Silla Corona”, one of the icons of Mexican design that has origins in the USA. The intention is to give back to Mexican a design that has been part of this culture for more than 70 years but that has never been “Mexicanized”. That’s why they decided to design a foldable chair with Mexican characteristic, using two layers of metal grid, emulating the Moirè effect, giving a new twist to a gradient coming from the aesthetic of the religious iconographic and the bardas of sonideros. The application of colours try to simulate the chaos of a tianguis.
The project was presented at Archivo Design and Architecture in Mexico City, counting the participation of Ana Elena Mallet, Mexican curator and art critic, which joined an open conversation with Matteo Guarnaccia, Jose de la O, Los Patrones and the public about what is Mexican design and how can be placed in an international panorama.
Client: Cross Cultural Chairs
Design: Matteo Guarnaccia, José de la O & Adrián Marfil
Production: Los Patrones
Images: Matteo Guarnaccia