This time I can’t be more amazed by design, materials and concept that after what I have recently witnessed at the Conference Hector Esrawe presented at the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico. I have always understood that materials give you the means of design and sometimes, design asks you for the materials to use. Esrawe, mexican industrial designer, collaborator for interiors such as the famous Tori Tori Restaurant by Architect Michel Rojkind and also creator of “Casa del Agua”; has taught me that the most amazing creations towards design has to be injected by the nature of character (daily life, customs, abstractions of zeitgeist).
I include his work into my research of exploration of materials in the way that it displays that eager motive of acquaring the idea of the object, maintaing the expression that responds to each designated event of use as the essence of design.
In his “Cienpies” Bench, (centipede); it is the movement of the centipede that has be inserted in the design. The bench is stable no matter where you sit on it but adjusting its movement to the weight of the body. Most of his work is all about wood, but the way wood is managed is what makes his work exiting. There is always exploration of this noble material, the craftmanship is present in his work, although the use of technology such as mechanical routers or “robots” as they call them in Mexico, can be applied on a few of his techniques, it all depends on what the design asks for.
The question that some may ask: What happens if you continuously use mechanical means to work with noble materials? Does the artisan starts to diminish? Are we loosing craftsmanship? I could dare to say that an artisan has always found a way to mass produce a requested piece in order to fasten the work. Now, the danger here is when design is a result of computer work and not what you asked the computer to do. Softwares such as Rhinoceros, Grasshopper or Maya somehow, can create marvelous ideas, but it’s the tool that facilitate our work and has to be used wisely in order to produce exactly what the design asks for. That is why I admire Esrawe’s work, from concept to conception, there is a line perfectly drawn that’s never altered and you can perfectly understand where does the object belong to, where does it came from and where it has to be placed. The pieces are timeless, but in a way, most of them are abstractions of history, expressions of a place, of a person or action of an animal.
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