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‘Perpetuo’ by Sebastián Ángeles revives Mexican craft through contemporary design
Perpetuo collection by Sebastián Ángeles
Image: Courtesy of Sebastián Ángeles

‘Perpetuo’ by Sebastián Ángeles revives Mexican craft through contemporary design

Through modern design, the Perpetuo collection showcases Mexico's artisanal heritage, encouraging sustainability and cultural preservation.

by Ria Jha
Published on : Feb 06, 2024

Artisan professions are an essential component of Mexico's rich ancestry, representing customs and cultural legacy that date back many centuries and are passed down through the generations. Mexico's unique cultural tapestry is reflected in every piece, from delicate pottery embellished with significant motifs to vivid textiles woven with elaborate designs. To highlight the enduring nature of artisan professions as part of Mexico’s ancestral legacies, Mexican designer Sebastián Ángeles crafted the Perpetuo collection. The product designer chose wicker as the primary material for this collection to demonstrate the possibilities of wicker weaving.

Ángeles describes Perpetuo as sculptural art for which he collaborated with Martín Cruz, master weaver at Artesanías Clarita, a workshop in Tequisquiapan, Mexico, specialising in wicker weaving. The designer devoted five days completely engrossed in Cruz's daily tasks, creating various methods that enabled him to utilise manual craft that was typically used for baskets and small pieces for large-scale structures that took over a month and a half to complete. The first piece in the collection was a 2.5 metres structure shaped like a toroid, a curved surface with no beginning or end and a symbol of ‘perpetuity’. The toroidal structure then gave shape to the product and furniture designs in the collection – a chair, a container and a coffee table. "At its essence, this work seeks to shape a curve with no beginning or end, a toroidal form that embodies the idea of craftsmanship perpetuity. It's a symbolic representation of how this art knows no boundaries or finishes," the industrial designer shares.

For Perpetuo, Ángeles also participated in a series of reflections that addressed the role that craftsmanship plays in defining Mexico's identity, particularly concerning elements that allude to pre-Hispanic forms like the hoop of the ball game. The reflections also focused on the circular economy, sustainability and the reuse of resources in craft workshops. Through these creative insights, he manifested his interpretation of the wisdom and complexity of these crafts from the perspective of contemporary design. “These pieces invite us to reflect on small-scale production and the notorious durability of artisanal products. It reminds us of the importance of promoting reuse and extending the useful life of objects, as opposed to the disposable culture that often prevails in today's society. "Perpetuo" seeks to be a palpable reminder of the responsibility we all have in preserving and honouring artisanal traditions, as well as adopting more conscious and sustainable practices in our daily lives,” shares Ángeles.

The collection is an inspiration to celebrate and preserve the rich cultural legacy of traditional handicrafts through modern design while adopting practices that align with sustainable design for future generations as we marvel at the elaborate designs and consider the underlying significance of each piece. Perpetuo is a call to action that encourages everyone to respect and safeguard the priceless tradition of craftsmanship in addition to being a collection of striking artworks. Ángeles symbolises a link between the past, present, and future and captures the spirit of handcrafted designs.

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