In the BROWSER section of NESS 2 we featured the Argentinian design studio Lafeliz, illustrating their focus on the poetics of material creation within Latin America. Their new collection, “De Río a Sur,” launched in June 2019, is made of eight new products and continues to showcase their unique approach to creating for a local market with an outward facing goal.
“To wrap a moment.–Lafeliz
To give context to the infinite relations that occur in the project.
In between what you want to do and what can be done.
As if every moment we live in is subject to this same proposition.”
Like many design firms in Latin America, Lafeliz’s Patricio Lix Klett and Celeste Bernardini began their careers looking to the outside. Design inspirations come from abroad, from Europe and the United States, rather than from local Latin American contexts. Latin American design objects themselves are hybrid and eclectic, using local materials with the aim of replicating a cosmopolitan object. Eventually, after a trip in 2002 to study abroad in Finland, Lix Klett realized that he wanted to turn inwards and understand what design meant for Argentinians. Lafeliz was founded by Lix Klett in 2005, and he joined forces with Bernardini in 2006. Like a reverse poetic scientific method, they create by starting with an investigation into materials, then conducting practical tests of hypothesis, and finally, ending with intuition. Their methodology eventually led them from the introspective exploration of materials to collaborations with other design firms in Latin America. Today, they are again looking outside to develop their studio as a brand, but perhaps this time with their feet more firmly planted on local soil. From the inside of the material looking out, Lafeliz’s process says a lot about Latin American design.
Feliz, in English, is ‘happy’. Lix Klett and Bernadini understand it as a concept Lafeliz = happiness.
Lix Klett and Bernardini define Lafeliz as a concept: it is ‘happiness,’ or the combination of two or more nouns into an abstract idea, rather than a simple meaning, ‘happy.’ For Lafeliz, the concept is the embryo from which design objects are born. It is not about creating new attributes or adjectives (smooth, beautiful, modern), but rather about exploring an idea or structure of the material itself—finding its concept—and then building from there. Lix Klett once asked himself how many materials could be used to make up a chair. He came up with a surprising estimation: eleven different materials to make five-thousand versions. With this in mind, he began putting materials to the test, searching for their limits, and seeing what new conceptual possibilities could arise. Eventually he was asked “But what is it made of?”—and there, in the question itself, a concept is realized. Lafeliz is a factory of nouns turned into concepts.
The digital representation of the collection was made by Andrés Reisinger.