Guatemalan design studio Cinco x Cinco used a mix of contemporary and artisanal techniques for its third collection of furniture, The Sum of Small Parts, which won the highest honour at Design Week Mexico 2022.
Conceptualised during the Covid-19 lockdowns, The Sum of Small Parts comprises a chandelier, bar cart and chair.
The collection, which can be completely disassembled, features chrome structural elements and a mix of locally crafted artisanal materials to evoke the feeling of a playground, “especially the shabby metal structures that are found in any Latin American park”, the studio said.
The Sum of Small Parts chandelier is made from a series of curved chrome bars that terminate in a small bulb. From the chrome bars hang “pendant charms” made from Chinautla clay, a Guatemalan product produced by artisans “living in a ravine, isolated from industrial production”, the studio said.
The bar cart features more curved chrome with three trays made from conacaste wood, indigenous to northern Guatemala, while the chair features a simple skeleton composed of semi-circular bars clad with cotton fibres.
Cinco x Cinco includes five designers from different disciplines, including anthropology, architecture and visual art.
“There are five different voices, but together, everybody can bring something to the table,” photographer Manuel Rionda told Dezeen. “As long as we have the same vision.”
The studio prioritises materials developed with Guatemalan artisans and collaborated with over 30 makers when working on the collection, utilising the community engagement expertise of team member Maria Cecilia Diaz.
“One goal we share as a collective is to innovate Guatemalan handmade and industrial techniques, show what Guatemala can bring to the design scene and create functional, sustainable design with impact in the artisans’ communities,” architect Esteban Paredes told Dezeen.
While the artisanal aspect is at the forefront of the collection, the group added that the more modern elements should be considered craft as well and that its aim was to transcend the stereotypes usually attributed to crafts.
“Even these industrial parts that we made can be considered craftsmanship because it’s done by human hands,” designer Sofia Contreras-Paredes told Dezeen.
“And combining that with the craftsmanship is just showing that things don’t need to be made with a cultural aim. You can do modern design and actually challenge yourself and the artisans to make something new.”
In addition to Diaz, Paredes, Rionda and Contreras-Paredes, the group includes Mauricio Contreras-Paredes, a visual artist and anthropologist.
Other furniture collections that incorporate natural materials include interior designer Kelly Wearstler’s collaboration with Mexican stone manufacturer Arca.
To celebrate the breadth of furniture design released last year, we put together a round-up of some of the best furniture designs of 2022.
The photography is by Achach Fotografía.