The Best of Argentine Design: Feria Puro Diseno 2013

If you want to take home a piece of Argentina’s design scene that goes beyond the standard gaucho knives, mate sets and cowhide rugs to something more cutting edge and current, then pay a visit to Buenos Aires’ Feria Puro Diseño that kicks off next week. The annual design fair that returns to the city’s favourite expo centre La Rural from May 21 to May 26 is the most important event on the country’s design calendar and unites the biggest movers and shakers in a showcase of cutting-edge made-in-Argentina design products.

Around 350 designers will set up stands this year displaying (and selling) their most innovative creations across the fields of clothing and accessories design, jewellery, furniture and homewares, art, and kids products. This year’s event is themed around the slogan “Coleccioná y conectate con el diseño” and celebrates a new generation of “Coneccionistas” that, according to Director of Content Marcela Moilnari, are people who not only seek to connect with the designer and their work but “place a high value on what they collect.”

Feria Puro Diseño 2012
Feria Puro Diseño 2012; photo courtesy of Feria Puro Diseño.

The Selection Process

The exhibitors undergo a strict screening process to be part of the fair and are cherry-picked by a team of curators who have their fingers firmly on the pulse in their respective design fields. Explains Molinari, “The curators understand the challenges and demands of a designer and their products and can give support and constructive criticism.” This year’s board included longstanding fashion designer Benito Fernández, director of the CMD (Centro Metropolitano de Diseño) Enrique Avogadro, architect and director of Remade in Argentina Mónica Cohen, architect Julio Oropel, designer and creative director of Pony Andrés Gotelli and industrial and jewellery designer Marina Massone. Aside from scouting out the talent in and around Buenos Aires, the team spent 10 days on the road visiting the provinces of Tucumán, Salta, Corrientes, Chubut and Santiago del Este in search of the country’s next big design talents and giving them the welcome opportunity to show the fruits of their creativity in the big city.

“We first address the design concept. If it’s something that already exists, we focus on what distinguishes it and makes it unique,” says Molinari. “We consider not only the product but also how it’s going to represent the brand or designer.” adds jewellery designer Marina Massone, twice winner of the Feria Puro Diseño jewellery prize and a curator of the fair for the second year running, whose experience spans nearly two decades. “There can be some debate between the curators but when there’s innovation, quality and originality and the design concept is coheisve, the jury is unanimous,” she says.

Feria Puro Diseño 2012
Feria Puro Diseño 2012; photo courtesy of Feria Puro Diseño.


New spaces in this year’s fair include “Eco-conectados” which brings together designers with an eco-conscience and a sense of sustainable design and social responsibility. Look out for the newly launched La Palleteria that crafts rustic home furnishings with a modern twist from old wooden floorboards. Old favourites Monkey Wallets will also be there whose remarkably durable wallets, iPad holders and other accessories made from the specially developed 100% ecological paper-like material called Tyvek have been popping up in design boutiques all over the world (you have to see it to believe it).

For the freshest design talent of the moment, check out La Selección, a space specially curated by the trends team at INTI (Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Industrial) that unites the living past, working present and an eye to the future. Six emerging designers from different parts of the country were invited to develop new pieces relevant to the here and now but based on the memory of a song from their childhood. We’re not quite sure what the link is but we like the look of the slick leather men’s shoes from Lucas Sanchez and the soft fur bags from Chulo, embellished with leather straps and buckles.

Surrounded by so much creativity, you’ll probably feel inspired to get your own creative juices flowing and you can at the Joyeros en Acción open workshop, co-organised by jewellery designer Luz Arias. The chosen material is wood and you’re free to get creative with your “hands, head and heart,” inspired by the jewellery collections on show that change daily.

On The Real Argentina’s Radar for 2013

Here are our top five favourites to look out for:

Miki & Choya Dua Complementos en Cobre Amanda bag by Viache No Pánico Silvio Sierra

Miki & Choya (shoes): Designer Inés Figueroa Alcorta studied at Central Saint Martins, London and takes a very vanguard approach to shoe design (without foregoing the quality and artisanal production processes) favouring neon colours, glitter, studs and spikes, and playful appliqués in her limited edition collections. Stand 239

Dua Complementos en Cobre (jewellery): María Simonetti and Ayelén Martín create funky jewellery out of copper, playing around with different oxidation techniques.

Viache (leather bags): The last thing you probably need is another leather bag from Argentina but Viache’s leather handbags come in an original range of vibrant colours, patterns and textures.

No Pánico (furniture): Aranzazu Salgado Señor y Rocío Saavedra add a playful, artistic (and sometimes nonsensical) touch to antique furniture transforming them into colourful contemporary pieces for the modern day home. Stands 102 and 103

Silvio Sierra (men’s shirts and accessories): A simple well made checked shirt is hard to come by in this city and Silvio Sierra get it just right, along with a fun line of socks and towels. Stand 228

Feria Puro Diseño, May 21 to May 26, La Rural (Sarmiento 2704), 1pm to 10pm, Entry: 30 pesos,

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Sophie Lloyd
UK-born Sophie Lloyd first moved to Buenos Aires at the beginning of 2010 out of a desire to learn Spanish and live the Latino lifestyle, having spent the previous five years working as a fashion editor, writer and stylist in Shanghai, China. She quickly adapted to the late nights and copious amounts of Malbec. She works as a freelance writer and copywriter and currently contributes to the Buenos Aires edition of Global Blue's Shop magazine as well as running her own personal shopping and private shopping tour business Shop Hop BA delivering a stress-free, customised shopping experience to visitors to the city.

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