Introducing Edgar Orlaineta and his take on modern graphic icons

Edgar Orlaineta’s latest body of work pays homage to the graphic design
Born and based in Mexico City, Edgar Orlaineta’s latest body of work pays homage to the graphic design legacy of the iconic typography designer, Alvin Lustig
(Image credit: press)

The visual thread that weaves itself through the artist Edgar Orlaineta (opens in new tab)’s works is something we can certainly appreciate. Born and based in Mexico City, Orlaineta’s range of influences, which spans Charles and Ray Eames to Alexander Calder, Alexander Girard and Sophie Taeuber-Arp, are united by their iconic graphic language that he then uses to articulate the everyday details and cultural perspectives of modern life.

From intricately worked sculptures to colourful, eye-catching canvases, Orlaineta’s taste for design and art history infuses each of his pieces with an energetic sensibility. His latest body of work, which is newly available at RH Contemporary Art (opens in new tab), riffs on Incantation, a series of abstracted, figurative hieroglyphics designed by the American graphic and typeface designer Alvin Lustig (opens in new tab) in 1947. Lustig, a pioneering figure in the design world, who is oft overlooked due to his death from diabetes at age 40, produced books, signage and fabrics. Rumour has it that he designed the iconic first cover of Industrial Design magazine in 1954 when already completely blind.

Employing artisanal printing methods, Orlaineta has produced screenprints of Lustig’s geometric pattern on brightly coloured raw linen and added brass-clad signets of certain motifs to bring a new dimensionality to the textiles. Orlaineta, who studied art at Mexico City’s Escuela Nacional and the Pratt Institute in New York, has also created a series of wood and brass sculptures inspired by Lustig’s book jacket designs. Each work is paired with an original Lustig-designed book as a fitting homage to his graphic design legacy.

Orlaineta has created a series of sculptures that riffs on Lustig’s book jacket

Orlaineta has created a series of sculptures that riffs on Lustig’s book jacket designs for publications under the company New Directions in the late 40s and early 50s

(Image credit: press)

Each sculpture is paired with an original Lustig-designed book

Each sculpture is paired with an original Lustig-designed book as a fitting homage to his graphic design legacy

(Image credit: press)

Orlaineta has also used artisanal methods to screenprint Lustig’s geometric patterns on colourful panels of raw linen

Orlaineta has also used artisanal methods to screenprint Lustig’s geometric patterns on colourful panels of raw linen...

(Image credit: press)

Adding brass-clad signets of certain motifs to bring a new dimensionality to the textiles

... adding brass-clad signets of certain motifs to bring a new dimensionality to the textiles

(Image credit: press)

Each of the sculptures is made from walnut and brass-clad steel. A Dream of Love

Each of the sculptures is made from walnut and brass-clad steel. 'A Dream of Love' (pictured) measures 20cm x 20cm x 20cm

(Image credit: press)

Orlaineta's interpretations are not only inspired by the books' covers, but their contents as well

Orlaineta's interpretations are not only inspired by the books' covers, but their contents as well

(Image credit: press)

Pei-Ru Keh is the US Editor at Wallpaper*. Born and raised in Singapore, she has been a New Yorker since 2013. Pei-Ru has held various titles at Wallpaper* since she joined in 2007. She currently reports on design, art, architecture, fashion, beauty and lifestyle happenings in the United States, both in print and digitally. Pei-Ru has taken a key role in championing diversity and representation within Wallpaper's content pillars and actively seeks out stories that reflect a wide range of perspectives. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children, and is currently learning how to drive.