Made in Mexico: Gala Fernández takes over NYCxDesign with sculptural pieces

Gala Fernández takes over NYCxDesign with sculptural pieces
Gala Fernández has created a collection of nine vases in felt and marble for Feltum, exhibiting at WantedDesign during NYCxDesign
(Image credit: Gala Fernández)

It's not often that designers confess their crushes but Gala Fernández comes straight out with it. 'I met Ettore Sottsass at a lecture he did in Milano in 1994. I was studying at the Istituto Europeo di Design (opens in new tab) at the time. I was already a fan, but that conference was so touching. I waited until the end and went to talk to him. I fell in love with him,' she laughs. Sottsass was 67 at the time, Fernández a young Spanish student who now runs her own studio, PioPio Design Labs (opens in new tab) in Mexico City.

Last year, in homage (at first, subconsciously) to her hero, Fernández started working on a series of 16 little sculptures that combine Mexican marble, onyx and stone. Entitled 'Caro Ettore', the objects form part of 'This Is Not A Duet' - a joint exhibition with Sung Jang, curated by Maria Cristina Didero and Juan Garcia Mosqueda - for Chamber NYC, a design art gallery that launched with a buzz during last year's ICFF. Fernández has also created 'Little Games,' a wooden box measuring 50x50x30cm that contains a further 32 pieces that can be arranged in various ways to create your own sculptures. Fernández is a self-confessed 'global nomad', who specialises in working with local artisans and materials; 'Caro Ettore' started out as an exploration into Mexican minerals. 

Another of Fernández's heroes is German artist Karl Blossfeldt whose black and white close-ups of plants and flowers set a new standard in botanical photography. Taking his abstract, slightly surreal forms, Fernández has created a collection of nine vases in felt and marble for Mexican felt specialists Feltum (opens in new tab), who are exhibiting at WantedDesign (opens in new tab). Intricate, hand stitched petals and leaves in grey felt curl around black and white marble cylinders. Feltum's mission is to reinvent wool felt as an architectural material, and Fernández's felt petals make a surprisingly durable and tough argument for it. And like everything else that comes out of the PioPio studio, they are all hand made in Mexico. 

Made in Mexico: Gala Fernández takes over NYCxDesign with sculptural pieces

The vase designs are inspired by German artist Karl Blossfeldt; his abstract and slightly surreal style resonate in the forms

(Image credit: Karl Blossfeldt)

Made in Mexico: Gala Fernández takes over NYCxDesign with sculptural pieces

Intricate, hand stitched petals and leaves in grey felt curl around black and white marble cylinders

(Image credit: Gala Fernández)

Made in Mexico: Gala Fernández takes over NYCxDesign with sculptural pieces

Mexican brand Feltum's mission is to reinvent wool felt as an architectural material. Fernández's felt petals prove to be surprisingly durable and tough

(Image credit: Gala Fernández)

Made in Mexico: Gala Fernández takes over NYCxDesign with sculptural pieces

Fernández is a self-confessed 'global nomad', who runs her own studio PioPio design lab and specialises in working with local artisans

(Image credit: Gala Fernández)

Made in Mexico: Gala Fernández takes over NYCxDesign with sculptural pieces

For Chamber NYC's 'This Is Not A Duet', Fernández's has created 'Caro Ettore', a series of beautifully hand-crafted and polished objects that combine Mexican marble, onyx and stone

(Image credit: Gala Fernández)

Made in Mexico: Gala Fernández takes over NYCxDesign with sculptural pieces

Subconsciously created in hommage to the late Ettore Sottsass, the pieces make the most of Sottsass' use of color matching and contrasting tones

(Image credit: Gala Fernández)

Made in Mexico: Gala Fernández takes over NYCxDesign with sculptural pieces

The 'Caro Ettore' collection started out as an exploration into Mexican minerals

(Image credit: Gala Fernández)

ADDRESS

Chamber
515 West 23rd Street
New York, NY 10001

WantedDesign
Terminal Stores Building
271 11th Ave,
New York, NY 10001

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Emma O'Kelly is a contributing editor at Wallpaper*. She joined the magazine on issue 4 as news editor and since since then has worked in full and part time roles across many editorial departments. She is a freelance journalist based in London and works for a range of titles from Condé Nast Traveller to The Telegraph. She is currently working on a book about Scandinavian sauna culture and is renovating a mid century house in the Italian Lakes.