on entering fernando laposse‘s installation for london design festival 2018 you must first pass two hairy guardians. their role, beyond inviting curious passers-by to enter, is to protect a space comprising high walls and fur-like carpets that like these colossal sculptures are made from the agave fibre that gives the sensorial installation its name – sisal sanctum.
images courtesy of the artist/citizenM
its intent is to provide a shelter from the urban landscape of east london located at the entrance to citizenM shoreditch. but beyond this, and in perfect contrast to the industrial setting of the capital, sisal sanctum shines a light on ancient methods and the local communities impacted by the changing landscape of material production.
sisal, a sustainable fibre native to mexico, derives from the leaves of the agave plant, a cactus used to make mezcal or tequila. it was once at the heart of one of the countries biggest industries before the advent of plastics caused its production to reach a grinding halt. through the installation, laposse looks at this material, adopting the ancient ways of harvesting and manufacturing to shed light on the small producers and the socio-economic challenges they have faced.
the installation welcomes design-goers to relax in cosy lounge areas featuring different textures, a chance to contemplate the designer’s underlying expression. visitors will also be able to participate in mask making workshops using sisal rope and learn natural dyeing techniques throughout london design festival, 15-23 september at citizenM hotel, shoreditch.
kieron marchese I designboom
sep 22, 2018