Designer Liliana Ovalle was born in Mexico City in 1977. She studied industrial design at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, earning a Bachelor’s degree in 2003. She went on to study at the Royal College of Art in London, graduating with a Master’s degree in design products in 2006. That same year, she established her eponymous studio in Mexico City. In 2009, she relocated the studio to London’s Stoke Newington district. In addition to her own design work, since 2011, Ovalle has worked as a researcher at Goldsmiths University in London.
While Ovalle’s work is diverse in terms of material selection and process, she consistently responds to contemporary urban society, specifically inquiring into themes she identifies as “incomplete” and “unrehearsed.” Notable projects to date include Mugroso (2006), a series of couches inspired by functional objects composed of ad hoc components that Ovalle spotted in Mexico City. The series began as her graduation project at the RCA, and ultimately led to the Mugrosita armchair, which was included in the Call Out to the Americas exhibition at Design Miami/ in 2009, as well as El Otro (de los Mugrosos), produced by Plusdesign Gallery in Milan in 2010. Additional standout designs include Colour Me (2012), a series of tables in hand-stained oak that explore the impact color has on our perception of objects, as well as Sinkhole Vessels (2013), a collaboration with vernacular ceramics from Oaxaca inspired by Ovalle’s fascination with the geological phenomenon of sinkholes.
Ovalle’s work has been exhibited at the Museum of Arts & Design, New York; the Museo Poldi Pezzoli, Milan; Gallery Libby Sellers, London; and the Museo Franz Mayer and Museo Rufino Tamayo, both in Mexico City. In 2012, Ovalle was the subject of a solo exhibition at Plusdesign Gallery called The Chroma Season.