Over the past few years, Chilean design studio gt2P has made a name for itself with experimental projects that combine digital and lo-tech fabrication (what the studio calls “digital crafting”). The Santiago-based crew was in New York recently for the opening of the MAD museum's New Territories exhibition (also the subject of our feature story this week), which included gt2P's Losing My America collaboration (consisting of objects composed part digitally and part by hand, celebrating the diverse pool of talent in Latin America), Less CPP No. 1 (a free-standing catenary pottery printer); and Less CPP No. 2 (lava and porcelain sconces and chandeliers produced, again, on a free-standing catenary printer). We sat down with Guillermo Parada, gt2P's cofounder and creative director, to get his thoughts on the show as well as his tried-and-tested, can't-miss destinations when visiting NYC.
AC: Congratulations on the show, Guillermo. How would you describe the New Territories experience for gt2P?
GP: The opportunity to launch Losing my America in a space as relevant as MAD in New York—and to show Latin American traditional crafts in collaboration with contemporary designers—is priceless. [Additionally], one of our [major] goals was to show the process behind our projects. And in fact, you could see in the exhibition and the website both the final pieces and the process behind each piece, which created an opportunity for other designers, artists, and architects to learn about the techniques in detail, and hopefully to promote future collaborations with participating artisans and people from the entire world. In this way, we [hope to encourage] South America as a new design territory to explore.
Regarding Less CPP, we originally showed the prototypes at L'ArcoBaleno's Open House during NY Design Week in the spring. Presenting them now in the museum, we received great feedback and an excellent [reception] of paracrafting, the central idea behind the project, which is “Less Digital, More Parametric.” After the opening, we received commissions from Paris and NY; this exhibition has allowed us to get in touch with the most important galleries in the US, who saw great potential in the new techniques, processes, and pieces that we are developing. (Fingers crossed!)
AC: Were there any pieces you especially enjoyed in the show?
GP: I really enjoyed Ariel Rojo's Foco Rojo rug (Mexico), Pedro Barrail's Welcome to the Jungle furniture (Paraguay), Colectivo 1050° and Liliana Ovalle's Sinkhole Vessels (Mexico), and Lucia Cuba's work, which combines fashion, art, and activism (Perú).
AC: Did anything in the exhibition surprise you?
GP: The humility and happiness of all the involved artist and designers. It is an honor to be part of this group of people selected by [curator] Lowery Sims.
AC: What's gt2P working on now?
GP: We're really focusing on paracrafting [the term the studio uses to refer to its ongoing exploration of analogue versions of parametric design]. We are now collaborating with an artisan community in Chile called Quinchamalí to create products mixing the CPP casting technique and [the artisan's] material and firing process. In order to produce bigger pieces, we are [also] changing the scale and materials—such as casting wax to produce brass pieces and concrete to produce solid furniture.
Another part of paracrafting is Dysgraphia; in this project, [we] take advantage of the “mistakes” of the 3D printing process to create very expressive objects, amplified by the physical world.
Finally, we are working on the second part of Losing my America. The project is called Made by Chile, and the idea is create a kind of FabLab network in Chile, where each lab is associated with a traditional technique—by region. We want to encourage encounters between traditional techniques and contemporaries technologies, promoting the transfer of traditional knowledge to new generations and the integration of these communities to the market through design and sales support. We are looking for partners in our government and interested organizations in the private world, such as big design companies.
AC: You spent the week in NYC for the exhibition opening. Are there any favorite spots you always make sure to hit when you're in town?
GP: Absolutely! Chelsea Market for its fresh seafood and sushi; B&H, where we upgrade and update our tech equipment; La Esquina Corner Deli in Soho and Tacombi at Fonda Nolita for their nice tacos; the Halal guys for cheap and great food; the High Line as an example of respect for New York's citizens; Bryant Park as an example of a very nice [combination] of public space and private funds; and the Brooklyn Bridge, [which reminds me of] the bravery of New York's people. Finally, one of the best pieces [celebrating] architecture and public space in the world that I have ever seen is the World Trade Center Memorial.
*All images courtesy of gt2P