We’ve been following Mexican designer Fernando Laposse‘s work for a while and admire how he translates local social causes into memorable design projects. A while ago, he started working with agave fiber and created his Beasts and other objects made with the help of textile designer Angela Damman and 45 Mayan women weaver from Yucatan (Mexico) over a period of 3 months which involved dyeing, brushing, and knotting the fibers by hand.
Pink Beasts is a collection of hairy sloths, hammocks, and hanging tassels suspended from trees, buildings, and lamp posts in the various plazas and sidewalks of the Miami Design Week. The pieces are using a natural dye called cochineal.
Cochineal is a small bug, a pest of the prickly pear cactus, and produces the world’s strongest red dye. When combined with the right amounts of lime juice and baking soda, it produces a vibrant pink—a good example of a natural alternative to toxic fabric dyes.
For centuries Europeans tried to extract the shade from a variety of natural sources. But when the Spanish colonized Mexico they came across cloth imbued with the most brilliant red.”- Fernando Laposse
Agave fiber is a resistant ecological substitute to plastic threads and has been used for centuries to create durable pieces such as ropes and hard-wearing carpets. The inspiring video below describes planting agave (it takes seven years to harvest the fibers) and weaving the fibers. It’s beautifully made with the testimonials of the locals involved in the process who explain how the three months’ work has also given a stronger community sense.
Some new work and pursuing the sisal fiber design process is found with Fernando’s latest collection of dogs, commissioned by Ago Projects; they come as a bench, sool, or foot rest.