factoria habana presents 'the eternal return' of clara porset for the havana design biennial
 

factoria habana presents 'the eternal return' of clara porset for the havana design biennial

factoria habana presents ‘the eternal return’ of clara porset for the havana design biennial
image © designboom

 

 

 

the first international design biennial of havana has been presented in cuba from may 14th to 20th 2016, featuring an outreach of creative initiatives and programs in and around the capital city. through BDHabana’16, the island intends to become an epicenter for design in the region — not only promoting the presence of creativity and innovation, but also highlighting the work of professionals and institutions with a design-focused perspective. an extensive agenda of exhibitions, conferences, workshops, and interventions bring together visitors, participants, and curious creatives from both cuba, and across the world.

 

designboom has been invited to BDHabana’16 to present alongside an international roster of creative professionals and experience the galleries, workshops, designer stores, creative spaces, bars, restaurants, and other active places in the city distinguished by their design concepts, values and work.

clara porset factoria habana havana design biennial
chairs designed by clara porset for a dance school in cuba 
image © designboom

 

 

 

one of the central exhibitions taking place as part of BDHabana’16 is a monumental display of work by designer clara porset — a pioneer of latin american industrial design. presented at factoria habana gallery, the exhibition spotlights porset’s cuban roots and brings together furniture made for, and collected in the country.

 

‘el eterno retorno’ (the eternal return) has been curated by factoria habana director concha fontenla, and cuban creative luis ramirez. the exhibition seeks to rediscover the teachings, endeavors and influence of the late artist. spread across three floors, the show offers a far-reaching display of tables, chairs, lounges, dressers, dining sets and desks that highlight porset’s commitment to craft, education, and core principles, while also illustrating the characteristic aesthetic and attention to detail imbued in her designs. within factoria habana, the pieces are presented alongside photographs of interior schemes and furniture sets that highlight porset’s use of wood and natural fibers, defining porset’s legacy in cuba and across the world.

clara porset factoria habana havana design biennial
the show offers a far-reaching display of stools, tables, chairs, dressers, dining sets and desks
image © designboom

 

 

 

porset was born in 1895 in the cuban city of matanzas. she was educated in new york, at columbia university’s school of fine arts, and later in paris, at the ecole des beaux arts, the sorbonne, and the louvre. she traveled widely throughout europe before returning to cuba in 1932, where she began to work professionally as an interior designer for both private and public spaces. dedicated to education, porset participated in numerous lectures in the hopes of informing cubans about the principles of modern design, and actively promoted the importance of her profession.

clara porset factoria habana havana design biennial
the exhibition spotlights porset’s cuban roots through a showcase of her furniture and interior designs 
image courtesy of factoria habana

 

 

 

following her support of the resistance movement, porset was forced to leave cuba. she ultimately settled in mexico, where she would remain for a large part of her life. there, she and her husband, painter and muralist xavier guerrero, became part of creative group working towards defining a modern, post-colonial mexico. she became fascinated by the county’s craft and tools, investigating traditional typologies in order to create designs that would blend modernity with heritage. some of her most important works are drawn from the culture: her variations on the ‘butaque’ — a long, low seat; and her ‘totonaca’ chairs and sofas — inspired by an ancient mesoamerican sculpture.

clara porset factoria habana havana design biennial
the exhibition is spread across three floors at factoria habana
image © designboom

 

 

 

while many of her aesthetic influences were drawn from mexican traditions, her cuban roots formed the backbone of her values about education, creative work, and the future of design in latin american communities. after the cuban revolution, porset returned to her country of birth. she worked on several institutional projects, designed furniture for the camilo cienfuegos school and escuela nacional de arte, and looked towards cuban colonial furniture — with curvaceous silhouettes and wicker materials — for reference.

 

the exhibition at factoria habana celebrates porset for her commitment to craft, creative undertakings, and dedication towards the development of design in her native cuba. 

clara porset factoria habana havana design biennial
view of clara porset-designed chairs made from tropical wood and leather
image courtesy of factoria habana

clara porset factoria habana havana design biennial
‘miguelito’ armchair, 59 x 72 x 75cm
image courtesy of factoria habana

clara porset factoria habana havana design biennial
small ‘butaque’ chairs made of leather 
image © designboom

clara porset factoria habana havana design biennial
detail of the ‘butaque’ chairs — a low lounge chair made with leather and wood 
image courtesy of factoria habana

clara porset factoria habana havana design biennial
a collection of wood rocking chairs are placed a the center of the gallery 
image courtesy of factoria habana

clara porset factoria habana havana design biennial
photograph of luis barragan’s home studio in mexico
image courtesy of factoria habana

clara porset factoria habana havana design biennial
pieces by porset are presented alongside photographs of her work in different contexts 
image © designboom

clara porset factoria habana havana design biennial
photograph of pieces in progress 
image courtesy of factoria habana

clara porset factoria habana havana design biennial
installation view of the exhibition ‘el eterno retorno’ at factoria habana gallery in havana 
image courtesy of factoria habana

clara porset factoria habana havana design biennial
a set of wooden furniture, featuring two rocking chairs, stationary chairs and table, on view at the gallery
image © designboom

clara porset factoria habana havana design biennial
two wooden chairs made by clara porset 
image courtesy of factoria habana

clara porset factoria habana havana design biennial
a dining set, with chairs made of wood with woven fabric seats 
image © designboom

clara porset factoria habana havana design biennial
portrait of concha fontenla, owner of factoria habana and curator of ‘el eterno retorno’
image © designboom

clara porset factoria habana havana design biennial
portrait of clara porset
image courtesy of factoria habana

 

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