Recreo. Graphic thoughts from a neighbouring country

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Peru belongs to those particular countries where the ends of modernity contours touch the ends of the oldest tradition. That's why the ancestral is still asking us questions about the possible and impossible directions in the design of other modernities and contours. The graphic silhouette of these ideas are in themselves a contemporary reflection on the past, but also a concrete bet on the future.

The fact that a young designer from Mumbai, as Akshata Vishwanath, has been able to find easily the thread of this particular narrative, demonstrates the familiarity with other ancient designs resources and other frames, which may have similar stories, but in geographically distant territories.

From this reflection, current products developed by Akshata Vishwanath resume forms and inca geometric design elements, and are oriented towards a new drift, including the brightness color of the Andean modernity.

Originally understood as part of an Andean heraldry, but more recently understood as elements of a pictographic writing by other researchers, the Tokapus have been remarkably reinterpreted and reinvented here. Cut to be used in a modular and free way, they both build a unique piece of design, an educational hobby and a decorative piece of renovated historical vision.

What has been the most rewarding contribution to your career after being at La Stanza?
The entire experience: an opportunity to visit Peru, meeting the wonderful team at Studio A, delving deep into Peruvian culture, and the freedom to create based on my observations, made it immensely rewarding for my career and personal growth in more ways than I had imagined.

If you could make a comparison between the way we work in design studios in here, and in India, and maybe others countries you have experienced, what would you highlight?
All in all, I think design from Peru is very international and contemporary, while still bold and looking to stay true to the Peruvian aesthetic, based on the context. I think countries like Peru, and also India, are on their way to develop their unique voice between modern / traditional, global / local, and it is this counterbalance that I find very interesting, and full of potential.

How has the Peruvian culture impacted or changed your design point of view? Did something change a lot from the expectations you had before coming?
At La Stanza, I had the opportunity to experience the culture firsthand, and also discover more about the rich heritage through visits to various museums, and the beautiful city of Cusco. Coming from India, which is also a country rich in cultural tradition, it was incredible to see the effort designers in Peru make to get in touch with their national identity.

Having worked primarily in the digital space for the past couple of years, my work focused more on the present and future. I learnt how important it is to connect with your roots in order to create products for the future, because that is what makes you unique, and your work richer as well.

What would you recommend for the next residents of La Stanza?
Simply put- Be curious.

What inspired you the most for the development of Re:creo?
As a graphic designer, it was impossible not to be fascinated by Peruvian textiles. Right from my first museum visit, I was inspired by the geometric patterns and colors of the textiles I came across. The thought of playing with these forms, to create something modular, interactive, and for play, gave rise to the concept of Re:creo.

How did you decide to choose textile patterns, combined with “chicha colors” for this project?
My goal with the project was an investigation into how design can rebuild the future of the handicrafts in Peru.
I chose to work with contemporized versions of patterns from traditional Peruvian textiles. These were made in wood and hand-painted, in (Chicha) colors from Peruvian popular art.
The aim was to merge traditional and contemporary, in form, technique and production, and create something distinct out of this juxtaposition.

What is the vision or expectations you want people to get after seeing and touching the Re:creo pieces?
My primary vision is for people to explore, build, play and re-discover things from Peru’s past. I think play leads to curiosity, and eventually, discovery.
Another important aspect, which was new to me as well, is to understand the uniqueness of something handmade, and how that can still be contemporary in design.
Lastly, and most importantly, I would like people to have as much fun playing and exploring with the product as I had creating it.