Founded in 2002 by designers Martin Sabattini and Manu Rapoport, DESIGNO-patagonia is a studio located in Bariloche, a Patagonian city about 1000 miles south from the capital Buenos Aires.
The studio is dedicated primarily to the design and production of green products such as furniture, lighting and home accessories. It operates via direct sales, through exclusive Argentine shops and as a supplier to some of the major hotels in the region.
“Our main goal is to create objects that capture the history, elements and hand crafted work particular to Patagonia while maintaining a respect for natural and human resources. Wood, rock and leather are fundamental to us in expressing the strong character of our unique region”.
“We specialise in the creative use of non conventional materials such as the “coin plant” (Lunaria annua), Alerce shingles salvaged from old structures, river rocks and pebbles and logs found washed up on the lake shore; all of which give our products a strong sense of local identity”.
DESIGNO-patagonia realises the full potential of these materials to create an endless number of products from complete office furniture sets to simple toys, everything from production to custom pieces.
DESIGNO-patagonia also works with projects involving social and environmental sustainability including the use of recycled materials, collaborating with the local craft sector whilst developing design concepts for public spaces. Manu Rapoport and Martín Sabattini, of DESIGNO-patagonia are qualified product designers.
Manu was born in Bariloche, in 1973. He received his degree from the University of Cordoba, Argentina. He lived in Barcelona for some time where he worked for two design and architecture studios whilst studying Environmental Management side by side. In 2007 he was selected to represent Argentina in the International Young Design Entrepreneur of the Year Award organised by the British Council. Being a rock climber, he strongly believes in nurturing nature rather than destroying it.
Martín was born in Cordoba in 1976 but has adopted Bariloche as the city where he wants to live and work. He also received the Industrial Design Degree from the University of Cordoba. His final thesis was a research on the use and value of the Algarrobo wood as a development resource in the marginal regions of Traslasierra, Cordoba. He also collaborated in projects which promoted the aiding of the local craftsmen by Industrial Designers in the north of Cordoba.
He too loves nature, since he is a fly-fishing fan, and believes in protecting our planet as much as we can.Shares the team, “We have an optimistic view of Argentine design, of its aesthetic and social values, and we try to do our best to both present and preserve our culture.
We believe in using the latest of technologies most appropriate to our craft and in the reevaluation of the material resources of the region. It is fundamental for us to recover, conserve and promote the knowledge and know-how of our people by incorporating them into regional design.”
Patagonia, a land full of wind, snow, desert and mountains offers a wide palette of materials: stones polished by the Andean rivers, wood from the nothofagus trees, wooden tiles from old constructions and lambskins from the steppes. Argentina is a land of surprising stories where original people coexist with European descendants.
All this richness manifests in the studio’s work: from contemporary furniture, lamps and decorative accessories to unique objects. DESIGNO-patagonia’s designs are flexible and made as per client requirement, as for the studio, apart from being eco-friendly, it also takes pride in providing customer satisfaction.
In a way, DESIGNO-patagonia is perpetuating the skills of the craftsmen of the days gone by who made bespoke objects using only local materials without causing any harm to the environment.
Text Compiled By Mala Bajaj