New IKEA collaboration has Latin America and celebration at heart
Designers of different disciplines, artists, an architect, a ceramicist, and a chef. These are the creative forces set to share their perspectives on celebration and Latin America in an upcoming IKEA collection. We spoke to two of them, Mexican textile designer Marisol Centeno and Colombian fashion designer Nicolás Rivero, about what celebration means to them and how they’re weaving it into the collaboration.
Whether it’s a birthday, wedding or big holiday, every celebration calls for having a few key elements in place. The space and the atmosphere set with the right lighting and decoration, the food and drink evoking everything from personal taste and mood to tradition and community, the music to enhance the moment. And then, of course, the people that make it all come to life.
In a new IKEA collaboration on celebration, some of those people – the guests of honour, if you will – are nine creatives from Chile, Colombia, and Mexico. All set to bring their own takes on celebration, gathering, and socializing around food and music to the table in a collection meant to enable and encourage it further.
“In Mexico, we love to celebrate and be together. Everything is a good occasion for gathering. And our festivities and traditions are as diverse as our inhabitants. With this collaboration, I can share the story of it”, says Marisol Centeno, designer and founder of artisanal textile and rug company Bi Yuu.
In Mexico, we love to celebrate and be together. Everything is a good occasion for gathering. And our festivities and traditions are as diverse as our inhabitants.
The art of celebration in Mexico has been conserved, not least through various religious and colourful ceremonies. Growing up in Mexico City, one of Marisol’s own earliest memories of a celebratory event was her older sister’s first communion, a Catholic tradition and rite of passage.
“It was the first real event for me that was a little more sophisticated, in a nice restaurant with waiters and special table settings”, she recalls fondly. “Most of the invited people were kids, so we were just playing around with some brooms and making a lot of noise. It was amazing. I had a lot of fun that day”.
For the collaboration with IKEA, Marisol is particularly inspired by another tradition found in Mexico: Guelaguetza. It’s a Zapotec word, concept, and colourful festivity celebrated by indigenous communities of the state of Oaxaca, which is also where the artisans she works closely with for Bi Yuu are from.
“Guelaguetza is the tradition of offering mutual help between family and friends to organize private or community parties. It helps democratize traditional celebrations through sharing economic contributions and ensure that they will always happen. I think it’s a very romantic example of how celebration can join a community”, Marisol explains. “No matter what, we all need to gather and celebrate.”
Bringing the contrasts of the Andes to home furnishing
For Colombian designer Nicolás Rivero, fashion and clothing – from his punk rock youth to his own fashion brand, A New Cross – have long been an important part of communicating identity. He sees the collaboration with IKEA as an opportunity to do the same in home furnishing, exploring and communicating a relatively lesser-known approach to the Latin American imaginary.
“Most people, when they think of Latin America, immediately they think of colour. It’s lush, it’s joyful, it’s fruitful – and yes, that is very Latin American too”, he says. “But where I come from, we’re in the Andes. There is this quiet, melancholic colour palette here that’s not the usual thought for people imagining Latin America.”
You can’t speak about one Latin American culture, because it holds so many things. But there’s a warmth I think Latin America, not only Colombia, has to offer the world.
The foggy, rainy aesthetic of the mountains marks the work Nicolás does with weavers of Andean communities for A New Cross. But the cooler environment and palette found amidst the mountains in Bogotá, Colombia is nonetheless offset with a welcoming warmth in the home. A warmth he believes to be at the heart of Latin America at large.
“You can’t speak about one Latin American culture, because it holds so many things. But there’s a warmth I think Latin America, not only Colombia, has to offer the world”, says Nicolás.
An example that comes to mind takes Nicolás back to his childhood, to a family reunion in the southern Colombian city of Nariño, where his mother is from.
“We went to the house of one of our uncles, which was a very small house. And I remember how we put together different tables and chairs from all the rooms in order for us all to fit in the kitchen”, he recounts with a smile. “I think it’s something quite beautiful, and I’ve been exploring it very much in this collaboration. How we interact at the table, how we open ourselves up to a lot of people – and how even if we don’t have space, we make room for everyone to feel welcome.”
“We’re always curious to learn at IKEA. And as IKEA enters new markets in Latin America, we’re also opening up to new expressions and perspectives in working with design”, says Tjeerd van Waijenburg, Range & Product Design Leader at IKEA.
“With this collaboration, we’re starting to explore traditions of coming together and culture in Latin America with local creatives that each bring their own rich perspectives to it.”
The IKEA collaboration with Latin American creatives will be available in stores in April 2023.