ames Brings Colombian Color, Craft + Tradition Into 2023
Today we’re catching up with ames, a company that predominantly uses traditional natural materials and craft techniques found in Colombia. The German-Colombian furniture and accessories brand has dropped several new collaborations for 2023 throughout the year, as well as extensions of existing collections by returning industrial designers. Together, a creative dialogue is started that showcases what’s possible with materials and techniques often previously unknown to the brand’s collaborators. Co-founder Ana María Calderón Kayser begins by immersing the designers in the culture during weeks long research trips that unveil the diversity of the country and an understanding of Colombia’s design and craft tradition that’s then built off of in each project.
“Colombia’s character is defined by its altitude. Colombia has no seasons, but it has snowy mountains, rainforest, coastal areas, and deserts,” says Ana María Calderón Kayser. “Whether we use fique fibers, iraca, or werregue depends on the availability of the raw materials and their specific characteristics. Sometimes we have to wait for years before we can use the material.” The production chain from acquisition of raw materials to the final product is in the hands of small manufacturers and family businesses.
Part of the 2023 release includes three special edition Cartagenas Reina Chairs by Sebastian Herkner. This brings the total up to five limited special editions, each with its own individual colorway inspired by the plumage of Colombian hummingbirds.
The first variant, Cartagenas Reina Chair Ltd. Edition 3, combines black and caramel brown with pastel beige and copper red. A mix of black, yellow, blue, and beige characterizes the second variant, Ltd. Edition 4. Meanwhile, the third design, Ltd. Edition 5, features soft brown and beige tones.
Reina is the newest addition to ames’ expansive Cartanegas collection – all designed by Herkner – and is made of galvanized, powder-coated steel tubing and PVC twine made from recycled plastic. It takes the Colombian artisans several days to handcraft this chair, which features a blurred effect that changes color from every angle.
The Coco Modular Seating Collection is MUT Design’s first upholstered seating family, and it’s inspired by origami. For indoor and outdoor use, the chair and ottoman feature a foam core finished with hand-woven covers, while geometric tables accent the squared-off angles. Inspiration also comes from the comecocos paper game, popular in Latin American countries. When playing, children open a folded origami paper to find hidden answers to their questions. The Coco collection includes armchairs, footstools, and tables, each available in several colorways that can be combined with one other.
Coco allows basic forms, rounded edges, and bright colors to shine while putting the talent of the artisans on full display. The concealed seam textile cover is made of dyed acrylic yarns, woven on a horizontal handloom in the Bolívar region, in a process that results in patterns and color variations. “By changing just one single thread, the patterns in the wefts become very vibrant. The bright colors create depth and perspective. You get the impression that the fabric is constantly changing,” says MUT Design.
The newest three Guapi Cactos Vases, inspired by Colombian cactus gardens and designed by Mae Engelgeer, are a collection extension. The shapely, oversized, hand-woven vases are made in Bogota using recycled PVC, while the originals in the series are made from Chocolatillo straw. Their size, three-dimension effect, and bright colors make for a statement piece indoors or out.
“In order to define the shape of Guapi Cactos, we used a metal construction similar to the Chocolatillo straw version. We then experimented with different materials for each of the three shapes,” says Engelgeer. “It was particularly important to us that the central part of the vases would have a particular effect of depth and that the “ears” – the lateral elements of the vases – would be made of a different material to that of the body of the vases.”
Another addition to the Cartagenas range from Herkner is the Two-Seater Bench. The designer was inspired by Cartagena, a metropolis on the Colombian Caribbean coast where diverse cultural backgrounds meet and merge. Like other pieces in the collection, the indoor/outdoor bench is characterized by filigree weaving in bold colors, a powder-coated tubular steel frame, and a weave made of recycled PVC string. Smooth curves and strong colorways make the bench an elegant piece of furniture with a strong presence that can be grouped with other pieces from the Cartagenas family.
The Lazo Wall Shelf is ames’ first collaboration with up-and-coming Belgian designer Charlotte Lancelot, as well as the first shelf in the company’s lineup of products. To make Lazo, artisans from Bogota weave recycled PVC string around a steel frame, using two colors per shelf to create decorative patterns unique to the brand. While the solid weave leaves users with a flat, firm surface to hold things, the shape is a resource-saving design. Lancelot intentionally kept it simple to ensure easy stacking, storage, and transport. An advantage of using PVC in Lazo – and other ames products – is that it’s a moisture-resistant material that can be used indoor or outdoors. The shelf is available in three sizes and five colors to create accents or be playfully combined.
To learn more about all ames has to offer, including other recently released products, visit amesliving.de.