PANAM PANAMA // Multicultural collaboration

PANAM PANAMÁ is a double collection of lightings created by Léa Baert, inspired by its collaboration with different communities of Panamanian craftsmen.

The collection is available in two versions, “Panam” and “Panamá”: In Paris, the designer honors French savoir-faire and declines wall lamp and table lamp in granite and leather weaving. Each lighting is made with order in its Parisian studio and lends itself willingly to custome-made product. In Panama, materials continue to be manufactured in collaboration with fiber and soapstone craftsmen to be sold locally in Panama City concept stores.

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Léa Baert traveled three regions of the country in search of craftsmen as one plays the treasure hunt. The designer found herself in the jungle of Changuinola alongside the Teribe Indians and then in the village of Monagrio on the Pacific coast to land in the community of Membrillo in the heart of the forest.

Improvised workshops have gradually been set up with the Panamanian craftsmen. A real exchange took place on the techniques and materials used, the experience becoming a true cultural fusion. The desire to create a link between France and Panama is there.

A work for eight hands then naturally came into being.

The forms of  plinths were developed with German, ceramic artist in the village of Monagrio, then reinterpreted in soapstones by Asaël Magallon of the community of Membrillo. Mario and Soila Gonzales wove with four hands on the structure of the ventilator recovered in the workshop of José to Jano Bonito. They worked with their neighbors Asaël to find a link between stone and weaving, thus creating an additional encounter between two craftsmen who had never worked together before.

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These experiments were born from the desire to change certain parameters in the manufacturing process of the craftsman and to observe the consequences.

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The ecological aspect of this beautiful project is not negligible. Not only are the used ventilator racks in Panama and rarely recycled, which is the case in PANAM PANAMÁ. But in addition, the soapstone, also called “Belmont” is a 100% natural stone since volcanic coming from the region of Coclé. Both resistant and extremely brittle, it’s shaped using simple tools and disintegrates on contact with water.

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The index of forms was born from the designer’s observation of formal rehearsals in the Panamanian landscape: hut roofs, ceramic ovens, fireplaces, floats, piles of stones.

Following the artisan-designer collaboration set up in Panama in February 2016, the PANAM PANAMÁ project has always aimed to develop in parallel with Panama and France in order to create a twinned collection.

It is a question of observing the mutations of the same collection of objects with regard to the constraints imposed by the country of manufacture (materials, cultures, distribution networks) and to allow the exchange of skills specific to each country.

THE OTHER SIGHT has put together an exclusive interview with Léa Baert.

Expositions :

Harvest / Dutch Invertuals / Musée des Arts Décoratifs / D’days 2017
Harvest / Dutch Invertuals / Milan Design Week 2017
Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche / Collection printemps-été 2017
Wild Things by Li Edelkoort / Texture Museum / Biennale de Courtrai 2016
Now le Off / Cité de la mode et du design / Paris Design Week 2016
Prix du Public ‘Rado Star Prize’ 2016

T/O/S.