Design, produce and share. LABoral Design Market: a space for creators

Local design and manufacture go hand in hand every year at a new edition of the LABoral Design Market

Published: Apr 25, 2013

By Marta Lorenzo Jáudenes (@MartaLorenzoJ) My Art Diary

All of us can recall those days when we have gone to a design market with friends or relatives. We remember those items whose originality has attracted our attention. And we think “How I would love to be able to make this! How did the idea come about? It must be quite complicated….” Well, the inhabitants of Gijón have been able to enjoy a new edition of the now classic LABoral Design Market on 13 and 14 April. But how is this market different from any other? Not only because of its location, as it is held in the main hall of the Centre itself, but I would also say that, above all, due to the quality and originality of its designers.

It is true that this is a market with history and tradition as it has been underway since 2008. The novelty in this edition has been focused on its quality seal, coined with the name “Hand Made with Love”, which certifies that when we stand in front of a t-shirt or brooch at the market, we do so with the knowledge that they are self-produced and limited edition items. And besides all this, we shouldn´t forget the premises of sustainable design and local manufacture. It is significant for its expansion that when designers using this “quality seal” attend similar events in other places in Asturias or Spain, they will bear the distinctive seal of the LABoral Design Market.

Carteles pasadas ediciones del Mercadillo

Promotional posters of previous editions of the design market

The number of applications to take part in this new edition of the market has been very high, which LABoral facilitates by an affordable registration fee and the final result is a selection of 50 artists from the Principality of Asturias. It would be quite complicated to list in this post the particular characteristics of these 50 participants. That’s why, and to give a taste of its new call in summer, I will mention only a few of the “jewels” that could be seen and purchased at this stall market for its first call in 2013: T-shirts by Annpersand –one of the designer groups recently incorporated into the market, graphic work by Belén García Montoya under the pseudonym of Begmont, hand-made soaps by Delaflower, bracelets and necklaces by Fallinstyle, brooches by Jdön, accessories by Joëlle Joyas, custom cushions by Luka Thepau, crochet works by Miss Entretelas –now a classic within the market-, bags by Porque Sueño…, recycled furniture by Telas Cajas y Tinajas, dolls by Mundo Hebi and vintage brooches and earrings by Noeastur; all of this sweetened with Pensamientos Dulces’s cupcakes. You can see photographs of the great atmosphere at the last session of the market on the LABoraL’s Facebook page and also explore its designers’ original websites on the following link.

Design, produce and share. LABoral Design Market: a space for creators

Handcrafted soaps made with the market’s name. Photo: Delaflower

But why would you have a design market in an art centre? The answer to this question lies in the values of LABoral as a multidisciplinary institution - a “different museum” in the words of its management - whose purpose could be summed up principally as supporting artists and creators in the development of ambitious projects in the arts environment. Undoubtedly, in this case it provides at the outset a place for designers where they can generate their own contacts network and develop new professional opportunities and, at the same time, approach a public which increasingly values manufacturing "by hand", removed from the commonly accepted production channels, which is full of life, personal and thereby distancing itself from an industrialised economic system.

This initiative clearly takes up again the concept of “Do It Yourself” in a society that values a return to what we could refer to as "self-management". A fact that shows us that LABoral is much more than a centre for industrial creation as indicated by its name.

If we look back at the "DIY" ethic, this fundamentally rejects the idea of always having to buy the things we need from others. Standing out in the history of this trend or ethic is punk thinking which is characterised by making this philosophy part of it by mending garments or making their own clothes. Yet the origins lie in the movement born in England at the end of the nineteenth century which is known as “Arts and Crafts”. It emerged as a reaction to the first industrial style, and we have the movement to thank for its fight to promote creativity and art in the face of series production. Today, perhaps exacerbated by the crisis, we are more than ever the inheritors of this leitmotiv.

To conclude and as a reflection of the Centre’s main vocation to foster and spread the creative use of ICTs, LABoral is preparing for its design market a line of products designed and made by  fabLAB Asturias, the art centre’s digital fabrication laboratory, operating as a space for production, research and development. Finally, the visitors are also offered author objects specifically designed for the LABoral shop, along with catalogues on the exhibitions at the art centre and specialised magazines.

Have you been encouraged by my post? See you this summer at the next session of the LABoral Design Market?

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