While arteBA basked in the limelight right next door, there was something honest about the Feria Puro Diseño. The two are really not so different: lots of eye-catching booths, corporate sponsors galore, thousands of unique works of art and designed objects for sale. There has been lots of buzz about how the commercial side of arteBA has gone horribly overboard. There’s no such quibbling over design products. Of course it’s all about financial gain. It’s a product.
“Color” was the fair’s official theme this year, nice and vague enough to work for everyone. The color green reigned however. Palosanto Maderas had lust-worthy reclaimed wood furniture. Kuku, a resident of Patio del Liceo just downstairs from Mite and Purr, used recycled glass bottles to make particularly charming home-wares.
Government sponsored Buenos Aires Design boasted a small but popular “Museo Sustenable” featuring knockout furniture by porteño designers, made from materials like corrugated cardboard and magazines. Of all the crazes the design world has embraced over the years, eco-consciousness does seem to have lasting power. After all, who wants to be the guy to bring back wastefulness and over-consumption? The young designers I chatted with were candidly passionate about the grander mission of their entrepreneurial pursuits.
I was surprised to discover nearly half the floor of Puro Diseño is populated by fashion boutiques. I recognized quite a few names from the streets of Palermo SoHo, many of which were offering special deals for fair-goers. New faces were not in short supply either. As I tried on some new fall footwear at August, I learned that many online-only stores participated in the fair. August decided to test the water and raise capital before they commit to renting out a bona fide storefront for their designs. This approach reassured me that Puro Diseño remains accessible to young, emerging designers.
There were definitely a few stalls which furrowed my brow. Designer dog beds replete with nightstands? Haute couture muffins? Keeping the door open to very-early-career designers probably has more pros than cons. There are definitely some cons though. Here, they materialized in the form of crocheted flowerpot cozies for the chilly cactus.
If arteBA distracted you from Puro Diseño this year, definitely don’t miss out next time around. It’s worth wandering. Prices were somewhat reasonable. And, thanks to the inclusion of culinary designers, the food is better…or at least better looking.