Fabien Cappello: Sillas Callejeras/Street Chairs

University of California, Berkeley
March-May, 2019

Fabien Cappello’s SILLAS CALLEJERAS (STREET CHAIRS, 2018) offers lessons in design and ingenuity from Mexico City. The photographic series depicts a collection of chairs assembled from everyday contexts across the sprawling metropolis—market stalls, shops, street stands, and elsewhere. Cappello casts an anthropological eye on artifacts that reflect a city where artisanal manufacture and resourceful reuse still hold. In his installation at Berkeley, these images appear in unexpected corners of Jacobs Hall, taking on mundane forms that evoke the vernacular contexts from which the chairs are drawn. Cappello’s images offer a training in designerly attitude— cultivating an attention to everyday acts of making and making do that reveal design as a grounded practice of living in place.

Fabien Cappello (France, 1984) is an award winning furniture and product designer. He studied at the University of Art and Design (ECAL) in Lausanne, Switzerland and obtained a Masters degree (2009) in Design Products at the Royal College of Art of London under the tutelage of Martino Gamper and Jurgen Bey. He founded his eponymous studio in 2010 in London, exploring the creative use of local resources and manufacture. Between 2010 and 2011 he was awarded research residencies in Korea, Portugal, and Italy in partnership with local artisans. At this time, many of his projects involved surveying and mapping local resources, bringing attention to the unused or undervalued. Fabien Cappello moved to Mexico City in 2015 and the metropolis has served as a fertile context for the development of his practice.

Curated by Robert J. Kett, PhD
All photographs courtesy the designer