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Bridging Cultures and Crafts at Milan Design Week

Alvaro Catalán de Ocón’s recent exhibition at Milan Design Week, featuring the Frafra Tapestry and PET Lamp Gurunsi, encapsulates a profound narrative of cultural preservation through innovative design. These works, inspired by the architectural forms and traditional crafts of northern Ghana's Gurunsi region, speak to a seamless integration of heritage and modernity.

Alvaro’s collaboration with the Baba Tree Basket Company began after his discovery of Gurunsi craftsmanship at the Quai Branly Museum in Paris, which celebrates non-Western arts. This partnership aims to reinterpret traditional basketry into contemporary art forms.

The Frafra Tapestry, born from this collaboration, uses architectural blueprints of local family compounds as its muse, translating these structures into meticulously woven tapestries. Each piece captures the essence of Gurunsi residential life, portraying the communal and organic nature of family growth and interaction.

Parallel to this, the PET Lamp Gurunsi extends the dialogue between traditional form and contemporary function. Made from recycled PET bottles, these lamps not only illuminate but also embody the principles of sustainability and community support. They stand as a testament to Alvaro’s commitment to environmental stewardship and cultural dialogue, bridging the gap between artisanal heritage and ecological responsibility.

With global recognition for both artistic and social impact, Alvaro’s work at Milan Design Week was not just a display of design prowess but a compelling statement on the power of design to effect change.

By transforming everyday materials and traditional techniques into striking pieces of functional art, Alvaro Catalán de Ocón elevates the discourse on how contemporary design can contribute to sustainability while honoring and preserving ancient cultures.


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