Cooperativa Panorámica: Exploring Design
by Andrea García Cuevas
March 25, 2015
Cooperativa Panorámica: Joel Escalona, Christian Vivanco, Moisés Hernández, Jorge Diego Etienne, Ian Ortega and José de la O.
"Materiality", Cooperativa Panorámica, 2013.
"Materiality", Cooperativa Panorámica, 2013.
"Colored Basalt Table", Cooperativa Panorámica, 2014.
"MONO", Cooperativa Panorámica, 2015.
"MONO", Cooperativa Panorámica, 2015.
"LEVEL Side Table", Cooperativa Panorámica, 2014.
"LEVEL Side Table", Cooperativa Panorámica, 2014.
"LEVEL Round Coffee Table", Cooperativa Panorámica, 2014.
"LEVEL Coffee Table", Cooperativa Panorámica, 2014.
In design, as in most creative disciplines, the figure of the author has always had great weight. Often, the individualism that accompanies the image of the lonely creative genius, inspired by the halo of his own self, is nothing more than the illusion of a brand.
 
Cooperativa Panorámica is one of those cases that demonstrate that other forms of work are possible. In the margins of a practice dedicated to design that is not only aesthetic but also critical, they opt for dynamics where the other is part of a circle of correspondences. This re-taken model, while not new, offers possibilities and suggests guidelines that ultimately foster their relationship with design.
 
Created in 2012 by six Mexican designers, José de la O (Mexico City, 1980), Joel Escalona (Mexico City, 1986), Jorge Diego Etienne (Tampico, 1983), Moisés Hernandez (Mexico City, 1983), Ian Ortega (Mexico DF, 1983) and Christian Vivanco (San Luis Potosi, 1983) – Cooperativa Panorámica is not a conventional group. Together they pervert the idea of an author absorbed in his knowledge to bring forth the sum of perspectives nourished from different contexts.
 
For its members, this cooperative means "to combine forces and work together, joining our names and styles for the sake of the project. Our goal is that this model of autonomous association of persons, who voluntarily cooperate for mutual, social, economic and cultural benefit, turns into a platform to work with different forms of business according to the exercise we're doing. "
 
The idea of ​​joining, they state, was born out of friendship and admiration among them and to gather as a society based on cooperation -both creatively as well as economical- was certainly not part of a spontaneous plan, much less isolated. Their organization is not ideal, utopian or replicable to any context, but it proved to be a viable strategy to deal with the problems and challenges that each one of them recognized in their independent work, which were present as symptoms of the generation they belong to: the limitations of the domestic market, malpractices in the field and the ambition to create Mexican design with international projection.
 
Concepts such as democracy, responsibility, freedom, solidarity, equality, effort and support are the pillars of their practice. To begin a project, the starting point is the meetings to debate and discuss the relevance, objectives and principles that support the piece or the collection. The distance marked by their different points of residences is not a problem; they have different online tools to assist them: "We begin designing collaboratively across different virtual tools or intensive workshops where we build on the ideas of each one of us to reach the best design representing the sum of the six.”
 
Moreover, they share a vision of design with which they have managed to give identity to the cooperative: "We are interested in creating our design pieces as a mean of expression, being inclusive and diverse critics. We want Panorámica to transcend the object and adopt a discourse with each of its exercises”. That is why we can see that all their collections are distinguished by continuity in forms and concepts.
 
Their first collection, Materiality, was the result of extensive research on the value of materials whose qualities and everyday uses may be considered as common, such as basalt, terrazzo, copper and glass. The interest in materiality is also reflected in the Colored Basalt series, which marked the beginning of works in unexplored territories: the color as a resource to determine the nature of an object and the interaction that the user may have with it, which is undoubtedly an equally distinctive feature of their Mono collection.
 
With their most recent project, LEVEL, created for Ángulo Cero, Panorámica pursues their objective of pushing the boundaries of design through exploration and experimentation. The collection consists of tables based on the concept of the minimum as a resource in order to reach the meeting point and the perfect level between two different elements.
 
"LEVEL was born from the obsession to find a way to bring simplicity and functionality to a minimum. This is a collection of minimalist furniture that balances contrasting materials in one expressive composition. The contrast of these pieces lies in the materials used (tinted glass, marble or anodized aluminum), where each intersected plate relies on another for support and balance”.
 

In LEVEL as well as with the different projects of Panorámica, beauty is the result of experimentation and design study.