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Puro Chile: Unique aesthetic, shared sensibility

By Francis Pacheco
-    Aug 30, 2016
Credit : GMI Post

The Andes Mountains is a natural border that has separated Chile and its eastern neighbors. This geographic reality has allowed Chileans to develop and nurture an aesthetic sense and design distinct from the rest of South America.

Housed within the offices of renowned architect Matthias Klotz, Puro Chile has been an exponent of the best of contemporary Chilean design. According to Claudia Pertuze,

An exhibit to promote Puro Chile’s book, Blanca Montana (White Mountain). Credit: Puro Chile

executive director of Puro Chile, the foundation’s mission is “to identify, rescue and promote modern Chilean architecture and design.”

Founded in 2004, the foundation publishes books and organizes events that highlight the best of Chilean design and architecture towards the end of the 1970’s. Puro Chile’s seminal publication, “Blanca Montana” (“White Mountain”), is a bilingual book that illustrates the different types of design that evolved in within Chile’s isolation.

What is striking about modern Chilean design is how it shares a lot of characteristics with Japanese design. Because Chile and Japan are located in the so-called Ring of Fire, the vast area in the Pacific Ocean prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, the design sensibility of the two countries reflect a fear of Nature’s wrath yet address that collective apprehension.

To survive such calamities, Chilean design not only has to be beautiful, but must also be functional and responsive to natural disasters. Beyond utility, Chilean design must blend of man’s needs with geographic realties.

While Chileans can learn a lot from Japanese ingenuity and design and adapt them to their local circumstances, Japan can also take a lot from Chile’s own design philosophy. These two distant neighbors share a vision on how humans live, work and play.

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