Pedro Reyes & Carla Fernández

A Space to be Read

Seen from the street, the house of fashion designer Carla Fernández and artist-architect Pedro Reyes appears to have descended from the skies. A front door that could belong to a submarine opens onto a space filled with billowing clouds of grit-dust.

In one of the adjoining studios two men are at work on a large stone sculpture of a face. I have entered a black-and-white world, further outlines and colors only slowly becoming discernible as the dust begins to settle.

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Carla greets me hurriedly, excusing herself – she has been summoned to meet the Minister of Cultural Affairs and has to leave straight away. Pedro emerges from his studio on the mezzanine, where a sea of book covers almost seems to engulf him as he comes down the stairs. In the living-room no wall space is left uncovered: thousands of books are shelved here, collected from rare-bookstores the world over. Pedro is a dedicated reader, but the stories amassed here would take more than one lifespan to read. These books aren’t merely meant for himself. ‘A book that sits safely in its shelf equals a destroyed book to me. Books are made to be read.’

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Books, texts and stories are central to the work of both. Fernández creates sustainable clothing, in close collaboration with traditional artisans from various Mexican communities. Her designs are architectural in appearance; she never works with cut-outs from patterns. Each piece is constructed from the two basic geometric shapes of traditional Mexican weaving, the triangle and the square. The words textile, technique and text are literally entwined in their Latin origin. A hand-woven piece of fabric resembles a page, with stories embroidered by needle and thread. Fernández doesn’t cut her fabrics at all – thereby leaving their texts intact.

 

Read the full story in issue No.13.

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