Loro Piana Interiors introduced “Apacheta” at Milan Design Week, presenting a new project by Argentinian designer and artist Cristián Mohaded through an installation inside the Cortile della Seta, at Loro Piana’s Milanese headquarters, transformed into a dreamlike landscape inspired by the Andean tradition that has always accompanied travellers. Two outdoor installations in Piazzetta Brera and via Montenapoleone 27, in the courtyard of the Loro Piana store, completed the journey.
Apachetas are piles of stones that mark paths and passes in the Andes. They were built through the centuries by travelers, who walked those impervious distances and carried a stone from the plains to the heights, where they were left, when crossing a pass, as a tribute and a thanksgiving to the spirit of the Pachamama, Mother Earth. Traveler after traveler, stone after stone, the Apachetas grew to become massive towers: from the earth they rise to the sky like a prayer made of irregular rocks. They are beautiful and sacred, unstable in their centuries-old stability.
Apachetas have become the starting point of the journey that Cristián Mohaded has taken with Loro Piana Interiors, creating a tribute to nature with a sustainable approach. The collaboration between the maison and the designer is based on shared values such as passion for materials and craftsmanship, and the certainty that beauty and harmony can arise from contrasts. And there is a land, Argentina, and more precisely the province of Catamarca, in the north-west, where Mohaded was born and where Loro Piana sources the most precious and rarest of natural animal fibres: vicuña. A thread linking two souls deeply in love with nature and its gifts, a love based on respect.
Apachetas and the contrasting landscapes of Catamarca, counterposing angular majestic rocks, rivers, white and red lagunas, bushes tweaks turned into crystals of salt, become the inspiration for the dreamy landscape that Mohaded and Loro Piana Interiors have conceived for the Design Week. The Cortile della Seta is transformed into a dreamlike space, where twelve towers reaching up to 8 meters rise from the ground: irregular, angular, apparently instable, the stones are covered with Loro Piana Interiors fabrics from old collections, here gaining a second life. In this way the landscape of the Apachetas also invites to a conversation about sustainability and the possibility of reusing discarded materials, while ennobling them.
Nestled among the towers in the center of the Cortile della Seta, the pieces of furniture designed by Mohaded are there to be admired: sofas, stools, a bench, courtesy tables. They look like stones, softened by using tactile materials by Loro Piana Interiors. They feature hand-carved wooden elements in the more rounded parts, to create contrast, like rocks between the stones that give stability and offer surfaces to rest objects on. Wood and fabric meet a third material: ceramic, whose colors are inspired by the Argentine lagoons, red or white, the same colors as the towers. All taken from the extraordinary natural palette of the landscape. Ceramic is transformed into the surface of the tables, to create small lagoons between the furniture.
«We approached Cristián knowing his passion for craftsmanship, his research in materials, his extreme love for them, for their textures and contrasts. Everything he creates starts from this and we thought it was the right artist to entrust with our own materials», explains Francesco Pergamo, Director of Loro Piana Interiors Division. «When we saw the project, we had the immediate certainty that it was beyond expectations. Cristián has not only put all his magic into the materials, but has infused the design with all the values we share».
Visitors entering the installation turn into travelers, the same people who have built the Apachetas over the centuries. They wander respectfully in a landscape where all the original contrasts are recreated by mixing and juxtaposing textures and materials.
«This project is undoubtedly another bridge of that relationship and connection between Latin America and the brand», explains Cristián Mohaded. «A unique, dreamy landscape that defies the imagination of each one of those traveling souls, who travel and meet those monumental contractions in the form of towers, alive with color and memory of a living land. In which we feel identified by each of those parts that build everything. “Apacheta” is a message to our Pachamama, it is history, it is culture, it is honesty and respect».