6 Modern Latin Makers Share Their One-Of-A-Kind Designs


At the renovated Hispanic Society Museum & Library, Latin American makers Juliana Lima Vasconcellos, José Miguel Schnaider, Alexis Tingey, Lula Galeano, Lufti Janania and Giovanni Valdeavellano all showcase works honoring their heritages and inspirations. 

Check Out These Latin Makers At The Hispanic Society Museum & Library

brown wall with arches and white chairs at the Hispanic Society Museum & Library

Hallowed Creative Halls

Founded in 1904, the Hispanic Society Museum & Library has emerged from a years-long renovation at the hands of Selldorf Architects. The storied institution houses an extensive collection of art and artifacts from Spanish-and Portuguese-speaking countries. The museum aims to amplify and uplift Hispanic heritage and creativity, including Latin American artists forging their own multicultural identities. Nestled under an ornate terra-cotta archway in the Main Court, Juliana Lima Vasconcellos’ eucalyptus wood Giraffe chairs flaunt their angular silhouettes, seen on the Invisible Collection. The Brazilian architect and designer cites her home country’s rich cultural mix—specifically African and Portuguese colonial influences—as sources of inspiration.

red staircase with pots and tile artwork

Geological Design Gems

José Miguel Schnaider considers himself part designer and part explorer of the mineral world. As the founder of Mexico City’s Sten Studio, he leans into local lapidary traditions when conceiving his designs. “I am proud to be Mexican and Latino, but I do not necessarily need to follow a specific aesthetic,” Schnaider remarks. Rather, he offers fresh interpretations of cultural heritage. His VSII.I and VSV.III stools—placed on a stairway adorned with 3rd-century Roman mosaics from Spain—are composed of dark lava stone and red travertine and blue calcite, respectively, acting as a visual metaphor for volcanos and a tribute to Mexico’s volcanic belt region.

2-part artwork celebrating a royal procession behind a hammock

Stitched Together In Memory

Rhode Island School of Design alumna Alexis Tingey spent her childhood summers in Mexico where she learned embroidery from her grandmother. Tingey’s Don’t Remind Me hammock—showcased in front of Spanish artist Joaquín Sorolla’s Vision of Spain (1912-1919) in the Sorolla Gallery—speaks to the physicality of memory. The hand-welded patinated steel base supports a hand-pleated linen fabric collage depicting “personal items intended to be forgotten.” Tingey, whose first studio collection launches this year, is eager to see more women of Latin American origin represented in design to usher in rich storytelling, new ideas and unheard voices.

white lamp fixtures on table at the Hispanic Society Museum & Library

Organic Natural State

Since founding Studio Galeón in 2017, Lula Galeano has watched the design landscape evolve to include more awareness around non-Eurocentric craft. A multidisciplinary designer who splits time between New York, London and her home country of
Argentina, Galeano frequently collaborates with skilled artisans to enhance the
beauty of natural materials used in her work. For Lampara 1 and Lampara 2, shown here, Galeano joined forces with millworker Christopher Gatton to achieve the lamps’
perfectly unrefined shape. The bases are remnants of stone boulders sourced from
Mexico which retain their jagged forms, save for polished edges. Each one-of-a-kind piece is outfitted with sleek brass hardware and a smooth blown glass opal bulb.

yellow wall fixture at the Hispanic Society Museum & Library

Fantastical Botanic Beauty

Artist Lufti Janania’s childhood growing up on a rural bioreserve between the mountains and rainforests in Honduras continues to inform his eye today. Working out of a Brooklyn studio, he creates fantastical objects, sculptures and installations from botanicals and flora. His latest collection, a series of mirrors fitted on custom wood frames draped in woven palm fiber, like the Tela, seen here, features hand-sewn, delicately pleated curled rosettes. Janania counts Latin America’s indigenous heritage and colonial history—specifically in Honduras where Mayan ruins and Baroque architecture meet—as additional sources of inspiration, taking in the visual romance and ornate decoration to inform his work.

curvy black chairs at the Hispanic Society Museum & Library

Curvy Rockstar Character

“I adapt and take from wherever I go,” explains artist Giovanni Valdeavellano of where he pulls inspiration. For the New York–based talent, and founder of Studio Poa, also part of Love House, that includes fashion street style, his childhood in Guatemala and the ways in which information is readily shared and consumed. The Santiago Chair 1 and Santiago Chair 2, shown here, are made of solid ash, stained and then finished in hard wax oil. The design explores how a seat can make one feel transformed into a different character—like how a king feels on a throne or a defendant feels in a courtroom. This particular pair are shaped like guitars, intended to make the sitter feel like a rockstar.

All Photography By The Ingalls