Madrid — Spain
- for SACo y Mazda
S+DLH designed the Artis-Manus exhibition for the 3rd Madrid Design Festival. The show, dedicated to the concept of high-end craftsmanship, was created for SACo (Society of Contemporary Artists) and Mazda.
The Spanish word for craftsmanship, artesanía, comes from the Latin artis-manus, meaning “hand-made art”. Only human hands can create unique objects for everyday life that transcend and possess a distinctive, contemporary design. Both SACo, the Society of Contemporary Artists, and the Mazda motor company, with its Kodo: Soul of Motion design concept, share these values, which inspired the idea for this exhibition.
Jun’ichiro Tanizaki’s essay In Praise of Shadows was an important source of inspiration for us when working on this exhibition. In that text, we read that light has always been the most powerful ally of beauty in the West, but in traditional Japanese aesthetics the essential thing is to capture the mystery of shadow. The Japanese find beauty “not in the thing itself but in the patterns of shadows, the light and the darkness, that one thing against another creates”, the subtle interplay of flickering shades.
At S+DLH we wanted to represent craftsmanship over time with a visual presentation based on light and shadow, a meeting of East (Mazda) and West (SACo). Raw materials symbolise origins, while the illustrations made by artist Pedro Perles represent the life and soul of objects.
SACo and Mazda both defend the value of artisanal labour and the pursuit of excellence in crafting objects that rise above the ordinary through design. SACo advocates the revival of traditional artisanal methods in Spain, their cultural legacy and their application to contemporary design by working with cutting-edge craftspeople who are masters of their trades and experts in different disciplines.