This new series, COLLECTIBLE In-Depth, unveil the backstage of contemporary creation. Tackling various topics from personal designer processes to the position of collectible design on the global design market; these COLLECTIBLE In-Depth offer different views to suit all tastes. Today we talk with Humberto da Mata from Galerie REVEL.
COLLECTIBLE: What are the challenges in presenting contemporary collectible design?
Humberto da Mata: The challenge of creating a relevant object for the moment. A lot has been proposed in design. Thinking about what relevant object/material I should approach to create a piece that interests me and the public becomes a challenge.
I like to be aware of what I am creating, but it is a process that takes time. It is a path. A challenging one concerning the control you have over your production and the exercise of thinking and rethinking about it. A path that is not linear and that gets more complicated with time.
It's been about ten years since I started working with design. Always focused on the research of manual processes. I have started to work with different techniques and materials in this period, first hand made upholstery and then ceramics and paper pulp.
I was driven closer to the atelier processes during the pandemic. I already had some experimentations with ceramics but in mid-2020 I focused on research with paper pulp, a material that I was presented with when I was a child and later, I did some research inside my atelier. It proved to be a material that was linked in some ways to ceramics and that was able to be a way of concretization of some ideas into objects with different scales and conformations.
This path, focused on manual processes, shows the way I’m working to explore this challenge.
C: Can you talk about a new piece / collection that you release for COLLECTIBLE this year?
Humberto da Mata: At COLLECTIBLE 2022, I am presenting the collection ORGUS VI with Gallery REVEL.
ORGUS is the series of works I started about 4 years ago that is focused on hand modelings and the construction of objects. It started with ceramics and now I also use paper pulp for the modeling process. At COLLECTIBLE, I'm presenting the 6th chapter of this research.
ORGUS VI is a group of 5 furniture pieces. Some of the presented typologies are new to this body of work, like the coffee table. I also present some more detailed and intricate modeling, as the result of using paper pulp to build big pieces with smaller elements.
The pieces were all hand modeled in paper pulp and structured with plywood and metal profiles. The finishes were made with automotive paint and resin, bringing textures and a new materiality to my work.
As a conclusion, I would say this collection represents some of the latest research happening in my studio in São Paulo.
C: What do you think collectible design brings compared to other more massively produced pieces?
HM: It brings new possibilities. Most of the time massively produced means a process that is very industrial oriented. When creating unique pieces in a studio, you can have a different approach to what is being produced, especially with the approach of manual process like the one I have. You can study new materials, evolve solutions and be capable of orienting your production towards your ideas in a more dynamic way.
This is why I'm focused on singles pieces at the moment: this approach gives me an ability to research that allows me to work more freely and faster. I'm very driven by newness, even being aware that it does not entirely exist.
C: How do you position your city in the global design market, what makes your city unique, trends?
HM: Politically, we live in a very difficult moment in Brazil, which, added to the pandemic scenario, took much more importance and weight. Bolsonaro’s actions as president were and are very harmful to our society. It challenges all the growth we had in the recent years about social awareness that is really important in a colonized and diverse country.
The design scenario is happening inside those possibilities. It has been on the rise since I started to work in it, about 10 years ago. The consumer's desire to know about the product, the process, where and how it is produced is a tendency that is present.
The growth of the internet is also very influential, you can connect easily with different markets, and this stimulates the work of local designers. At the same time, it is a really challenging scenario, especially when you talk about production and suppliers, as we do not have a super developed furniture industry.
Hopefully our reality will grow to be more inclusive and reflective.
About Galerie REVEL
Galerie REVEL is a contemporary design gallery with the focus of giving visibility to artists from the global south. Founded in 2021, the France-based gallery collaborates with emerging artists, designers and architects.
Humberto da Mata, Portrait. © Photo Alex. Courtesy Humberto da Mata and Galerie REVEL