Fernando Laposse (Social Innovation in Materials Design, 2020)

Fernando Laposse

Fernando Laposse is a London based Mexican artist who specialises in ‘endemic design’, where the location of materials and their historical and cultural connotations take centre stage, covering themes such as sustainability, community disenfranchisement and the politics of food. 

Laposse follows the rule of tampering with his natural materials as little as possible from seed to final product. Embodying this approach is his project Totomoxtle which helps indigenous Mexican communities return to traditional agriculture via the production of a veneer material made with husks of corn. Collaborating with the seed bank CIMMYT, the project has seen six species of native corn successfully reintroduced into the community, providing income for farmers and conserving biodiversity for future food security. 

Another of Laposse’s projects involves sisal, a material that he harvests himself, extracting the fibres then knotting them to make hairy objects, furniture and installations. Laposse is currently working with a Mayan community of weavers, training them to take on the production of the furniture in an attempt to regenerate Mexico’s sisal rope industry after demand plummeted following the invention of nylon in the 1940s.