Article by César Sesio & Verónica Devalle
In 2005 Buenos Aires became the first city to be designated a Unesco City of Design. A wander through its central neighbourhoods – such as Recoleta, San Telmo or Palermo – leaves you in no doubt why. Examples of design, such as hip fashion, interior decoration and urban architecture which can be found in every cosmopolitan city, are significant features of their landscape. But the city’s love affair with design is not a recent phenomenon, in fact it is a result of globalisation; it has a pedigree that stretches back 60 years to a time when artists, architects and designers embraced European Modernism as humanity recovered from WWII.
For many decades Argentina has been an impressive creative hub, where tireless individuals and independent groups have struggled to develop creative practices with little support. Eager to encourage research, debate and creativity, and to be genuinely modern while still genuinely Argentine, the citizens’ activities have given rise to prolific and pioneering theoretical studies and writings on design, architecture and art, as well as original design and artistic trends.
The articles offers a brief summary of events that have shaped the history of design in Argentina, and Buenos Aires in particular, since the 1940s – a period which gave birth to new theories about art and design, its function and form – until “design” became a discipline in its own right.
Olivetti (1968), designed by Juan Carlos Distéfano, Rubén Fontana and Carlos Soler.