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Madrid Design Festival: public space explored in “Natural Connections

It was during the Madrid Design Festival in early February that the exhibition “Natural Connections” was unveiled. An invitation to creation, with the collaboration of three designers: Inma Bermúdez and Moritz Krefter (Studio Inma Bermúdez), Jorge Penadés and Alvaro Catalán de Ocón.

Spurred on by the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC), Spanish designers Inma Bermúdez and Moritz Krefter (Studio Inma Bermúdez), Jorge Penadés and Alvaro Catalán de Ocón were invited to participate in “Natural Connections”. Their mission was to create three pieces of furniture for public spaces, designed to help people meet and rediscover nature. An exhibition presented at the Matadero Madrid, and included in the program of the Madrid Design Festival 2023, which runs until April 9, creating synergies with SLOW Spain, also organized by AHEC and which exhibits the work of 17 design students in Spain. A rapprochement conceived so that the designers are mentors for the students but also to develop designs using sustainable American hardwoods such as red oak, maple or cherry.

La Manada Peridida by the studio Inma Bermúdez


For this set of pieces made of red oak, maple and cherry, designers Inma Bermúdez and Moritz Krefter of the Inma Bermúdez studio were inspired by the Matadero building, which was once a slaughterhouse. In the building’s lobby, what seems to evoke a group of lost animals takes the form of benches or seats, but the design goes beyond furniture to appeal to play and the imagination. Indeed, their function is not directly defined, leaving the visitor free to decide how to interact with them.

La Manada Perdida, design Studio Inma Bermúdez © Uxio da Vila

Nube by Álvaro Catalán de Ocón


For his Nube project, Álvaro Catalán de Ocón was inspired by the traditional wooden blinds of Mediterranean cities. He interprets wood through light and creates an electric cloud for the Matadero space. Nube (“cloud” in Spanish) is composed of small pieces of wood, all identical and mechanically produced. The designer used a mass production process, which allows the creation of many elements repeated several times in a very simple way, leaving the artisanal component, which is at the heart of his approach, in the assembly and installation. Small balls of wood made of red oak, cherry and maple form a kind of electrified mesh that filters the light and surrounds the visitor with a play of shadows.

Nube, design Alvaro Catalán de Ocón © Uxio da Vila
Uxio da Vila

Wrap of Jorge Penadés


For this project, the designer is studying a new application in wood based on the cardboard tube production system. Instead of a traditional piece of furniture, Jorge Penadés developed a structural system using two pieces of 0.7 mm cherry veneer, glued and rolled in opposite directions to create a strong and versatile tubular structure. An achievement that demonstrates the strength, stability and aesthetics of American birch.

Wrap, design Jorge Penadés © Uxio da Vila