Spring 2007

Buenos Aires project [extract]

César Sesio
Verónica Devalle
Overview / Argentina

Argentina’s dialogue with the European pioneers of postwar Modernism gave rise to a graphic design culture that remains fiercely contemporary

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. Design – the kind of hip fashion, interior decoration and urban architecture to be found in every cosmopolitan city – is a feature of their landscape. But the city’s love affair with design is not a recent phenomenon, the 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 the Second World War.

For many decades Argentina has been an enthusiastic 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 and still genuinely Argentine, their 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.

This fourteen-page article is but a brief summary of events that have shaped the history of design in Argentina, and Buenos Aires in particular, since the 1940s – a time that gave rise to new theories about art and design, function and form, and the point at which ‘design’ became a discipline in its own right . . .

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