Listen to the conversation between Rosanna and Siete Studio.

“I have always wanted to create a concept that involves my idea of design and lifestyle – and my appreciation for the things I’m most passionate about,” notes Gerardo Córdova, the Creative Director of Siete Studio. Working alongside Córdova is Alexa Fernández and Diego Escobedo, and whilst they all hail from Mexico City, only Escobedo remains – with Córdova and Fernández working from Melbourne, Australia.

Siete Studio may be an international and almost entirely remote endeavour – yet it produces pieces that are resolutely cohesive and pleasingly concise. Escobedo, who is responsible for the studio’s logistics and operations, notes that their collaboration is made possible thanks to a shared, “appreciation for art and design – it is those things that have helped this [project] go so smoothly. We have the same type of ideas and arrive at the same sort of results.”

The studio offers furniture and lighting, as well as other pieces that intentionally blur the line between pure art and pure design. Fernández – Siete’s Curator – notes that, “Most of the collections come from conversations between us – the music we like, the food we enjoy, places we’ve been to, the rituals we have and the beliefs we hold.” It is from these conversations that Siete Studio realises designs that are conceptually strong, technically brilliant and emotionally resonant.

“I think Siete is a feeling more than it is an aesthetic – that’s what we want to evoke”

– Alexa Fernández

Siete Studio sets out not only to make objects that are functional, they hope to make pieces that are meaningful. Meaning can be difficult to define, and even more difficult to capture in three-dimensional form, and yet the studio is structured so that meaning is created at every level, whether it is in their choice of materials, the artisans that they choose to work with or the things they look to for inspiration. “We want to bring a certain mindfulness to the objects, not necessarily through the form or the shape, but to the product itself and its narrative,” notes Fernández, adding that, “Of course we bring functionality to make it seamless to use, and obviously beauty for you to appreciate – but [for us] it’s more about the story than the actual product.”

As the studio’s Creative Director and Designer, Córdova expresses his personal history and varied interests through his work. Solid sculptural silhouettes in walnut, minimal modular seating and space-age inflected lighting designs – each piece is an expression of the studio’s values rather than its aesthetic. Not limited to a set style or look, Córdova’s designs are as much a reflection of his background as an engineer as they are his appreciation of the mood and colour palette of the 1970s.

“I am influenced not by a single or specific thing, but by a great amount…”

– Gerardo Córdova

The ‘Saturno Lamp’ combines the mechanical perfection of tubular steel with a sense of mysticism and awe. Three high-shine metal tubes are stacked like concentric rings, crowned with a glass globe that glows a soft Saturn-like orange-red. The contrasting materials combine to evoke both parts of the Atomic Age – the astronomical and the highly-engineered – and the design is both futuristic and retro.

The ‘Mercurio Lamp’ takes a more pared-back and modernist approach, elongating the base and simplifying the silhouette. Named after Mercury, a planet that is only ever visible from Earth after twilight, which appears in the sky as a bright, star-like object. Equally, Seite Studio’s interpretation is available in dark walnut and fully-transparent crystal resin – materials that seem to disappear at nightfall to give the illusion that the glowing glass orb is hanging in the air. Córdova notes that, “The meaning [of these pieces] is so deep that you don’t always notice it when you just look at the lamp; you actually need to read about it to understand the concept – which focuses on the connection between human beings and what’s out there in space, the things we don’t know, or barely know, about the universe. So, for me, it’s really interesting to connect that to a form – to a piece with functionality.”

A little closer to home, Siete’s ‘Totem’ is a riff on the studio’s shared Mexican heritage, an ode to the archaeological monoliths that populate the country’s landscape. The collection includes a sideboard, table and chair, and their forms echo the solidity and permanence of the totem without making an overt reference. “Is a perfect balance between our Mexican heritage and contemporary art and design; it mixes the rawness of the walnut with the shape of the totem,” says Córdova.

“It was important for us to have a collection that would be a representation of our heritage, it’s a marriage of past and present.”

– Alexa Fernández

The sideboard and tables feature solid, rounded forms, whilst the dining chair has a more geometric silhouette – a defiantly modern approach to the totem. Upon first inspection, “you can’t necessarily see a totemic element [with the chair], but when you see it from the back, you notice how it tapers upwards – when I was designing this, I was thinking of the pyramids, of our ancestors – about the totems and their shapes.” A beautiful accompaniment to the dining table, the chair traces the tapering conical shape of the table base – yet from another angle, the chair offers a moment of lightness, a delicate counterpoint to the immovable quality of the table.

“[On paper] the design for Totem was functional and it was beautiful, but when it came to life, we saw the pieces and thought, no, this could also be sculpture”

– Diego Escobedo

Both solid and barely-there, the design of the Totem Chair draws our focus to the space underneath and around it as much as to the object itself. The interplay of positive and negative space is a device that is often employed by the sculptor – a way to draw the viewer around the piece, to appreciate it from all angles. “The beauty of our pieces comes from the fact that we’re not trying to design a chair [per se], or any piece of furniture,” notes Córdova, “it’s more that we wanted to express something beautiful and at the same time make it functional.”

‘Puente’ – meaning ‘bridge’ – continues this exploration; a perfect cube made in polished resin that is cut-though with a generous, curving arch – “one of the most stable and strong structures in the world of architecture.” With a deliciously tactile matt finish, light can pass through the semi-translucent cube, casting dramatic shadows and washing the space with colour. “Puente can be a stool, a display, a totem – it’s a very dynamic piece, you can do whatever you want with it.”

Similarly, ‘Plinth’ asks the user to engage and interpret its form and meaning. Made in solid travertine, each plinth is both functional and sculptural, a display device and a thing-of-beauty in its own right. “We want to create something that you can make yours, that allows you to bring it into your life.” Much like the studio itself, Siete’s pieces are also the result of a three-way dialogue, an interaction between the piece, the space and the person. The designs are thoroughly modern, featuring clean lines, graphic silhouettes and a stripped-back aesthetic – however, they are tactile, sensual and intimate, an invitation from the maker to the user to touch, lounge and play.

Much like the studio itself, Siete’s pieces are also the result of a three-way dialogue, an interaction between the piece, the space and the person. The designs are thoroughly modern, featuring clean lines, graphic silhouettes and a stripped-back aesthetic – however, they are tactile, sensual and intimate, an invitation from the maker to the user to touch, lounge and play.

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