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Pamela Hernández Venegas is a Designhead
"I don’t really have a defined vision of what my aesthetic is. It is informed by all my experiences and mixed references, which are constantly changing and evolving."
Designheads is a cute profile series featuring members of our community and their relationship to the world of design.
In the Mexico City studio of CRUDA, a sustainably-minded shoe and accessories brand founded by Pamela Hernández Venegas, visitors are greeted by an open production space on the ground floor, while a showroom above features pieces from CRUDA and other brands flanked by chairs crafted from unusual materials like clay and insulation foam.
Shoes are the perfect medium for someone like Pamela — the most furniture-like of any kind of clothing, footwear toes (good pun or great pun?) the line between design object and apparel. Like a chair … but for the foot?
It makes sense then that, before she made shoes, Pamela designed furniture. Her design practice reconfigured scrap materials into playful shapes and colorful furniture that reflected her ever-present mindset toward not only designing sustainably, proposing that upcycling processes might actually lead to beautiful things — a refreshing perspective in a world of the wine bottle vases and soda cap chairs.
Pamela is true designhead and we’re lucky to have her as a part of our Pink Essay community. Read on to learn more about her process, sustainability, and lots of shoes.
Name: Pamela Hernández Venegas
Location: San José, Costa Rica and Ciudad de México, México
Are you a designhead? What does that mean to you?
I think of myself more as a constructor than a designer. The concept of a designer feels a little far removed from the process of making things with ones own hands and that’s really the only way I know to “design”.
The last thing you made: I feel like the last thing I made was a meal.
The next thing you want to make: A really big, long term dream would be to design my own home. A more immediate dream is to make clothing with Cruda. I also have been designing a collection of chairs, which is a really something personal with no particular aim.
A design object you love:
The first thing that comes to mind are Andrea Zittel´s A-Z Escape Vehicles. I saw them some ten years ago. I can´t even remember where but I remember the feeling … I like something about the way she creates her own little worlds and of course, the 70s look that reminds me of the things I used to watch as a child.
A design object you can’t stand the sight of:
I can´t really think of something I can´t stand. I could probably hate something that does not serve the function it was made to serve, like a knife that just isn’t sharp. Otherwise I am not really interested in judging whether something is good, pretty, or aesthetic or not.
A moment of pure creative joy:
Once you finish whatever you are making or you let it go. The moment when you understand that something is done. I used to get deep rushes when I made things and of course I still enjoy the process deeply, but as I get older I really appreciate the peace that an end can bring along with it. I also think this is a difficult question to answer because I am not just one type of creative … I never create for just one reason. Sometimes it is for me, sometimes for my brand which is also my business, sometimes for friends, etc. I think of creativity as something that happens in reality, not as an ideal.
What does it mean to "design the future"?
In a lot of ways I have always steered my practice away from making “new” things… always working with found, reusable materials. I think looking towards the future also means looking at what we already have and finding ways to salvage these materials. For me, designing for the future means having a socio-environmental awareness. The real challenge is designing something that is made using artisanal methods and sustainable technologies with ethical working conditions for the people who collaborate in this industry, all the while not sacrificing quality.
Words to live by:
Estuve entre los míos y los míos no me conocieron,
procuraron borrarme y oscurecerme, me quisieron
negar el breve amor del mundo, el corazón libre
y abundoso. Familia, yo os odio, como al espejo
que me refleja deforme o engañado. Familia:
vuestra felicidad está hecha de halago y de silencio,
dulzura y cobardía. Mi alma se afiló con vuestro
roce, pero no pudo alumbrados con su luz. Yo me alcé
con mi amor contra toda tiranía, me robé una criatura,
amada e imperfecta como la patria. Desde hoy
en parte alguna soy extranjero. Yo la recibí
opaca y deslucida, pero la frotaré con mi alma
para que brille, para verme al fin como soy:
Sé que soy un mendigo, a los treinta años de mi edad.
Orgulloso como un mendigo, pobre pero libre.
Your aesthetic embodied as a ...
I don’t really have a defined vision of what my aesthetic is. It is informed by all my experiences and mixed references, which are constantly changing and evolving. I think I can answer the question more or less by leaving a link to my Spotify account, where all my playlists and random favorite songs are.
What's one design object that has your same energy?
I don’t think I can name an object that summarizes who I am, my work or my ideas into one. If I had to name something I would maybe just say my friends. They bring their own world to the table and that invariably fills me with new ideas.
If you could show your work to anyone in the world, it would be:
When reading the prompts I misread this and thought it asked “who do you want to work with.” Now that I realize I made a mistake I am unable to stop thinking about my previously formulated answer, which is that I want to work my family. I would love to have a family-run business, and that means surrounding myself with people that I love and care for, and who love and care for me. In a sense this is also who I want to share my work with: loved ones.
What’s next for you?
I feel like I am working towards a sense of security, and the idea of owning a home embodies that which I am looking for. This is a priority because creating and working from home is what I know best. What I am really trying to say is that what is next for me is to keep working, and to keep sustaining myself financially from what I do.
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