kurimanzutto is honored to present an exhibition of the architect and designer Oscar Hagerman (La Coruña, 1936). This show highlights the importance of Hagerman´s contributions for the creations of designs meant for everyday, commonplace use. The exhibition also focuses on Hagerman´s extensive social work with rural communities in Mexico, and the mutual design interchange that has taken place due to close cooperation between Hagerman and these groups: "I have tried to make my constructions in a simple way, as people in the communities know how to make them. When you work in this way, the new harmonizes with what already exists, and everyone is happy."
The exhibition is composed of a selection of five chair designs with eight variants created over the course of Hagerman´s career. Each chair represents a combination of his own creative reflection and his collaboration with various artisans from throughout Mexico. The resulting exposition is a culmination of Hagerman´s creative process, exemplified through the humble, architectural form of a chair.
The basis of this exposition is the Arrullo chair (1969). Based on a popular Mexican design, Hagerman´s Arrullo chair received significant acclaim and was subsequently reintroduced and reproduced in furniture workshops throughout Mexico. Through this process of widespread reproduction, the Arrullo chair essentially—and intentionally—lost its status as a designer chair. The same design was found in markets, beside highways, in urban markets: the Arrullo chair became a mainstay of design in Mexican homes.
"Industrial design teaches us to look for original forms, but the greatest achievement is to create a universe that belongs to people and make them feel like they own and create it."
The ergonomics that were used in these designs corresponds to more than 50 years of studies by Hagerman and other designers. Notably, The ergonomics of these designs are also studied extensively at different universities throughout Mexico. Hagerman also continues his work in artisan workshops in several rural regions of the country. Through his work with isolated communities, he has learned local construction techniques that respond and react to the climatic and cultural needs of each population. With them he has learned the local construction techniques that respond to the climatic and cultural needs of each population. Hagerman participates actively with these communities to conserve their ancestral design knowledge. Teaching and training younger populations in these techniques maintains the cultural patrimony and self-determination of these communities.
This exhibition marks a key moment in the close relationship between Oscar Hagerman and the gallery. The result of years of friendship and collaboration, in which kurimanzutto has backed and supported educational projects in rural communities in Sierra de Puebla, Yucatan, and Chiapas. Notably, these educational projects were a true professional collaboration between Oscar and his wife, Doris Ruiz Galindo.
About Oscar Hagerman
The son of Swedish father and Galician mother, Óscar Hagerman was born in La Coruña, Spain in 1936 and came to Mexico when he was 15 years old. He graduated from the School of Architecture at the UNAM, in 1961. After leaving university he went to work at the Emiliano Zapata cooperative in Ciudad Nezahualcoyotl. During his time at the Emiliano Zapata cooperative Hagerman designed an extensive and varied portfolio of domestic furniture. One of these pieces was the Arrullo chair, which received an award from the Mexican Institute of Foreign Trade in 1974.
Oscar Hagerman dedicates this exhibition to his daughter Doris and to Sandra Sucar with all his love.
To Doris and my children, for accompanying me through all these years.
To Claudia Barriga from CANTO Artesanos and Rodolfo Morales from Estudio Caribe for the carpentry work.
To Tania Vázquez for the great photographs.
To the kurimanzutto team for the love they have put into the setting up of the exhibition.
To Master Francisco Toledo for his collaboration.
To Master Nacho Morales for the petates.
To Enedino and Diego for the drawings and maquettes.