These visionary designers and craftsmen are bringing an indie spirit to mainstream design
By juxtaposing fine and chunky textures in her hand-dyed rope cuffs, sculptural necklaces, and furniture, Tanya Aguiñiga has honed a singular design style—one that has caught the eyes of design shops, retailers like CB2, and hotels like Kimpton.
Enter her L.A. studio, and you’ll find it packed with skeins of wool and pieces of fabric. There’s prickly goat-hair yarn from a fixture of the city’s 1970s weaving scene. A leather belt that’s a loom used by women in Chiapas, Mexico. While her designs are contemporary, Aguiñiga is clearly inspired by traditional craft.
Raised in Tijuana, she took a bus across the border every day to go to school in San Diego. From that experience grew what she calls her “two-sidedness” and knack for contrasting cultural references in her designs. For a series of brightly colored folding chairs, she took damaged chairs and nursed them back to life by hand-felting each one, making a mass-produced object feel unique. “The color and felt change it to the opposite of its original identity,” she says, distilling exactly what makes her designs so witty and appealing.