Roberto (39) and Elba (3) are playing hide and seek:
– Daddy where are you?
Roberto is hiding under a blanket in the living room
– I am in the book
Elba picks up a story book from the floor and looks eagerly through the pages
– Where are you? I can’t find you!
– I am in the book
– Yes, but which page are you in?
For Elba the space inside the book is as real as the room they are playing in. How would it feel to perceive the world in this way? And what would this mean?
Children do not see the world confined to our reality, they live in a world were boundaries have not yet been defined. A world where imagination, dreams and space are one; where make believe is reality.
At the centre of El Ultimo Grito’s working practice is the desire to challenge perceptions and understandings of the world around us by investigating the relationship between man, object and space. Make Believe offered the opportunity to explore an alternative reality, defined by the individual and not by the forces of consumer markets. The research project comprised three distinct areas of their practice:
Micos was a collection of sculptural objects that challenged the rationale behind design for children. Children could explore the objects as an aid to play by defining physical functions they could perform, or by creating their own associations and stories around the objects through intellectual engagement.
Tagged Environments investigated the use of graffiti as a three-dimensional form of intervention in both domestic and public environments: DIY (Design-It-Yourself) versus mass market. This section was divided into two themes, the first looking at space and the second focusing on the object: Space Intervention explored the potential of 3-D graffiti to transform our immediate space to fit our personal needs. The project revealed archaeological layers of waste, incorporating products into a new material that raised important questions about such objects and our personal attachment to them. Design It Yourself Object proposed a radical new process for the production of three-dimensional design. Using simple adhesive-tape to bind readily available materials, the items produced ranged from furniture to purely narrative objects. As all Design It Yourself Objects were created in response to the specific needs and sensibilities of the individual, they presented viable alternatives to the standardised ‘finish’ of more formally resolved design objects.
Understanding design as an approach to life, El Ultimo Grito (“All the Rage“) translate and integrate this experience into their work through independent research projects, with core outcome as free-standing exhibitions and publications, that ultimately feed their design work for the commercial world; ranging from furniture, clothing, accessories, to interiors and exhibition design. Founded in 1997 by Spanish-born Kingston alumna Rosario Hurtado and her partner Roberto Feo, they were nominated in 2004 for the prestigious Jerwood Applied Arts Prize in Furniture and are currently exhibiting in Import/Export at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. They developed their first ever book project alongside their installation of new work for the Stanley Picker Gallery.
El Ultimo Grito were the Award Winners of the London Design Medal 2012