“Our intention is to create an emotional connection between us and the user. We believe in [the idea that] emotional connection and energy flow [are] the engine that moves the world. This is why each piece that leaves our studio is charged with our emotion, our soul, our vibration.“
– Trini Salamanca & Pablo Párraga of LAS ÁNIMAS
All images courtesy of LAS ÁNIMAS
A practice characterised by otherworldly shapes, vibrant colours, and spiritual connection. Based in Seville, Spain, the creative duo known as LAS ÁNIMAS create limited edition pieces – from furniture to lighting to sculptures – in a design language that traverses both the ancestral past and science fiction. Their work is laden with innate emotional and spiritual content, interwoven with a scientific approach to material and technique. Designers Trini Salamanca and Pablo Párraga have integrated their distinct academic backgrounds – in mathematics and humanities – to explore the intersection between artisanal craftsmanship and future-thinking technology.
As described below, they view “the studio [as] a playground and the different materials [as] the building blocks upon which [they] construct stories”. These stories move between the realms of art and design to create a recognisable iconography which is retro-futurist, transgressive, brutalist, and filled with deeply evocative aesthetics.
From the brightly coloured, totemic “KERU” vessels to the multifaceted, cubic “ARCHAE” and “CALITRA” pendant lamps, LAS ÁNIMAS’s work with resin showcases an appreciation for experimentation and desire to create expressive, yet functional design pieces. These unique, resin-based pieces are hand-made using a lost mould technique. Once set, their masters are carefully shattered to reveal the final vessel or pendant, emphasising the ephemeral quality of their creation. This experimental aesthetic is further carried into their work with wood and brass. The “BRAVÉ” lamp and “MOLOCH” chair series exhibit a play between light and dark, delicate construction and strong form. Here, the studio’s exploration of material culminates in geometric lines, dynamic forms, and an interplay between disparate materials.
What three words would you use to describe the LAS ÁNIMAS aesthetic?
For us more than words, these are word games or compound words, that represent the spirits and aesthetics of Las Ánimas:
TOTEMS LAB: regarding the connection between the soul and the object, the spiritual realm and the technical field of practice. We must say that our work in the studio is very scientific (due to the materials and techniques we use) and the precision in their use; however, the result are objects loaded with emotional, magical, and mystical content. Pieces that transmit infinite realities, where present, past, and future are fully interlinked.
ANALOGICAL GLITCH: we are highly influenced by technology. We are a product of the digital age; however, we freely move in that liminal inter-zone where error and probability open small gaps to another dimensions, dimensions of the unexplored, the less traveled roads off the code highway. This translates into sequential patterns, geometries, and fractals with tiny subtle amount of clicks, mismatches, and data leaks.
MINDTRAP: our works pose mental riddles or puzzles that the viewer must complete with their own reality. Ritual tool or decorative object? Design piece/object from the future or connector with another dimension/piece from the past?
As a couple working closely together, how have you brought together your backgrounds and potential artistic differences in your practice?
We come from very different worlds, both academic – statistics, mathematics, and economics versus anthropology and humanities), but also regarding [the more] vital sphere – countryside versus the big city. However, both of us are driven by the same concerns and the desire to explore. The mix of each one’s background in the studio is complemented as a whole with infinite possibilities. We have decided to creatively explore together in an area that interests both of us very much, related to the connections between the whole, the energy flow and the ruptures of the timeline. All of this together through the generation and shapeshifting of different pieces.
Your practice is very multidisciplinary, including playful resin sculpture, intricate lighting, and woodwork. How has this exploration of different forms and mediums influenced your approach to design?
Our expressive need leads us to use different materials and techniques, continually exploring new media and territories. The most interesting thing comes when you begin to work with a material intended to be used in another way.
At the end, the studio is a playground and the different materials are the building blocks upon which we construct stories.
Is there a discipline, form, or medium you would like to explore more in the coming months/years?
We have already worked with natural materials such as plaster or paper pulp, wood or clay. We’ve been using resins for a while. In the near future, we hope to gather several mediums and create polymaterial artworks.
Our main concern right now is the ethical use of these materials, and environmental care. Thus, we work with recycled materials and bio resins. Recycling plastics is one of the next things to come from our studio, we guess.
Both the “KERU” series and the “ARCHAE” series combine material experimentation with traditional craftsmanship to create colourful and unique resin pieces. What was your approach when developing these series?
With the “KERU” vessels, we wanted to create pieces that were unique in their construction, with random camouflage patterns driven by our handwork and the features of the material. The shape was previously designed through an ephemeral, structural sculpture, destroyed afterwards once the piece emerges. In the case of the ARCHAE it is more or less the same. Color study and combination is a very important aspect for us. It is impossible to have two identical pieces, everything is part of alchemy, the temperature slightly changes the color of the dyes in the resin and the application by hand is impossible to be identical. They are pieces with a tectonic appearance and the bubbles created by working with the material give it a watery appearance. It is just the result we were looking for.
Our intention is to create an emotional connection between us and the user. We believe in [the idea that] emotional connection and energy flow [are] the engine that moves the world. This is why each piece that leaves our studio is charged with our emotion, our soul, our vibration. We are sure that this feeling of warmth caused by the energy trapped inside our objects expands and connects with people who are open to this dialogue that transcends the merely material.
LAS ÁNIMAS is a creative studio based in Seville, Spain.
Their work includes symbolic, tribal and esoteric elements, and arises from the expressive need of sharing an aesthetic universe; a dreamlike parallel world full of visions; of architectural references, both historical, fictional and coming from images underlying popular culture; hardwired to the unconscious and collective memory.
Using a language of geometric and iterative patterns, they experiment with materials, shapes and textures, to develop an iconography of retro-futuristic, transgressive, ceremonial and deeply evocative aesthetics.
As a result of this altered field of view where sumptuousness and magic gather, high sensory impact pieces of ceremonial character emerge.
Their creative universe encompasses references as distant as Science Fiction, tribal cultures, distortion of reality, cybernetics, duality, experimental electronic music or architectural brutalism; an imaginary that links with the elements of their personal environment, readapted and projected from their very own insight. Their creative body includes pieces of furniture in limited editions, sculptures, interventions and unique objects; everything designed and created by themselves; a symbolic universe full of emotions that lead to a spiritual mood lost in time.
Works conceived as totems that challenge functionality and form: latches that open secret trapdoors to higher states of consciousness, connected with mythology, ancient ceremonies, imaginary rites, sacred symbols and spirituality.
Along this process, the conception, creation and evolution of each work resembles a ritual of exploration, of alchemy, of experimentation at their studio / laboratory with materials and forms until the pieces finally emerge. Their personal concerns join the influx of Seville, Andalusia and Spain; Its culture, art, folklore, technical processes and artistic tradition are present, mixed, assembled, fused in one way or another in each one of their pieces.