The WSJ wants you to Meet the Carrot Concept, El Salvador’s Design Collective
Against all odds, a world-class design collective is growing on El Salvador’s tough turf—and is poised to change the country’s reputation one chair, bench and bookshelf at a time
Among other road blocks, there is no large-scale furniture manufacturing to speak of, unreliable export and import capabilities and storage problems. If it’s become trendy in America to esteem handmade, locally sourced products above industrial ones, Salvadoran designers are in the unenviable position of being artisanal by necessity.
“Wood and metal are the basics we can use,” says Claudia Washington. (The aluminum molds that plastic products require can cost upward of $100,000 each, a prohibitive price for boutique designers.) On the other hand, PVC cord, a material many of the Carrot Concept designers work with, can be found in everything from machinery to Salvadoran truck drivers’ seats. As a result, their work tends to have a discernible handcrafted element—a friendliness that’s often absent from comparable professional-grade objects in other countries. “[Our pieces] are industrial looking, but they have a heart,” says Claudia’s husband, Harry. “So while Scandinavians can be very polished or the Japanese very tailored, these pieces have a lot of character. They have a lot of punch and sauce to them.”
You can see the slideshow here.