Thursday Salute to Originals: Sculptural Furniture by Baltasar Portillo

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It might be hard to tell what this abstract structure is at first sight. Artist Baltasar Portillo‘s unique collection, Armadillo and Lodge Chair, is a statement of his interpretation on functional sculpture. A native Salvadorian, Baltasar is currently working in Europe. We are honored to have Baltasar share his ideas behind this inspirational collection. 

gpidesign: What is your inspiration behind the Armadillo and Lodge Chair collection?

Baltasar: I wanted to create subtle sculptural accents that you could see through them, and not interrupt your view of the space, but at the same time to have a strong sculptural presence as you focus on the piece. I have always been very fond on the work of Sol Lewitt, and somehow, I try to translate his language in my own words to create my pieces.
gpidesign: So when a viewer is looking at your pieces, what do you want him or her to see?

Baltasar: I often hear so many debates of the difference between art and design or art and function, personally, I don’t see any difference, and I hope the public will understand this approach when they look at my work. My work is not a piece of furniture where you will sit and read the entire Sunday paper. It is a piece you make a statement with, it is a throne, where you sit down and enjoy your success, or simply look at it as an sculpture.
gpidesign: The architectural form of the above Armadillo chair reminds us of a spanning bridge. How did you work with geometry in these chairs?
Baltasar: The geometry is the results of a language I love to use and the necessity to support the structure of the piece. The process of the creation of the pieces, is spontaneous. Although there is a central idea before starting the construction of the piece. There is no pre-designing in the manufacturing process, but rather the exploration of the artist momentum of creativity .
The process of creation begins by imagining a form and deconstructing it, but the form changes as the structural issue to support the form becomes relevant arriving to the form dictated by the need of the structure to support itself and this is pure geometry.
gpidesign: How would you draw the line between functional sculpture and pure artistic sculpture?
Baltasar: Some people say that art should communicate something, that it should be meaningful, that art has no use, that if you can sit on it, it’s not art. I believe that there is no line between the different arts, now days, it just depends on how you want to perceive it. Kids are usually the best curators, because they have no preconceptions, they follow emotions and to me that is what art should do: create some sort of emotional contact with you, without having to go into a deep philosophical explanation to determine what does the piece means.
Our most sincere appreciation to Baltasar Portillo for sharing his insights with us. We hope to work on a project which is lucky enough to be home to one of your chairs! You can visit if you want to see or purchase the Armadillo and Lodge Chairs.
Image Credits: outdoorzgallery