Warao is the name of an indigenous tribe inhabiting northeastern Venezuela and western Guyana. Its name means 'the boat people,' because they inhabit the Orinoco Delta, where the Rio Orinoco opens to the Atlantic generating one of the largest deltas in the world, and, therefore, have a deep connection to water.
They are also known for their handcrafted baskets with reeds, which are weaved using ancient techniques in a practice that involves the whole family.
Venezuelan designer Maria Antonia Godigna spent two years studying the spinning techniques of the Warao within the Jubasujuru community in order to register and preserve this practice.
With this knowledge and in collaboration with the community, the designer developed Fibra (Spanish for fiber): a line of furniture made with Moriche, the palm fiber produced by them.
"Fibra overcomes the limits between the modern and the primitive, the industrial and the artisan, the dynamic and the static, the hard and the flexible," says the designer on the website of MaximaDuda studio, which she shares with Anabella Georgi. "It creates a range of products that come to life generating their own identity charged with tradition, warmth, nobility and eroticism, seducutive due to its organic forms."
The line (↬ DIconexiones) consists of three products. Miss Delta Amacuro (above) and Miss Tucupita (below) are chairs inspired in a hammock, in which layers of Moriche generate spaces where light can penetrate forming contrasts, transparencies and textures.
Culebra is a LED lamp of flexible structure that allows people to shape it the way they want.
Like other projects in which design is combined with ancient crafts, the idea is to create forms that can be interpreted by new generations.
While these techniques should be recognized and valued for what they are, the contemporary language allows products to have more visibility, and generates a dialogue between the ancestral and the present.