Laura Abe Vettoretti and Maria Dolores Uribe are hard to locate on the map or define in a few words. One way to explain who they are is to discuss what the two have in common: both of them are creative young women of Mexican origin. Abe Vettoretti is an architect and sculptor who studied in Mexico and Argentina (urban planning) and is creative director of an interior design studio based in Mexico City and New York. Maria Dolores studied art in Florence and interior design in the United States before founding her own fabrics and furnishings studio and showroom in Mexico, where she promotes European designers. The two young designers also have something else in common: an aesthetic vision rooted in fascination with the cultures of the indigenous peoples of Latin America, in which Laura Abe and Maria Dolores find the true essence of contemporary creativity in their part of the world.
In 2021 the two designers founded Unno Gallery, a platform and digital gallery with a focus on contemporary Latin American design and its deep roots in aboriginal cultures. Unno Gallery participates in international trade fairs in America and Europe, beginning with Nomad Circle, an exclusive travelling collectible design fair which came to Capri this summer, as well as FuoriSalone in Milan in June. “ We came together as Unno after meeting in the same point of view, that Latin American Art and Design should be portrayed to the world with the same depth and rawness as the intellectual assets of the new generation of artists and designers”, Laura Abe and Maria Dolores agree; “All the pieces under Unno are a homage to our culture and land: the abstraction and rawness of the visual language inherited by our forefathers resulting in design pureness; the connection between time, space, and art, resulting in pieces that speak of spatial and sempiternal memories; historical, essential tremors; and the perfection of executing pure poetry.”
When it comes to the choice of designers, Laura Abe and Maria Dolores say: “We select our creatives when we notice a unique, almost untainted essence in them, far from trends, close to real aesthetic values and handmade processes. We seek perfection in execution, a break from the status quo, and experimenting with unique materials.” Their portfolio includes names like C.S. Nuñez and Abel Cárcamo, Deceres Studio and Habitación 116, the studio founded by Mexican architects Rafael Rivera and Javier Claverie with a focus on the importance of collective work.
Habitación 116’s items reflect the most advanced research into the colours of the earth and unusual materials such as volcanic stone. In the Lava collection of chairs, tables, armchairs and benches made of Tabebuia Rosea wood and woven paper fibre, they experiment with natural pigments inspired by Mexican soils, made up of powdered volcanic stone in hues ranging from grey to brown and pink. The forms of their furnishings recall the work of architect Luis Barragán and the vernacular culture of the region of Toluca and Tenancingo (near Mexico City), where men traditionally sculpt and assemble the wooden frames while women weave the backrests and seats and paint the finished chairs. The Lava Collection is the perfect example of what the founders of Unno Gallery say: “Latin American design can’t be set apart from where we come from, it's all around us, in the millenarian techniques, our buildings, in nature and in the values of our people.”
Captions and credits
Images courtesy of Unno Gallery
01 Laura Abe Vettoretti and Maria Dolores Uribe, founders of Unno Gallery, at Miart 2021.
02 C.S. Nuñez, Quemador diffusor, Unno Gallery, presented at Miart 2021
03 Laura Abe Vettoretti and Maria Dolores Uribe, Unno Gallery, Talara jade side table presented at Miart 2021
04 Deceres Studio, Paquime Bench, Unno Gallery, ‘Volume, the Land and the Maker’ exhibition at FuoriSalone in Milan, 2022, photo credits: Ambra Crociani
05 Habitación 116, Lava Stool, Unno Gallery, ‘Volume, the Land and the Maker’ exhibition at FuoriSalone in Milan, 2022, photo credits: Ambra Crociani
06 Habitación 116, Lava Chair and Lava Stool, Unno Gallery installation at Nomad Capri 2022; photo credits: Mattia Parodi
07 Unno Gallery installation at Nomad Capri 2022; photo credits: Mattia Parodi
08 and 12, Lava Chair, Habitación 116, Unno Gallery; photo credits: Habitación 116
09 C.S. Nuñez, Altar Tequitqui shelving unit, Unno Gallery, presented at Miart 2021
10 Deceres Studio, Peel Cabinet, Unno Gallery, ‘Volume, the Land and the Maker’ exhibition at FuoriSalone in Milan, 2022, photo credits: Ambra Crociani
11 Habitación 116, Lava Stool, Unno Gallery; photo credits: Ambra Crociani