Sisal Sanctum, an installation commissioned by citizenM by London-based designer Fernando Laposse, has opened for the London Design Festival 2018. Located at the entrance to citizenM Shoreditch, the work shines a light on sisal and the people that are sustained by its production.
Sisal Sanctum creates a sensorial and tactile landscape using raw sisal, a natural fibre harvested from a species of Agave cactus found in the South of Mexico. The space consists of two cosy lounge areas featuring different textures, fur-like sisal walls and carpets. Its intent is to provide a shelter from the urban landscape of East London, where visitors can relax in comfort.
Aside from being immersed in this fibrous textured landscape, visitors are protected by a colossal hairy guardian. The sisal guardian stands at the front of the installation inviting curious passers-by to enjoy the Sanctum. Visitors are also able to participate in workshops using sisal rope and learn natural dyeing techniques throughout London Design Festival.
Fernando Laposse is a passionate believer in helping local communities, using sustainable materials and rare techniques to create designs that are charged with significance. Once one of the biggest industries in Mexico, sisal represented the main source of employment for the Mayan communities of the Yucatan peninsula but, with the invention of nylon, its production dramatically decreased leaving entire communities unemployed. Fernando looks at this material, adopting the ancient ways of harvesting and manufacturing to shed light on the small producers as well as a natural and biodegradable material.
Like Laposse, citizenM is a strong advocate of sustainability and engaging with local communities. For London Design Festival 2017 it commissioned Estate Playground, by British-Nigerian designer Yinka Ilori, which embodied the power of the community to unite, celebrate and bring out the very best in people, whatever their race, culture or beliefs. With Sisal Sanctum citizenM looks to build upon the success of this inaugural 2017 installation in Shoreditch while providing a fun refuge from the fast pace of London Design Festival.