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Bienal Internacional de Arquitectura

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The pioneers of design furniture in the Basque Country are the stars of an exhibition and a documentary in the Plaza del Machete in Vitoria.

  • It is a project of the Habic cluster, called 'Design Artisans', which focuses on the people who in the 70s and 80s turned design furniture into a new industrial sector in the Basque Country.
  • The travelling exhibition was presented today in the Plaza del Machete, where it will remain until the 23rd before heading to Donostia. It is accompanied by a documentary that can be seen free of charge at Villa Suso this afternoon and on Saturday.
  • There are eight companies whose founders are the protagonists of the documentary: Mosel&Arkaia, Imat (both from Alava), Akaba, B.lux, Enea, Imat, Ondarreta, Sellex and Treku. One piece from each of them makes up the exhibition.

In the 70s and 80s, there were a number of people who were committed to design in order to create an industry that did not exist in the Basque Country: furniture and design products for furnishing spaces. Now, the Habic cluster is paying tribute to them with the project 'Artisans of Design', which was presented today in Vitoria-Gasteiz as part of the Basque Country International Architecture Biennial Mugak/. Consisting of a travelling exhibition and a documentary on those humble origins, it landed this morning in the Plaza del Machete, where it will remain until next Tuesday after visiting Bilbao and before moving on to Donostia.

The Habic project takes a look at these people's journey and the evolution they have had with their companies up to the present day. They are the founders of eight companies, two of them from Alava: Jesús Guibelalde, founder of Imat (Vitoria-Gasteiz, 1974) and José Patricio Álvarez de Arkaya, who founded Mosel&Arkaia S.L. in Vitoria-Gasteiz (1962). The rest are: Jose Angel Diez Mintegui, one of the founders of Akaba (Usurbil, 1985); Agustín Ibarretxe, founder of B. lux in Markina, Bizkaia (1979); Iñaki Elizegi and Mila Telleria, co-operators at Enea-Eredu in Legorreta (1963); Marilis Galardi, founder together with Juanjo Arratibel of Ondarreta on the Donostia beach of the same name (1975); Andrés Muñoz, founder of Sellex (Donostia, 1977); and Manolo Aldabaldetreku, who founded Treku in Zarautz (1947).
The exhibition, curated by Raquel Ares and Iñaki Albistur, from the San Sebastian studio Arquimaña, will be on display from today until the 23rd in the Plaza del Machete. It is made up of eight iconic pieces from each of the companies, which are exhibited in modules: "In these urban environments of architectural interest, the aim is to generate dialogue between the public space, the exhibition and the objects themselves", explained the curator, Raquel Ares.
It will be accompanied by a documentary, directed by Ane Rotaetxe, from the Bilbao production company Begira, which can be seen free of charge this evening at 6 p.m., with prior registration. "We have collected in a very human way the testimony of a self-made generation, with a lot of enthusiasm for what they did and who leave a great legacy in the territory", emphasised Rotaetxe. 
"This project brings society closer to the people who created from nothing an activity that unites design, industry and architecture. This industry is present in the best buildings in the world and these objects are manufactured in the Basque Country", said Eduardo Jiménez, head of Habic.
The pieces are the 'Gorka' chair, by Akaba; 'Pieza Única Nº 394', by Arkaia; the 'Regina' lamp, by B-lux; the 'BCN' chair, by Enea; the 'Máster basic' bench, by Imat; the 'Bob' chair, by Ondarreta; the 'Aero' bench, by Sellex; and a coffee table from the 'Gau' collection, by Treku. Those who want to know more can enjoy a guided tour on Saturday the 20th, at 17:30h in Basque and 18:15h in Spanish. Afterwards, there will be a new session of the documentary at Villa Suso.
Mangado's lecture at the BiBat
Tomorrow Mugak/ will have another milestone in its agenda in Vitoria with a lecture by the Navarrese architect Patxi Mangado. It will start at 18h in one of his works in the capital of Alava: the BiBat museum (in Cuchillería street). Mangado stands out for his ability to generate an architectural conversation between the historical environments in which he works and the contemporary solutions he proposes in them. In addition to the BiBat, some examples are the Museum of Fine Arts of Asturias, the Municipal Auditorium of Teulada or the Spanish Pavilion at the Zaragoza Expo in 2008. He will talk about all this with Paco Valderrama, a journalist from Radio Vitoria and long-time promoter of the Word Press Photo exhibition in Vitoria.

The Programme is being prepared