Jacobs Institute
3 min readJan 27, 2019

Fabien Cappello: Sillas Callejeras/Street Chairs

On view, March 22-May 19
Exhibition opening, March 21, 7pm

Fabien Cappello’s SILLAS CALLEJERAS (STREET CHAIRS, 2018) offers lessons in design and ingenuity from Mexico City. The photographic series depicts a collection of chairs assembled from everyday contexts across the sprawling metropolis — market stalls, shops, street stands, and elsewhere. Cappello casts an anthropological eye on artifacts that reflect a city where artisanal manufacture and resourceful reuse still hold. In his installation at Berkeley, these images appear in unexpected corners of Jacobs Hall, taking on mundane forms that evoke the vernacular contexts from which the chairs are drawn. Cappello’s images offer a training in designerly attitude— cultivating an attention to everyday acts of making and making do that reveal design as a grounded practice of living in place.

Fabien Cappello (France, 1984) is an award winning furniture and product designer. He studied at the University of Art and Design (ECAL) in Lausanne, Switzerland and obtained a Masters degree (2009) in Design Products at the Royal College of Art of London under the tutelage of Martino Gamper and Jurgen Bey. He founded his eponymous studio in 2010 in London, exploring the creative use of local resources and manufacture. Between 2010 and 2011 he was awarded research residencies in Korea, Portugal, and Italy in partnership with local artisans. At this time, many of his projects involved surveying and mapping local resources, bringing attention to the unused or undervalued. Fabien Cappello moved to Mexico City in 2015 and the metropolis has served as a fertile context for the development of his practice.

Curated by Robert J. Kett, PhD
All photographs courtesy the designer

Related Events

Exhibition Opening & Designer Talk

March 21, 7pm

Join us at Jacobs Hall for an exhibition opening with Fabien Cappello. Cappello will discuss the exhibition in the context of his broader practice. Copies of SILLAS CALLEJERAS, a book documenting the project, will be on hand. Refreshments will be served.

Please RSVP for the opening here.

Student Workshop: Design & the Arts of Noticing

February 20 and March 20

In conjunction with the exhibition, the Jacobs Institute will host a two-part workshop with Fabien Cappello exploring visual ethnography as a design method. After learning about the use of photography as an observational and design tool, students will be guided in the creation of their own photographic series of everyday objects. Student photographs will be displayed at Jacobs Hall alongside Cappello’s installation.

Interested students should submit a short paragraph describing their background and interest in the workshop to rkett@berkeley.edu by February 8. Timing of workshop sessions will be confirmed in keeping with participants’ schedules.

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