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La Loupe Design

La Loupe Design

La Loupe Design

October/November 2018 issue of American Craft magazine
Mediums Wood
Lopez and Duenas Knot lamp

A cozy covering warms the bare bulbs and naked wires of the Knit lamps.

Courtesy of La Loupe Design

Lamps from La Loupe Design don’t just light up a room; they’re the centerpiece. Jorgelina Lopez and Marco Duenas, a couple and creative partners, produce lighting shot through with color and creativity. Their Origami lamps hang in immaculate floral folds; their Strata lamps, rectangular wood structures wrapped in yarn, bring to mind sunsets on other planets; their Knit lamps feature yarn covering a bare bulb like a mitten on a cold hand. (They use LED bulbs, which stay cool, so the yarn doesn’t burst into flame.)

The lighting makes for an apt introduction to La Loupe’s overall perspective: one of careful attention, of applying natural motifs in novel settings.

“‘La loupe’ means ‘magnifying glass’ in French,” says Lopez, 42. “I came up with that name because I started La Loupe as a teaching project, and the main concept was the observation of nature.”

The idea took hold in her native Argentina, where she studied textile design and worked as a solo artist since the mid-2000s; the first incarnation of La Loupe started about six years ago. It came into its own when she moved to Baltimore in 2015 to live with Duenas, a wood and cross-disciplinary artist, who is from Peru. The couple met in 1996 in Miami, and after an on-again/off-again relationship spanning two continents, two US cities, and nearly 20 years, they settled in Maryland; in 2016, La Loupe Design officially opened its digital doors as a joint effort.

Both makers bring their own histories and perspectives to their studio. “Some of our creations are more my creations, like the origami,” Lopez says, “and some of the others are more his creations. But we try to combine the same concept together.” The Strata lamps – the first collection they worked on as a team from start to finish – testify to the power of their collaboration. Lopez started with sketches, “then we discussed the construction and use of materials,” Duenas, 51, says. “During the process, we work separately in our own studios.” Duenas makes the framework and bases that support Lopez’s precise, layered yarn work, producing something neither could have done alone.

“When we design,” Lopez says, “there are many structures that come together, and the final product is the combination of things, like how to work with what we have around, how to work with the material and the production and the inspiration.”

Still, various items can be traced back to the couple’s individual passions. The studio’s embroideries are Lopez’s, a practice she began when she first left Argentina and had to make do with minimal materials. A series of curved wooden plant holders started when Duenas repurposed black walnut discarded by a local cabinet shop.

In all of its particulars, the partnership simply works. “I’m very structured,” Lopez says, “and he’s more free – he’s just born more free. So I like that combination of both of us.”

Up Close

Jack of all trades: In Peru, Marco Duenas studied communication sciences and worked as a maritime agent. When he moved to Miami in the 1990s and saw discarded furniture in the alleys, he decided to begin upcycling it, a response to a “throwaway society.”

In the fold: Jorgelina Lopez was inspired to make the Origami lamps after she saw a textile origami sculpture by Annet Couwenberg at the Baltimore Museum of Art. Lopez was drawn not only to the natural forms but the notion of “organic geometry” inherent in folding techniques.