In the south of the city a hive of creative folk are busily consolidating Buenos Aires’ international reputation as a dynamic city for designers. The Distrito de Diseño (Design District) in Barracas aims to attract creative folk to the typical porteño neighbourhood and transform disused industrial spaces into innovative hubs.
At the heart of the district is the Centro Metropolitano de Diseño (CMD), a former fish market reopened in 2010 to house design schools and offices, research and development labs, and much more, with ample space for exhibitions, installations and shows.
The CMD has a summer agenda especially for fashion lovers, with exhibitions, guided tours, film screenings, free classes, and even restaurant recommendations – a great reason to brave public transport in the heat and start exploring a lesser-known part of the city.
Distrito de Diseño
An area of 290 hectares in Barracas will be known as the Distrito de Diseño for at least 15 years, thanks to a law passed by the city government in November. The Design District is a long-term public policy linking an industry to a specific territory, providing design companies in the area with preferential loans, tax cuts, and subsidies for the restoration of buildings. The city government hopes the district will generate 50,000 jobs and add value to 300,000 square metres of unused or underutilised real estate.
“Delia Cancela. Una artista en la moda” at the CMD
The CDM is currently celebrating the work of Argentine artist and fashion designer Delia Cancela, whose playful creations are a fusion of art and design. In the 1960s Delia attended the Instituto Di Tella in Buenos Aires, “a temple for avant-garde artists” whose alumni include some of Argentina’s most well-known artists. Delia’s career took her to Paris, New York, and London with her partner Pablo Mesejean. Together “Delia & Pablo” designs were sold in Harrods, Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, and others, as well as being featured in international magazines such as Vogue UK.
The exhibition was conceived as an “artistic gesture to stimulate communication between generations” and includes a selection of Delia’s designs from the 60s, 70s and 80s, magazine covers, artworks and a projection. A creative pioneer and an innovator, Delia’s designs are right at home at the CDM.
The exhibition is open to the public until 2nd March, however guided tours of the exhibition will be taking place on two Saturdays in summer, followed by film screenings, providing a great opportunity to get to know the CMD.
From 5pm on the 11th January and 8th February 2014 tours will be conducted in Spanish, with assistance provided for English speakers, of the exhibition and the CMD. Film screenings of Madonna’s film W.E. and My Week With Marilyn will follow each of the tours, respectively.
“Delia Cancela. Una artista en la moda” runs until 2nd March 2014 at the CMD, Algarrobo 1041, Barracas. To register for a guided tour, email email@example.com.
To make the visit to Barracas more enticing the Design District put food critic Cayetana Vidal Buzzi to work, selecting the best restaurants in the area serving up authentic porteño dining experiences. You can take a break with coffee and medialunas at Bar el Progresso (Av. Montes de Oca 1702), empanadas and homemade pasta at 3 Esquinas (Osvaldo Cruz 2302), an ice cream at Heladería Verona (Av Montes de Oca and Suárez), or try the daily blackboard specials at Los Laureles Bodegón Milonguero (Av. Iriate 2290). This far from Palermo it is also possible to find a vegetarian paradise in Iriate Verde (Rio Lamay 1233), which sells all organic products, tarts, cheese, fruit and wine (all excellent picnic ingredients).
As part of the CMD exhibition, through January and Feburary free classes will be conducted by the Modern American School of Design (MASD) on different aspects on fashion design: from digital fashion design, creative pattern making, marketing and management of a fashion company, and the importance of fashion photography. Spaces are limited, more information on classes and registration here.
The Audiovisual District in nearby Parque Patricios is also celebrating fashion design this summer, running a free workshop on costume design every Thursday from 10am to 12pm, from 23rd January to 27th Februrary. The course will teach the basics of making clothing for everyday life or the media industry. Registrations are open until Friday 17th January by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org. More information here.