From a Lost City by Christian Vivanco



Mexican designer Christian Vivanco has developed a multi-functional work surface and storage unit inspired by the informal architecture of shanty towns.


Called from a Lost City, it has an informal structure and employs mixed materials: oriented-strand board (OSB), bamboo and polycarbonate.


"The origin of it was a conversation with a Brazilian friend about the situation in the favelas, the violence and how people survive in such a hostile environment," says Vivanco.


"In the end, this people is as happy or more that any of us, finding in simplicity the joy of life. I tried to recreate the feeling of this life experience in this furniture, not only as a design exercise, but also as a expression of respect for those favelados."


Here's some more information from Christian Vivanco:


'From a Lost City' is an exercise about today's social behavior.


Inspired by the Shanty towns all around South America, from las ciudades perdidas in Mexico city to las favelas in Rio de Janeiro, FALC tries to preserve the improvisation's essence, the grid's absence, the disorder's liberty.


In this case we are witnesses of a relationship between fabrics, wood sticks and boxes in different dimensions and materials (osb, bamboo and polycarbonate), all together to show us a different piece of furniture with a complete and efficient functionality.


We can use it for storage, work surface, desk or kitchen furniture.


Its drawers come in different sizes, for different necessities (office, kitchen, workshop, bedroom, living room, etc.).


Shanty towns are units of irregular self-constructed housing that are typically unlicensed and occupied illegally. They are usually on lands belonging to third parties, and are most often located on the urban periphery.


Shanty town residences are built randomly, although ad hoc networks of stairways, sidewalks, and simple tracks allow passage through them.


Most are inaccessible by vehicle, due to their narrow and irregular streets and walkways and often steep inclines.


More Dezeen stories about Christian Vivanco:



Our Little White Sofa

Posted on Saturday March 7th 2009 at 8:06 am by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • This piece of furniture, more than been a desk, worktable or anything else is honest, straight. I really aprecciate this; i mean, what you see is what you got, nothing else. The concept as well, wow, nice inspiration, taking such a theme for a design element.

    Also, it have this look of Do It Yourself, that can be good or bad, but checking the roots of the concept i feel that that was the idea isnt? a democratic design, hahaha!

    I love it!

  • ZUY

    Great idea Christian…… Welcome to Campana brothers’ territories…from ghetto to Capellini and Art Basel + Miami fairs

  • Rory

    Looks really great, love the clashing of such diverse materials. The only thing s i have bought stuff like this before from many a high street chain and they aint half flimsy.


  • m

    it is impossible for me to understand that one can even consider to present a project of ‘favela’-style furniture by means of renders. For me it destroys the integrety of the entire project.

  • I dont really feel this as an Arty Design Proyect… I mean, is not mainstream for granted, but still into a functional furniture market…

  • ZUY
  • ZUY

    i remember this nice post with campana’s hand drawing

  • snosberry?! what’s a snosberry?!

    “Great idea Christian…… Welcome to Campana brothers’ territories…from ghetto to Capellini and Art Basel + Miami fairs”

    well that just negates this project

  • Definetly agree with ‘m’ … this should be done for real by real favela hands. The renders do look pretty neat. I like the style, things are heading to simple again.

  • Michael

    Good concept, bad execution. 3d renders don’t look so shanty and oh so formal.
    Looks like something that belongs to a doll house.

  • Ken

    I don’t think I’d ever attempt this unless I came from a shanty and understood what it means to have to build something from nothing or anything. This just doesn’t do it for me. Its makes a mockery of a very sad situation….and in a way thats whimsical, and cartoon like. There is nothing informal about the structure and it looks as if everything has been thought through….unlike building in a shanty town.

  • modular

    I dig the renders. At least they are good renders. I just don’t dig silly/shitty renders.

    Anyway… I wouldn’t consider this “favela design”. This reminds me of the Bouroullec’s early work. Nice touch.

  • ZUY

    snosberry?! what’s a snosberry?! explain me why

  • i dont think that the object should look like a favela itself, neither agree with the idea of take it into an arty design trend, of course that you can see an strong and kind of risky aproach to the traditional “furniture design”, but compare with what is going on lately, for me seems like something between, not standard, not arty = fake.

    I guess that this is only an interpretation isnt? also, about Ken comment, as far i know, the designer is from Mexico isnt? pretty sure he´s being close enough to this type of escenarios to get this kind of inspirations, asumme…

    Hehehe, i still feel atracted to the piece, hoping to see more!!

  • ZUY

    Vivanco was selected by wallpaper magazine as top emerging young designer

  • mikaël

    anybody else thought of this (farm project) while stumbling on this post?

  • You can see the same inspiration, the idea of a more human and warm furniture; still not the same result. Im really happy to see that “emotional design” is reaching a stage of maturity, not only an experiment of color and shapes.

    But, who else is into this research… bourollec, crasset, barberosgerby, doshi levien, NEL, Morrison… who else…?

  • ZUY

    … you Joanna… is it too much!!!!!

  • hahahaha, ill never put them in the same level Mr., different leagues, but wondering about the same manifesto in others. Im still not sure how to compare and relate each of their works, but seems that there´s more than one connexion inst?

    By the way, about Mikaël post; i can see more relation in the last of of Mike Meiré works:

  • Boccaccio

    No lemonade came from the lemon.

  • zuy

    joanna i said that because you only sent comment about Vivanco’s works … (your link dunnot work….)
    I think Vivanco is only in a trend and you will see in next Milan’s fair / salone di mobile a lot of chest of multicolored drawers (ex Casamania) not inspired by favelas’ storytelling but by some furniture from dutch, swedish, spanish, portuguese designers from last years but more retro , more baroque, more old fashions …crise is there….

  • Rich

    Love the implementation of the concept into the actual design.

    In fact, these Shanty towns also exist in Malaysia. They’re usually called Setinggan.

  • Joanna

    My mistake, i dont have the website ready, yet. :)

    well, seems that you know more that us about trends and design, so, i will take that into consideration and take a closer look to Yatzer (¿is it yours?).

    good luck!

  • cedication.crimes

    thank you ken.

    obviously, mr vivanco is designing from a background of privilege:

    “…the violence and how people survive in such a hostile environment….In the end, this people is as happy or more that any of us, finding in simplicity the joy of life.”

    no favela inhabitant would ever willingly choose a life born into violence, poverty. mr vivanco embodies the same pretentious attitude within the design communinty that perpetuates these “hostile environments” because they often come from people who can actually affect change with their craft.

    i actually like the piece. and if your were inspired by the aesthetic of shanties then say so. but please dont patronize your fellow latinos by excusing away their victimization of an oppressive and exploitative western culture by chalking it up to the bohemian beauty of living the “simple life” of a favela, as if its something to be admired. favelas are cancers of injustice and they need to be cured!

    as a mexican, you should be ashamed of yourself.

  • xtiaan

    does it come smeared with shit like a real shanty town?

  • Dark

    I totally subscribe what Mr. cedication.crimes said. It is sad to see a designer using clichés like “poor people are happier than wealthy ones”… and after that stating that this piece is a study of today’s social behavior. It is a very biased pseudo-study.
    Finally, at one point it’s written “(…) from las ciudades perdidas in Mexico city to las favelas in Rio de Janeiro” – I would like to remind whoever written this that in Rio we don’t speak spanish, we speak PORTUGUESE, therefore it is “as favelas” not “las favelas”.