Mugrosita by Liliana Ovalle


Mexican designer Liliana Ovalle has designed a sofa based on the improvised furniture of the homeless in Mexico City.

Called Mugrosita, the chair consists of a metal frame with wooden slats, to which beanbags and blankets can be knotted.

It is the newest piece from her Mugroso Series (shown below) and was presented at Design Miami last year.

Here's some more information from Liliana Ovalle:


Mugrosita, a chair

I would like to share with you my latest project, a chair called Mugrosita, which was presented at Design Miami this month, as part of the exhibition "Call Out to the Americas: Latin America!", organized by Design Miami. This was the first exhibition presented as a result of an ongoing research on the design scene in the american continent.

This project is a continuation of the Mugroso Series, which started with Mugroso Couch when it was presented  in 2006 in the Royal College of Art degree show. The Mugroso Series are based on a photographic research where I explored  the hectic historical centre of  Mexico City,  portraying scenarios of  improvisation and poverty  where people find the way of putting bits and rubbish together in order to compose functional everyday objects. The objects grow in what appears random and sometimes absurd compositions, following no planning or safety concerns. The results are beautiful collages of bright plastic colors and filthy bits of different materials, each one connected differently. The couch explored the aesthetics and logic of this “system”, translated into a an abstraction of dirt, mess, and improvisation.

The armchair uses the same system developed for Mugroso Couch, where basic structures and random elements are held together with bean bags and ropes, using the knot as a connecting system. The object grows in an intuitive way, sometimes questioning a logical order, just as they naturally appear in the urban landscapes of Mexico City. In this version a new element is added: a metallic grid, an object widely used by street vendors to display their merchandise, accompanied with  tangled bags, old tape and more.

About Call Out to the Americas: Latin America!

Design Miami is conducting a research project to catalog the many talented designers originating from or working in the Western Hemisphere. Our first call for portfolios went out at the end of last summer and will be followed by studio visits and further investigation over the coming year. This exhibition is our first presentation of this research, representing a focused selection of work from Latin America. Combining established masters with promising newcomers, Latin America! demonstrates the rich diversity, quality and design thinking found throughout this side of the Atlantic.

Participating designers:
Tanya Aguiñiga/ Pedro Barrail/ Fernando and Humberto Campana/ Sebastian Errazuriz/ Estudio Manus/ Hugo Franca/  Pedro Friedeberg/ Hechizoo/ Liliana Ovalle/ Courtney Smith/ Joaquim Tenreiro

About Liliana Ovalle:

Liliana Ovalle (Mexico City 1977)
Product and furniture designer based in London and Mexico. Before entering the Royal College of Art (London 2004-2006), she ran Salon de T, where she developed a series of products, lighting and furniture.

Her work has been featured in different International publications (Furnish, by Die Gestalten Verlag, 2007, Domus, Elle Deco UK, Interni) and selected for design exhibitions in different countries (British Council, Milan; Paul Smith Space, Tokio; Changing Dimensions, London; Over Design Over, Perugia). In 2006 she was given the Talent Award by the British Council. One of her projects, Table Stripping, is now produced Milan-based Plusdesign Gallery.

About Mugrosita:
Metal structure, walnut and mixed fabrics
90 x 88x 50 cms

Posted on Tuesday February 2nd 2010 at 8:01 am by Natasha Lyons. Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Fucking cool. Really like the deconstructed situation, very free, good use of proportions and colors. Latin america is the next wave.

  • Cr

    It’s for sure that many people ( designers ) will totally not like this, but I f___ing love it ! Indeed the whole deconstructed look is awesome. Also the nonchalance looks way better than that horrible and totally forced project Front did for Moroso.

  • tanya telford – T

    I like the honesty & continuity of this – observing and examining through to the forming of concept, through to idea, through to execution. In my view the first photo of the chair makes it look comfortable,

  • Liliana is one of Mexico´s best young designers, watch out for her, I´m pretty sure we´ll be hearing tons more about her never ending talent. And yes, off course latin america is the next wave, specially Mexico.

  • B.S.

    Those homeless people, they’re sooo chic. So now.

  • squeed


  • Off The High Horse

    Geat project. I think it’s about improvisation, organised chaos and adapted use and implying that the proceeds should go to homeless people is just daft (squeed).

  • PeeBee

    Errr…. Campana

  • I like it, a lot. Yes, its influenced by The Campanas & Co, but in a positive way, there’s no copy, not even close, similar backgrounds, thats all.

    Ovalle have great conceptual projects and in my humble opinion is one of the few Latin-American designers that its not afraid to experiment away from their own culture without losing it.

    I like it.

  • Joseph

    Zoolander was a documentary?

  • mil

    This is for a fairy tale bar a doll house ? too fancy to be true. the homeless people are more creative and honest. they rethink and turn the waist in shelters no in ornamental trends.

  • JK

    Upcoming additions to the product line include: a bed made from artfully arranged newspapers and filthy blankets; and a colourful, mobile wardrobe unit that doubles as a grocery pushcart.

  • quinn

    Offensive in a way that I can not quite put words to. Using this piece of furniture would be an excercise in futility and frustration, as the ties and ribbons and sacks would just shift about underneath one. This would succeed as a piece to engage people in conversation, but little else. Reminds me of the young fashion designer whose recent season offered nothing but deconstructed clothing based on ‘bag people,’ again offensive, in that the pieces were made of silk, worsted wool and the likes and would be unaffordable to even the well-off amongst us. People will rail against me here, but as a designer with a M.S. who used to be a social worker working on behalf of mentally ill homeless people in the inner city, I just get sick to my stomach at this.

  • Jeff

    Smells like irony!

  • John H

    Reminds me of the derelicte campaign on Zoolander. I think that sums it up for me.

  • JL

    Good execution and interesting concept.
    But sometimes certain concept should just stays as a concept..
    This concept seems to bring an insult to those homeless people. They beg and pray to live each day better with whatever they can find to keep warm. It should serve as a reminder to the society and not an inspiration to cash-in on. The basic fundamental role of a designer – solving problems.

  • great !!!!

  • gabs

    Oooh I’m so thrilled to see this article! Liliana has been getting a lot of attention here in Mexico. Most of her work takes inspiration or taps on specific Mexican habits and cultural phenomena. She has some really good work, you should check it out.

  • JJ

    This is a very good project in wich the abstraction of the daily life in Mexico City is reinterpreted in a simple and colorful furnishing, Ovalle is a very good designer and with a brilliant future and proudly she is of Industrial Design Faculty of la UNAM, MX

  • did she also do something to make the situation better for the homeless on only analyse how they live and use things .. not seeing that many need more help then having their worlds stylish interpreted for designer furniture lines? ??

    designers should be more on the barricade doing something deeper then only be inspired by looking at peoples situations, but trying to make also changes for these people. are we not designers to make situations into better preferred ones?

    never the less, i do enjoy the work , nice details

  • Davide

    every time i wake up from a hangover i have a bed like this, though my design process is not so careful… do you use the same process in designing your objects?

  • Olivier

    relax, this project is not intended to help the homeless. She is only sharing her inspiration … which is great!

    I like the modularity of this object: you can give each of your guests a beanbag and put the coffee&biscuits on the naked frame (coffeetable). Well done, love the colours :)

  • Lourdes CIDI

    I had the chance one to see this project explained by Ovalle on a lecture she gave in Mexico City last year in February, at UNAM, Mexico City. From what I recall this project was not exactly based on the idea of homeless people (if you have a look at the explanation on her website it doesnt really mention anything related to it). From what I understood it was more inspired on circumstances that happen quite often here in Mexico City. If you get the chance to visit Mexico City you will find this kind of things in all levels, in construction sites, gas stations, street vendors, etc. The pictures show more something you would find in a street market. To me is more about celebrating this kind of behaviour rather than making any social comment on it.

  • Jen

    This is typical Dezeen!

    Liliana only mentions “portraying scenarios of improvisation and poverty”, but Dezeen, in its now traditional and narrow post-colonial view of the world, decided that “homeless” was more appropriate for the third world designers.

    Even the pictures are of street vendors, not homeless people.

    Now, of course, this comment will be edited out pretty soon!

  • This one needs a maid… :P

  • dea

    why? but why? is another useless sofa realy necessary?

  • Its not about being on a High Horse

    Surely this is a ‘concept’ piece – if it is – then interesting – more Memphis and Campana I think. As with Memphis, this piece is expensive and exclusive. I think that references to Mexico and street detritus are good but references to the ‘homeless’ less so. The later is somewhat insulting and I suggest really doesn’t mean anything. Why not donate some of the proceeds to the less fortunate – that is actually a good and worthy suggestion. To sum up, art furniture (it’s not needed of ergonomically correct nor solving any real problems – unless proceeds are donated to social benefit) that sits in the art/showroom and generates debate (that’s a good thing!) I look forward to seeing the next piece.

  • I am surprised to see a market for homeless people.