Havana-based designers Raiko Valladares and Jose A Villa have launched a collection of brightly coloured chairs, which are designed and made in Cuba (+ slideshow).
The duo's Vibra collection comprises chairs made from curvilinear metal frames, with elasticated rope threaded between them to form the seats and backs.
"We focused on creating a new type of surface for seats, playing with the tension of the ropes and from there, the structure that enhances the shapes," the duo told Dezeen.
The use of elastic rope – which can withstand Cuba's humid climate – is intended to make use of, and give value to, an under-appreciated material.
Valladares and Villa want to revitalise the furniture design industry in their home country by using local materials, processes and craftsmen.
"Our main purpose is to show what can be done with design in Cuba, and that with common materials and without particularly sophisticated resources, new shapes can be accomplished," said the designers.
Their collection of chairs is designed and made in Cuba and was influenced by the country's famous music scene.
"We approach music from its most abstract elements and we try to translate them visually," said Valladares and Villa. "We were also interested in taking the string instruments as a reference because our designs were done with a similar material."
The three chairs within the collection are named Emptiness, Duet and Box and are each available in red, blue and green, as these are the only colours of elastic currently available in Cuba, according to the designers.
Frames for all three designs are calculated to be made from aluminium tubes, but the material is difficult to come by in Cuba so the first prototypes are produced from recycled steel bars and galvanised steel tubes from construction sites.
The trade embargo placed on the Caribbean island by the US has meant that many Cubans have had to be resourceful with materials to design, make and repair their items.
The two countries have recently begun to rebuild diplomatic relations, and the relaxing of these restrictions could mean that designers in Cuba soon have better access to materials and machinery for creating products.
To present their designs, Valladares and Villa took photographs in two industrial areas of Havana: a former tram terminal and the Iron Bridge, both of which were chosen by the designers to "contrast with the visuality of VIBRA chairs".
The Vibra chair collection is being exhibited at The Cuban Art Factory (FAC) for the 12th Bienal de La Habana International Art Exhibition. Also for the event, French artist Didier Faustino is staging a performance around the city's Modernist School of Ballet.