Okay, so the cat isn’t the most pertinent aspect of Gonzalo Arbutti and Matias Resich’s Buenos Aires–based art practice and toy-making company, Laboratori. But it does speak volumes about the site we found it on — Slanted Mansion, a newish interiors inspiration blog that we stumbled upon this weekend when they retweeted us (thanks guys!). Siobhan Frost, the photographer and interviewer responsible for all of the content on the site, has a knack for taking the just-right portrait: the Parisian cinematographer playing the French horn in his kitchen, the photographer making pretzel faces outside his Australian studio, the perfectly poised kitty. The photos are shot in a manner similar to many sites of its kind, but the breadth of countries seems wider than most (Israel, Argentina, Jordan), and the list of disciplines spans all the way from glass artist to wooden toy maker, which is how we found the studio visit we’re excerpting today.TEXT BY SIOBHAN FROST
Gonzalo and Matias had energy like puppies. They ran around like mad. They were hard to pin down for a date to shoot and when I arrived, they weren’t keen to sit still.
On arrival at their home in Buenos Aires, Argentina, I was led through a wooden gate, down the side of their house and into a large backyard where the magic of Laboratori occurs; I was in their garden and their workshop. Since they established their company, they have opened a shop in Buenos Aires, alongside the work they create for exhibitions and the national gallery, the Modern Museum of Art.
It was the middle of winter, but not freezing. It felt like a mild autumn in London. There was a small fire next to the wood working area and seating in the grass surrounding. I felt like I was camping.
Gonzalo had an order to fill within the hour and so work carried on during my visit. Gonzalo’s English was limited compared with that of Matias (whose home it was) who had spent five years in London. He returned a few years ago to start the company with long-time friend Matias.
Their workshop was well organized, with Laboratori pieces on display everywhere I turned. They weren’t ordinary wooden toys but works of art, those you would find in a museum gift store. They’re designed for adults as well as children. The connection between each piece plays an instrumental part in the method of their creation. Gonzalo’s art hung from the office walls. He exhibits in various galleries, including the annual ArteBA , an annual Argentinean art fair.
Inside their living room, in addition to Matias’ daughter Ela crawling around, there were stacked wooden off cuts, a brick fireplace, a sculptured wooden light frame and wooden stools.
Before I knew it, Gonzalo had fled out the door and I could see Matias had more to get on with. I left them to it.
For more photographs from this studio visit, as well as other stories of its kind, go to www.slantedmansion.com.