the andes house presents ‘espino’ – a research-based design project that takes its name from the material it explores. the espino is a tree native to chile that’s traditionally used for firewood. this project seeks to redeem the value of this wood with the creation of small domestic objects that show off its beautiful natural qualities.
images by carlos molina
the material exploration takes us to the chilean countryside. outside the small town of marchihue, there’s a 1500 hectare field called ‘campo las pataguas’, which is home to many espino trees. the espino (acacia caven) species grows in mediterranean weather and can undergo long spells without rain, making it perfect for the dry coastal area. the espino also has the capability to reproduce and densify its own forest thanks to cattle action on the field. due to intense cattle activity in the area, a special management plan exists, authorized by CONAF (national forest corporation), that helps maintain a careful balance between cattle and its green surroundings, with programmed trims.
due to its high density and great capacity for caloric energy, the espino has traditionally been used solely as firewood and for natural charcoal. for this process, large traditional mud ovens are used, which are placed in different parts of the fields, according to their different needs.
for this project the andes house has defined annual pruning in favor of obtaining a good balance between the space that animals need to circulate and the adequate growth of tree and trunk, which translates into developing good quality objects. as a result of this process you get an exclusive raw material with extraordinarily unique traits. the design team created products for everyday use, considering in its design, the restrictions and limitations of the material. from coat hooks to shelves, the functional pieces perfectly capture the beauty of the espino.
the andes house is a product and interior design studio, based in chile. their main purpose is experimenting with diverse materials, to then create designs that respond naturally to their own properties.
campo las pataguas
horno de barro
project name: espino
design: the andes house
photography: carlos molina
edited by: lynne myers | designboom