Panorammma is a design studio created by Maika Palazuelos. Working out of Mexico City, Panorammma seeks to redefine our relation to functional objects through experimentation with materials and forms. We spoke to Maika about the origin of the studio, the “incubator of fresh design” that Mexico is and how it shapes her design approach. Please read and enjoy the full interview below.
Tell me a bit about how the studio formed? How did you find yourself in design?
The studio formed in a very organic way. My background is in art so I have always made things, but it was only recently, moving cities that I started designing pieces for my own use. I became interested in these objects of “use” because they competed and challenged the mundane by becoming a hyperbole of it and our behaviors, they were not meant to be parenthesized from the everyday experience.
For me this became a “trojan horse” for artistic expression, so in the midst of the pandemic I reached out to peers who I knew would share this same interest and started what is now Panorammma.
Maika Palazuelos, founder of Panorammma Atelier
How do you compare the contemporary design scene in Mexico to the rest of the world?
Mexico has for some time been a strong incubator of fresh design proposals. It is a country that thrives on its entropic energy nourished by a heritage of cultural syncretism, which marks an ever evolving design scene.
Craftsmanship is a very strong influence for designers in Mexico. Artisans allow designers to conceive pieces that would be impossible to produce in other parts of the world. This permissiveness however can be controversial as it is only possible, on a large scale, due to economic disparity in the country.
On the other end of the spectrum the collectible-design market is virtually nonexistent. For the most part Mexican designers and galleries have to look into exporting their creations to foreign collectors as a first option to support their projects.
Does being a designer in Mexico affect the work that you put out?
It definitely does. Conceptually my work is fueled by a tension I can identify in the devotion to material objects here in Mexico. Fetishism in Mexico is deeply rooted in spirituality and religion, but with the fusion of different systems of belief it becomes an idiosyncratic phenomenon.
Technically I could not think of a better place for the production of my work. In Mexico I have access to so many unique materials and a great disposition for experimentation from suppliers. In turn enjoying travels through the country to get to know different suppliers and their processes.
Marble and onyx in the workshop
Speaking of materials, how do you choose which materials you would like to explore? Is there a material you would like to work with but have not had the chance?
Many of my designs are in a way a continuation of my artistic practice which I consider; a yearning to materialize and decipher my experience as a patient. Time in which I became immersed in the aseptic materials of the clinic, remitting to them now as a tool to guide a reflection on notions of subjectivity.
However some pieces, like my rock work I think as freed from this personal intentionality. I like working with rock because it is the material that dictates the object’s final expression.
Rock is surprising. Working with it is like an archaeological experience in which one must discover what each piece hides. Paradoxically, sculpting rock can be meticulous, much like a medical procedure, you only get one chance to get things right. I like working with rocks that are endemic to the region, this contextualizes the work at a geological level.
In the future I see myself working more closely with glass. I have some experience with the material, but have honestly been intimidated by its high temperatures and breakage points. It is a stubborn but poetic medium.
Cult Stool in Pueblan Onyx in the workshop
Where do you look for inspiration for your work?
Panorammma’s inspiration centers around exploring past visions of the future and creating myths of memory. Constructing on our past experiences through new visual narratives.
Again, this for me, means remitting to my direct experience living through the spaces of malady, which I see as affecting the psychological sphere of society, epitomized by the increasing loss of immediacy and spread of the aseptic perception of the “other”.
Is there an area of design you’d like to work in which you haven’t had the chance to do yet?
I would love to work with jewelry. I like the intimate relationship one holds with these objects, and again the fetishistic attitude towards them. I have been thinking for some time about working with stones like fossilized bones and meteorites (other kinds of “precious stones”) and working them into talismans of sorts, jewelry objects that highlight the material’s energy and eccentricity.
Maika with one of the craftsmen she works closely with to create her objects
Could you highlight some other products or designers within Movimento which really excite you?
I can see you left the most difficult question for last, there are so many exciting designs within Movimento, but I have to start off by highlighting my countrywoman Sofia Campo’s stunning and impeccably executed: Crux Desk. She is a designer I would very much look forward to meeting.
I am also a huuuge admirer of South Koreans: MKY Studio and Hyukjoon Choi. I couldn't believe MKY’s works are all ceramics! Crazy. Round Cabinet is a piece I would really like to own myself. And Invisible Shelf by Hyukjoon Choi… blew my mind!
Lastly I want to highlight the Naple based studio Bhulls. Their work is not only propositive but commendable for their efforts towards sustainability. They demonstrate that great design can be addressed ecologically.
Crux Desk by Sofia Campos (Top Left), Round Cabinet by MYK Studio (Top Right), Invisible Storage by Hyukjoon Choi (Bottom Left), BT01 by Bhulls (Top Right)
Find out more about Panorammma Atelier and see their products at movimento.club