Lamas Burgariotti on how creative curiosity allows it to merge graphic design and fine art
Built on a strong foundation of friendship, a shared and varying love for creativity has led Vicky Lamas and Joaquín Burgariotti to create a unique design practice.
Despite running a multi-disciplinary creative studio together, Vicky Lamas and Joaquín Burgariotti are first and foremost friends. Pushing aside the term “partner” or “creative collaborator”, the basis of Lamas Burgariotti is the pair’s long-standing relationship. Vicky and Joaquín have created an artistic space where no idea is too embarrassing to say, or too ambitious to suggest. As a result, they’ve carved out a niche as a studio, pushing the boundaries of what “graphic design” can be. “Today we know this was the best foundation for our partnership,” the pair reflect. “We help each other in the path of growing personally and professionally, and to us this is very important.”
At first, Vicky and Joaquín were just two friends sharing a co-working space. They founded the Costa Rica Friends Club in 2012 with friends and freelancers, the usual collaborative space where creatives worked alone. However “when huge projects arrived, we preferred to work on them together,” explains Vicky. In 2016, the pair were given the chance to move to a workshop with even more artists, “where we found a new place for our creativity and teamwork.” The new home offered possibility, plenty of space and new surrounding artists to provide daily inspiration. It led the pair to realise a desire to push their practices as far as possible, finally “encouraging us to found a studio together.”
On paper, the pair’s background up to this point detailed different areas and styles of the creative industry. Vicky, who first studied graphic design at the University of Buenos Aires, had a “minimalistic and simple approach” which, to Joaquín, “showed, and still shows, the beauty of typography as a kind of art.” Joaquín, on the other hand, studied the broader subject of visual arts at the National University of Arts in Buenos Aires, and offered a “breath of fresh air”, in Vicky’s words. “I worship his sensitivity as a designer and artist, and admire his patience as well as his endless path through composition, proposing many versions at each stage of the work.” Together they were always sharing “artistic curiosities”, regularly exchanging tips on “movies, exhibitions, artists, documentaries, or any other source of inspiration for our work.”
It was their shared views on the creative industry as opposed to a mutual style which inspired the pair to join forces. Their differing experiences meant “we knew that graphic design had multiple fields of action,” and in turn, today, Lamas Burgariotti delves into each of these fields thoroughly. “We’ve always known it’s important to know what we like and don’t like to do,” adds Joaquín. “And, as a consequence, we stand out for the passion that our clients are looking for.”
Lamas Burgariotti also draws admirers in its ability to switch between sub-disciplines within the umbrella of graphic design. A quick browse through their portfolio showcases publication design, photography, art direction, and Vicky’s quintessential typographic eye that Joaquín aforementioned. “We believe that our personal enrichment is to learn from everything around us,” continues Joaquín. “By intuition, luck or curiosity, we meet people who consume and generate a lot of cultural content, which ends up being the very essence of our approach.”
Establishing a partnership that “blends graphic design with the visual arts,” forming the studio boosted confidence for both Vicky and Joaquín. By believing “more of what we do and being more confident in the challenge of bonding graphic design and art” prospective clients quickly jumped on board, too.
Their first joint commission was an identity for Arqueologías Del Futuro (A-F II) or Future Archaeologies, a contemporary dance and performance festival. The creative approach for this first identity consisted of several posters – including an installation at its opening, a video, a small publication and several flyers. The main media used was a process of scanning which the designers liken to expressive dance. “The idea was to experience the action of scanning and the result was a record of the body in motion in space-time,” explains Vicky. “Later, that led us to use the scanner as a tool to generate images.”
In its first joint project, Vicky and Joaquín executed a design approach which is led by expressive thought. Rather than a certain look or feel, this became the crux of Lamas Burgariotti’s practice. “If there is an aesthetic in our work, we believe that it’s very close to contemporary art,” adds Joaquín. “We try to use all the resources in our favour. We do not specialise in something in particular, we try to make aesthetics come from experimentation, to use techniques that we might never have imagined we could use.” The only constant, it seems, is a want to combine both digital and analogue visuals, in a method the pair describe as a “constant transfer”. “We like our material to travel from one state to another, which means losing and adding information – transforming.” In this transformation comes Lamas Burgariotti’s tone of voice, “working equally on artistic and design projects, erasing the line between art and design.”
Another more recent project that displays this line of thinking is Blue, an online journal that sees Lamas Burgariotti working – like most of us currently – in the digital space. “Nowadays we find ourselves immersed in a digital world, and in a global community without borders,” explains Vicky. “Due to last year’s pandemic that changed the entire world, we poured ourselves into a digital mood.” Blue, which consists of a mix of essays, artist projects, interviews, transcriptions and translations, sees the pair apply their cross-disciplinary approach to aid conversation and engagement.
Coming full circle, Vicky adds the studio has once again been invited back to design Arqueologias Del Futuro this year. As the festival moved online, a few hurdles cropped up which allowed the pair to “trespass frontiers with our colleagues and collaborators from all over the world.”
GalleryLamas Burgariotti: Transmission (Copyright © Lamas Burgariotti, 2021)
GalleryLamas Burgariotti: Transmission (Copyright © Lamas Burgariotti, 2021)
While discussing these projects, Vicky and Joaquín are keen to delve into the elements most enjoyed about these briefs, as opposed to specific visual executions. For instance, Joaquín adds that “what we enjoy the most is the possibility to experiment and investigate with materials and different forms of creations. At work we constantly need to solve aesthetic issues, and trust each other on these matters. It makes us grow and it’s particularly enriching.” Developing concepts will always be “a permanent challenge” over aesthetic qualities, “as is applying [these concepts] to our projects and fading the line between design and art.”
Today the pair are in another co-working space with several other artists who feed into their practice. Based in La Paternal, “a quiet neighbourhood in Buenos Aires,” says Vicky, “it’s far from the buzzy touristic areas where artists usually have their studios.” Nevertheless, the pair are in daily contact with artists from many fields, whether it’s a writer, musician or a photographer. Their studio is a space to hold dialogues on unplanned creative work, “and in the end what we enjoy most is the union of both worlds.”
Pushing the studio's creative capabilities further is another firm aim for the future. Rather than learning new skills or programmes, it’s a wider cultural creative knowledge that piques Vicky’s and Joaquín’s interest, adding that “we try not to lose the freshness in our work, and we do this by projecting ideas into what we aspire.”
With this in mind, the horizon seems endless for Lamas Burgariotti. “Our biggest goal is to travel,” say the founders when imagining a post-Covid world. “It would be super exciting if one day our projects allow us to know other cultures and meet new people. We would love to live abroad for a while, to do an artist residency, an exhibition or design project, sharing and exporting what we know.” Collaboration, just like the one that brought Vicky and Joaquín together in the first place, is what this studio will always seek.
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Lamas Burgariotti: Raimondi (Copyright © Lamas Burgariotti, 2021)
About the Author
Lucy (she/her) joined It’s Nice That as a staff writer in July 2016 after graduating from Chelsea College of Art. In January 2019 she was made deputy editor and in November 2021, became a senior editor predominantly working on It’s Nice That's partnerships. Feel free to get in contact with Lucy about creative projects for the site or potential partnerships.