On the first floor of the Centro Cultural Kirchner (CCK), Argentine-designed jewelry and clothes are displayed alongside motorcycles that rely on local supplies, and 3D printers that use recycled materials. What all 400 local products on display share is a “sello de buen diseño” — a quality seal for outstanding design.
The Sello de Buen Diseño fair showcases the work of Argentine small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and is open to the public until Sunday, from 2pm to 8 pm.
“Designers and industrial workers of SMEs have a particular virtue that we have to harness and encourage,” President Alberto Fernández said during the fair’s inauguration
“The government invested in this project. We’re making the future into a reality because we are convinced that a country can be developed only if its industry is developed.”
As well as seeing the lauded projects and products, visitors can meet their creators and attend conferences on design, innovation, and branding.
“We have a wide variety of things, from farming machinery to jewelry. It’s great that all Argentines can see the quality and quantity of SMEs around the country,” Pablo Bercovich, National Director of SME Policy in the Production Secretariat, told the Herald. The secretariat is the institution that hands out the seals.
According to the organizers, this is the biggest design and industrial innovation show in the country in the last 50 years.
Around the fair
At the CCK, Indalecio Sabbioni, from the Sentidos design studio, showed the Herald some of the multiple projects he participated in, such as “open source” bicycle models.
“I offer the designs for free on my website, so any user or company can make them,” Sabbioni told the Herald. One of these designs, a compact tandem bicycle called Duetta, was on display.
Sabbioni also co-designed and made by Cicaré, a 70-year-old aircraft manufacturing company from Saladillo city in Buenos Aires province. It flew in to Buenos Aires in order to end upon display at the entrance of the CCK.
“It’s an ultra-light two-seater helicopter – it is being exported to Europe and it is one the best in its category,” Sabbioni said.
He also collaborated in the design of a virtual reality simulator for cranes and tractors, made by DELTA3, aimed at the training of machinery operators.
“It is a pretty unique product in the country and is being sold to companies such as YPF and Techint, and others overseas.”.
DELTA3 also made a robot that uses ultraviolet lights to disinfect rooms, one of the four products that were granted a certificate by the Industry Secretariat.The other three were “Línea Raíces” (Roots Line) by Maison Domecq, a line of accessories made out of surplus security shoes, “Refugio del Bosque” (Forest Refugee), a playground made entirely out of recycled plastic and “Mil días, Sueño Seguro” (1,000 days, Safe Dreams), a cradle and clothing set designed to reduce child mortality.
Also at the entrance of the CCK was an automated fertilizer for sugar cane production is on display. It was designed by the Verion company and is mostly sold in Brazil, Colombia, Panama, and Cuba. A new Argentine version, adapted to the soil of Tucumán, was recently bought by sugar cane company Ledesma.
“As an export, it brings in more dollars than what we ask for,” Álvaro Beraco, from Verion, told the Herald. “And, when used here, with its precise control of the dosage, you don’t waste any fertilizer and therefore it helps the trade balance.”
Tangible goods were not the only ones on display — people who go to the CCK can play video games and explore developments in other software sectors. One of them is Pulip, a platform made for marketplaces that has been used in Argentine “Black Fridays” since 2014 but is also sold in Mexico, Peru, and Colombia.
“This kind of platform can be used not only by commercial brands, but also with other groups that sell handicrafts, or vegan products…” Vanesa Gambirazio, from Pulip’s creator ID4YOU Agency, told the Herald.
Some goods combine industrial and software design, such as Micro Digital, a forensic technology company from Entre Ríos. They had a set of two microscopes on display that they call a “forensic comparator,” designed to help security forces solve crimes.
“It allows them to compare bullets, documents, and fingerprints. It has software that we also developed,” Alfredo Ragone, founder of the company, told the Herald. Ragone majored in Criminology, and his product originated from his undergraduate thesis.
“We’re the only company in its field that makes its products locally,” he said, something that saves the country money as his products are “significantly cheaper” than imported ones.
Bercovich told the Herald that there are more ways than one in which design can push the economy.
“Design also requires very little investment for small and medium-sized companies and it has a very high impact,” he said, “The fact that the toys you buy for your children and the seats you sit on are made here means more jobs and, specifically, more industrial employment — which is the best paid in Argentina.”
“But that is not all — Argentine design is also an identity.”