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 organised, 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.