Colombian-born, Miami- and Bali-based artist Catalina Echavarria likens herself to “an orchestra conductor who creates harmonious vibrations”. This positive energy manifests itself as furniture that fuses tropical weaving techniques – in reeds, bamboo, rattan and other natural fibres – with a modern aesthetic. Inspired by Bali’s roadside artisans, Echavarria’s airy raft beds and loungers add ethereal touches to a variety of sleek, contemporary spaces – including the Caribbean home of Donna Karan, one of her faithful clients.
Echavarria started out making stylish baby cribs and has now developed the technique to produce sculptural, customised bed platforms and furnishings for a wide variety of settings. Popular commissions include her handwoven Reed beds (from $7,500, first picture) and Bamboo Nest beds (from $4,500), which allow air to flow beneath the mattress and create a sense of lightness in a room, and woven banana-fibre rugs (from $3,000 for 3m x 3m) – all of which can be configured in various sizes and subtle hues.
“I find inspiration in places where indoor and outdoor living flow into one another,” says Echavarria, who also creates sculptural lawn chairs (from $950, second picture) in stretched and formed bamboo and rattan, and modular seating units (from $3,500 per module) swathed in muted natural linen. “I love tapping into our global ancestral handicrafts heritage and using rare materials,” she adds of her pieces, which take anywhere from several weeks to four months to complete, depending on the complexity of the project and the materials involved. For lovers of spare, artisanal furnishings with a slightly beachy vibe, they are very much worth the wait.