After living in New York for five years, Mariquel Waingarten became deeply nostalgic for Argentina, where she was born and raised. Wanting her Williamsburg apartment to feel a bit more like home, she approached her good friend, Alejandro Sticotti, an Argentinian architect and designer, with an idea. She proposed that he build handcrafted furniture made of certified wood from Argentina’s rainforest and sell the products in the U.S.
The idea is to incorporate Sticotti’s handiwork, which represents South American soul and craftsmanship, into practical furnishings that are mainstays in the American home. And all designs would be showcased on Waingarten’s new ecommerce platform called Sudacas.
Who’s this Sticotti guy?
With decades of design experience, Sticotti’s work has been published by major design companies globally. But he’s always been a step or two removed from the actual consumers. This time though, he wants to engage potential buyers in the process.
“He was attracted to the idea of connecting directly to the consumer,” says Waingarten, a WeWork Williamsburg member.
Sticotti operates a workshop in Buenos Aires and has a team of workers who handcraft wood. A lot of passion and craftsmanship is involved in what he does, Waingarten says. With a grandfather who was a carpenter and a father who had a workshop in the house, Sticotti grew up around natural materials like wood, and his family valued craftsmanship.
Sticotti wants people to be able to watch the hard work that goes into crafting furniture.
“He wanted to do a livestream so people can see how things are made,” Waingarten says. “The workshop isn’t fancy. It’s raw and straightforward. There are no embellishments.”
What’s the vision behind Sudacas?
Sudacas serves as an avenue to showcase the talents of South American designers. On the Kickstarter page, Sticotti bookshelves and coat racks are awarded to project backers.
“We decided on a bookshelf and coat rack because they are very personal items,” Waingarten says. “Both items are always holding things that are a reflection of who we are and what we like. We want to have things that are handy. In the kitchen, you could have a rack full of aprons, and on a bookshelf, you could have your favorite books.”
Waingarten sees opportunities for cultures to intersect through design and functionality.
“I hope through design, I can give a little more empathy to the world on how to combine things to work together,” Waingarten. “The best thing about technology and the globalized world is we have the capability to integrate and learn from each other.”
Now that Waingarten has met her initial goal of $30,000, her stretch goal is to raise $100,000 to hire two highly recognized designers from South America who can build products that are sustainable, beautiful, and practical. The platform launches in October.