CasaCor: Design Porn in Factoria Italia

The concept is a little bizarre, but at the same time equally brilliant and intriguing. Dozens of Latin America's top architects, designers and decorators are given space in an empty warehouse to create the most inspired, functional, sustainable or lavish rooms they can dream up. Months of planning and preparation, followed by weeks of physical work culminate in just 40 days of existence for some of the most beautiful examples of contemporary design you have ever seen.

Sofía Iturralde y María José Manterola (photo by Brandon Stanley)
Sofía Iturralde y María José Manterola (photo by Brandon Stanley)

CasaCor, an annual design showcase and competition, is in it's second year in Chile but has been going strong for 25 years in Brazil. To keep things interesting the venue changes each year, as well as the theme. For 2012 it's fashion and Factoria Italia in Providencia was the space appointed to house this impressive event, mainly due to its central location amongst one of the more lively areas of Santiago for upcoming designers and artists. Additionally, the space was once home to famous sombrerería Girardi in the early 1900s and for decades has played an important role in the community.

The idea for this year is to use fashion and the materials, textures, colors and current trends as inspiration for the spaces created. Some of the examples of this year's theme are quite obvious; such as a wall of TV's displaying high fashion photography or a massively oversized red ball gown suspended 12 feet above a sofa. And for others, the effects are a little more subtle, loosely playing with the colors and fabrics of today's styles. One of the highlights of the festival is the awards ceremony. Each space is eligible for any of the dozen awards such as: "Best use of Technology," "Best Commercial Space" and "Best Illumination."

 Javier Pinochet (photo by Brandon Stanley)
Javier Pinochet (photo by Brandon Stanley)

CasaCor gives the public an opportunity to see, first-hand, what today's industry leaders are doing. Sure, you could pick up recent issues of Casa or Mas Deco, but to step into their elaborate creations is something else. And to walk from one room to another - from one brilliant mind's idea of perfection to another - is an experience not to be missed.

You can wander through a stunning lobby that wouldn't be out of place in the world's fanciest hotels, right through to a dark and moody dining room that could host secret meetings for the underworld. Keep going and you will stumble upon a library made entirely of cardboard. Yes, cardboard - right down to the pens and notebooks sitting on the tables. Fernando Moro's impressive creation won him three CasaCor awards this year including Most Original and Most Sustainable.

 www.KatherineRahal.com (photo by Brandon Stanley)
www.KatherineRahal.com (photo by Brandon Stanley)

The months of planning are obvious and clearly no expenses were spared. From marble flooring and gigantic chandeliers to hand-crafted wooden tables and one-of-a-kind sculptures, the detail is impeccable. It is hard to believe that these rooms will only live for a little over a month. Designer Katharine Rahal spent over three months working out every last detail and personally designing almost every item she used to decorate her section. She then implemented her ideas during a three week period (with a little help of course). The result was a chic, yet perfectly cozy space loaded with rustic, natural materials harmoniously blended with modern design.

For both the public and the designers, CasaCor is an opportunity to interact with one another in a setting that isn't easy to come by. It's as if you could enter a movie set or extravagant home and pick the brain of the mastermind behind it all. So if design, architecture or being able to explore a warehouse of beautiful creations interests you, take advantage of CasaCor before it's gone on November 18th. Otherwise you will just have to wait until next year to see what these industry leaders can dream up.

 Fernando Moro (photo by Brandon Stanley)
Fernando Moro (photo by Brandon Stanley)

For more info visit http://casacorchile.com/
From October 13 - November 18th. Open Wednesday to Sunday from 12pm-9pm
Entrance - CP$5.000 (approx. US$10.50) for students - CP$3.000 (US$6.30)

To get here take the Green line metro (L5) to Parque Bustamante and walk 5 blocks east to Av Italia. Or take the 504,501 buses along Bilbao to Av. Italia. Any of the many buses along Av. Salvador will also get you within a couple blocks. Just be sure to get off at Bilbao.

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