Black Table Studio
Carlos Meza graduated from La Javerina University in Bogota, Colombia and holds a Master’s Degree in Architecture from Pratt Institute in New York City. During and after his post-graduate studies, Carlos has focused on theory and practice of generative digital design methodologies through modeling software as well as new digital fabrication technologies. In 2005, he won first place in an architecture competition to design a library for the municipality of Villanueva Colombia. The project was fully completed in 2009 and has been widely published in international magazines and books.
Carlos Meza thrives on the profound effect that new technologies... read more
Erin: What are you curious about?
Carlos: My interests change depending on what I'm working on at the moment. I'm curious about the cultural, social and economic aspects of the world around me. I like to walk around and examine cities, buildings, and objects. I like to analyze their forms and try to understand the technical rules that explain their forms.
Erin: Describe your work and describe your process
Carlos: My work is materially and technically driven. Usually it relies on the material limitations of what I am working with. It is very hard for me to start with an aesthetic design and then work towards its materialization. My process is more bottom-up, which is to say that the parameters are driven by materials and techniques which lead me to a particular design.
Erin: How does your architectural background influence your approach to product design
Carlos: I think architecture occupies a big portion of what I am passionate about in life and it's my main interest as a designer. Before coming to NYC, I was honored to win a national competition to design and build a public library for a small town in Villanueva, Colombia. This experience helped me realize that the best design responds to the context it is created for. With the creation of Black Table Studios, I've started practicing architecture though small objects. I adapt materials like concrete and mix them with new fabrication methods now used in contemporary architecture to keep training myself as an architect. I'm looking for new design language that eventually could be enlarged on an architectural scale.
Erin: You choose modern forms of experimentation in your work whether through 3D printing processes or mixing materials in new ways. Where do you get your ideas from?
Carlos: Most of these ideas comes from architecture. I was introduce to digital fabrication methods while pursuing a masters degree in Architecture at Pratt Institute. There I realized the potential of these technologies for fabrication and decided to mix them with a more traditional architecture experience and the knowledge I had. I realize the potential to optimize fabrication processes that have led me toward design languages I never expected.
Erin: We love your zipper serving boards. Tell us about this piece and the concept behind it.
Carlos: For most of my work, I like to establish a dialog between materials. It is though this conversation that the object emerges. At first, I was interested in combining concrete and wood. I knew that concrete cracks and breaks and also knew that solid wood will expand and contract. I kept thinking technically how the wood could expand and contract without cracking the concrete and that is why I applied an expansion joint between the two materials. Usually these expansion joints are most commonly found in architectural constructions when you need to provide allowance for thermal expansion of the parts joined without distortion. The result is a finger joint with sequence of three material wood-rubber-concrete.
Erin: What new material or method excites you the most in designing for today and for the future
Carlos: I am interested in materials that are applicable to architecture. Specially castable materials (concrete-ceramics-resins-metals-glass). I've taken my first steps toward glass casting and look forward to producing some of the pieces I've prototyped. I'm also interested in experimenting with some high-performance materials like carbon fiber and fiber glass.
Erin: What is the most important thing you learned and from whom
Carlos: Someone important to me once gave me these words, "to insist, to persist and not desist." I am sure they will keep me in the game for a very long time.
Erin: If you had one superpower what would it be
Carlos: To control time! There's never enough and I realize it's my biggest asset.
Erin: If you could collaborate with anyone dead or alive who would it be with and what would it look like?
Carlos: So many people to choose form...but the first person that comes to my mind would be Eladio Dieste but, believe me, the list is very long!
Erin: What's next?
Carlos: Soon I will be launching a new custom fabrication business, with very cool tools that I am sure lost of designers and artist will love to play around with. I look forward to collaborate and learning from lots of talented artist and designers. This shop will also be a great platform to keep pursuing my own design work. It is a bigger space and expect my design work will get bigger too!