Raiko Valladares

Havana, Cuba

Cuban designer Raiko Valladares was born in Havana in 1987. He studied industrial design at the Higher Institute of Industrial Design (ISDI) in Havana, graduating in 2011. From 2009 to 2015, Valladares was a member of the creative team at Ton Haas Industrial Design, where he specialized in experimental furniture and product design for professional and household use. This experience inspired Valladares’s own focus on sophisticated furniture designs and trained him in the areas of 3D printing, injection molded plastics, and monoblock technology. Under Ton Haas, Valladares contributed to the creation of, among other projects, the 2010 Moiré Chair, which earned a 2010 IF Product Design Award and a 2011 Red Dot Design Award. Additionally, Valladares has collaborated with Cuban artists such as Rafael Arzuaga, Jose Emilio Fuentes, Raul Valladares, and Villamil on sculptural projects, exhibition designs, and functional pieces. From 2014 to 2015, Valladares served as a professor of new technologies at ISDI, focusing primarily on 3D printing.

In early 2015, Valladares established his own studio-workshop in Havana. His aim is to help invigorate the design community in Cuba, using available materials and processes to cultivate a fresh Cuban design language. As of this writing, standout projects include Link and Vibra (both 2015). The former is a conceptual artwork featuring a two-headed sombrero; made in collaboration with Cuban designer José Antonio Villa Sené, Link reflects on the notion of connectivity and data transference. Vibra, meanwhile, is a series of three chairs inspired by Cuban music, also made with Villa Sené. As Valladares notes, “Vibra is a visual translation of sound into three-dimensional shapes.” The series is made in Havana of a ubiquitous nylon cord that is woven around metal frames. Vibra was exhibited during the XII Bienal de La Habana at the Cuban Art Factory in Havana and at the Havana International Fair in 2015.