During the week of 14th until 18th of November, Quito has been the host of the XX Pan-American Architecture Biennale of Quito. This year the Biennale proposed the attendees to visit local entrepreneurs in the event “MIO good citizens practices”.
One of these visits involved the collective “De La Floresta” (from La Floresta), which is a group of artists, cultural managers, craftsmen, designers, filmmakers and neighbors, many of whom still practice traditional trades. The objective of La Floresta is to make the cultural management of the neighbourhood visible. It is important to keep in mind that this neighbourhood is one of the oldest in the city, and it still has more than 70 patrimonial houses.
‘La Floresta Cultural Route’ was an activity proposed from the group during the Biennale, in which people could walk around the Floresta Neighbour, looking for points of interest: local entrepreneurs or artist´s workshops. The route started at the information point, where hosts gave you a passport with the location of 12 places to visit; you had to visit at least 7 of these to get the certificate.
In each of these places, the hosts would explain about the activities or the offers they were working on, and then they mark the passport with an impression.
Let’s explore La Floresta Cultural Route together and find out the stories of some of these places:
: Fui Reciclado is a studio and design store specialized in recycled accessories made by more than fourteen local craftsmen. All craftsmen share the same conscientious, environmentally friendly and fair trade philosophy.
Moshi boots: a store for any traveler, the place offers alternative and personalised boot designs, made by hand. You can choose from a variety of colors and textures, and if boots are not enough for you, you can make your personalised purses or coats for any occasion. (video)
El Tocte: an artisan workshop, where everything that is elaborated is made with the technique of the Taracea, which consists of the inlay and wood veneer. Think about a ring or necklace with different color wood types. Or how about a wooden chest made by hand?
Artesanía Urbana: the place that have everything you need! It is a manufacturer store, where local artists or designers can sell their products. Some of them sell food, for example traditional fruits jam, mixtures of pickles or different types of cheese and chocolate. On the other hand you can find a variety of products made with recycled materials. Artesanía urbanas has three shops in Quito, out of which two are located in the Historic Centre and the other one is in la Floresta.
Taller de Cerámica y Pintura: Workshops are always welcomed if you wan to learn something new! Taller de Cerámica y Pintura is focusing on this very idea, offering people a chance to discover their artistic perspective through painting and ceramics. The products are also available for sale. They explained us an abstract of the process, how does the higher temperatures affect the colors and how some figures are done. For example, there are unique designs and others, that are very detailed, have to be done with a matrix to low the prices. Amazing how many things you can learn there!
Pacarina Taller de Grabado: Pacarina offers the neighborhood a place for engraving. The designs are for sale in the shop, in a variety of useful products made during workshops. You can find notebooks engraved with different and colourful designs, engraved cushions or puppets and even table games for children made in wood. Pacarina makes your imagination become reality.
Galería Artik: Visit this art, design and decoration gallery, with new stetic proposals from local artists and designers, antiques and decoration accesories. They complemented this ideas with some other products, from different places and for all pockets. You can find almost everything! From art pieces and fancy accessories, to personalised sheets and towels. And as if that was not enough, you can find one of Quito´s best brownies and cookies in the backyard cafeteria: UM! Bakery!
El gato Bermejo: (by Alegría Mateljan) is a workshop house with the artist Alegría Mateljan. She offers a wide range of creative activities: ceramics, acuarela, collage and photography. The workshops are mainly for children, but adults also attend. You are never too old to learn something new!
Kalahari Handmade Decor: Is a handmade decorative and home store that promotes local designers and artists. Some of their products are from a few national brands difficult to find in the city. Here you can find fantastic work in ceramics, colorful and artistic crockery and house accessories.
Once we finished the Route, we returned to the information point to get our certificate. Still, adventuring on the La Floresta Route meant more than just that certificate. It offered us the chance to explore and discover our own creativity. Pitifully the Route is no longer available, though all these places and many others are open, waiting for you! The collective “De La Floresta” continue organizing different events, so keep an eye on them!