Mayrit, the new emerging designers network in Madrid

For ten days, the festival directed by Miguel Leiro connected designers from Madrid with international guests.

Maǧrīţ, which means "land rich in water", is the name of the medieval settlement on which the city of Madrid stands today. Referring to the etymological origin of the city, Miguel Leiro shows that the Spanish capital is today a fertile ground for creativity and innovation. With the Mayrit festival, which took place from 10 to 20 February 2020, the designer and curator involved the whole emerging Madrid design scene, which appeared more compact and lively than ever before.

The event took place in parallel – and with naïve independence – to the Madrid Design Festival 2020, which is addressed to a generalist audience and has a predominantly commercial attitude, leaving little room for experimentation. Far from the institutional venues, Mayrit has activated galleries, showrooms and workshops, not only in the city centre but also in the outskirts of the city: a good reason to experience the city outside the usual tourist circuits.

Tornasol Studio, Órbitas, veduta della mostra, Mayrit festival, Madrid, 2020. Foto Asier Rua
Tornasol Studio, Órbitas, veduta della mostra, Mayrit festival, Madrid, 2020. Foto Asier Rua

Through exhibitions, workshops, conferences and installations, Leiro has generated a network of relationships and collaborations between the new names on the local scene – Jorge Penades, Lucas Muñoz Muñoz, LaCube, Tornasol Studio, ecc. – with practices from all over Europe including Parasite 2.0MAIO, Object of Common Interest and Matylda Krzykowski.

The platform aims to support the local scene and rethink design and its meanings. "There are varying interpretations of contemporary design’s definition and place in our cultural, domestic, and emotional panorama, says the curator. "Once thought of as a practice concerned primarily with material objects, design is now recognized as a distinct discipline that generates artistic narratives and serves as a vehicle for interpretations of contemporaneity."

LaCube, Untitled Blue x Luminous Studio, Mayrit festival, Madrid, 2020
LaCube, Untitled Blue x Luminous Studio, Mayrit festival, Madrid, 2020. Foto Asier Rua

Ingredients necessary for the success of the festival are also the dishes of pimiento de padron and croquetas, which together with the inevitable beers cheer up the heated informal post-opening discussions. With an all-Spanish attitude, the events are conceived as devices of discovery, knowledge and conversation. Design is a pretext, the goal is the community. So excuse us if for once we don't focus on projects.

Although not considered a unitary collective, the young designers of the Spanish capital often find ways to cooperate among themselves, creating a network that is renovated and consolidated every year. Who knows if in the future it might not become a model also for cities like Milan, which are the centre of the furniture industry and have a more consolidated tradition, but which lack a cohesive experimental scene and alternative spaces of expression. For those who think the future of design is collaborative, then Madrid is the city to follow.

Mayrit festival
Opening dates:
10-20 February 2020
Miguel Leiro
Art direction:
Victor Clemente
Cristina Schaver

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