There’s a curve to the Sofi bench designed by Cristian Arostegui G. that has the same perfection as a blade of grass bent by the wind. In fact, each of his furniture pieces — whether custom-made for clients or dreamed up for kicks in-studio — has a way of unifying the organic with the geometric plumage of the modern world.
Now in his sixth year of producing furniture through Arostegui Studio (but his seventh since he started toying with furniture design), his interests remain as diverse as they were when he first started collecting and customizing abandoned pieces found on the streets in Toronto.
“I like audacious design — I wouldn’t say I have a specific style,” he says of his work. “I don’t think I want to be a part of anything too specific. I like being eclectic, and I sincerely don’t know if that’s good for me as a designer, or bad.”
Having left architecture school in Chile to pursue an advertising degree, Arostegui followed his creative instincts and landed in Canada in 2009 and completed a woodworking program at Toronto’s Humber College. Now a regular at the Vancouver Interior Design Show (IDS) and a member of the Victoria Design Collective, Arostegui’s architectural training lends itself well to the balance needed when blending form and function, while his advertising background has helped him establish a successful business on Vancouver Island and beyond. A natural fit for the West Coast ethos, Arostegui is committed to making furniture that is well-designed from both a manufacturing and functional perspective — and always with a dose of social awareness.
“Victoria is a beautiful place to live, though it can be a tricky place to work and sell your products,” he says, adding that his commitment to sustainable, local, low volatile organic compound materials can both help and hinder access to components that he incorporates into his furniture.
Ever conscientious, Arostegui would like to see his products made more accessible to the budget-minded public. He and his business partners have recently embarked on a new furniture company, Caramba, that will offer locally made flat-pack, quality-built products with a reasonable price tag. The company will produce Arostegui’s work with durable, inexpensive materials, allowing a broader range of consumers to access stylized furniture without paying a premium for custom design.
“I find it frustrating that only people with money can afford the nicer furniture,” he says. “I feel like something should change. I know that better quality and better materials are going to be more expensive, but by making some changes to the materials we use, we are making something that more people can access.”
This article is from the February/March 2020 issue of Douglas.