Liliana Ovalle is a London-based designer from Mexico who graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2006. Her work includes commissions and production pieces for MAXXI Museum, Nodus and Plusdesign Gallery amongst others. Her designs, diverse in materials and techniques, reflect different themes and processes, from referencing situations observed in the urban context to exploring vernacular craft techniques.
In 2006 she received the Talent Award by the British Council and in 2008 the Mexican Clara Porset Special Award. In 2015 she was granted the Talents à la Carte recognition by Maison&Object.
Her work has been selected for multiple exhibitions including Design Miami, Gallery Libby Sellers and Museo Poldi Pezzoli. Her pieces Sinkhole Vessels are part of the permanent collection at Museum of Arts and Design in New York, and her table Colour Me Red was recently acquired by the Centre National des Arts Plastiques in France.
Liliana is Research Fellow at the Interaction Research Studio, Goldsmiths University of London.
Museum’s Permanent Collections
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art - Fragment of a Staircase
Centre National des Arts Plastiques, France - Colour Me Red
Museum of Arts and Design, New York - Sinkhole Vessels
2004 - 2006
MA Design Products, Royal College of Art, London.
1995 - 2000
Bachelor with Major in Industrial Design. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. Graduated with Honours.
Erasmus Exchange Program at Les Ateliers, École Nationale Supérieure de Création Industrielle, Paris.
- Prototypes & Experiments XI. Aram Gallery, London.
- Colección de momentos: Diseño en México 1999-2015. Curated by Cecilia León de la Barra. Museo Universitario del Chopo, Mexico City.
- Local Icons. Urban Landscapes: North-South. Curated by Domitilla Dardi and Giulio Cappellini. MAXXI Museum, Rome.
- Talisman, Contemporay Symbolic Objects. Exhibition presented by In Residence, and curated Barbara Brondi y Marco Raino. Palazzo Clerici, Milan.
- Climactic: Post Normal Design. Curated by Katherine Moline. Miller Gallery, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh.
- Nuevos Territorios. Laboratorios de Diseño, Artesanía y Arte En América Latina. Museo Amparo, Puebla.
- Silla Mexicana: Diseño e identidad. Curated by Ana Elena Mallet. Museo Franz Mayer, Mexico City.
- Slow. Curated by Alice Liechtenstein. Schloss Hollenegg for Design, Graz.
- Being Popular. Side Gallery, Barcelona.
- Open Fires. Great Design Gallery, Paris.
- México Muestra Diseño, Museo Francisco Goitia, Zacatecas.
- Open Fires. Brompton Design District, London.
- Selected'15. Graz Design Month. Graz.
- Presenze. Spazio Ex Verniciature Allestimenti Porta Nuova, Milan.
- Make Yourself Comfortable at Chatsworth. Chatsworth House.
- Talents à la Carte. Maison & Objet, Paris.
- New Territories: Laboratories for Design, Craft and Art in Latin America. Curated by Lowery Stokes Sims. Museum of Art and Design, New York.
- The Soft House. Between Art and Design. Curated by Inventario. Museo Poldi Pezzoli, Milan.
- Five. An exhibition commissioned by AHEC and Clerkenwell Desgin Week. Scin Gallery, London.
- Desiderabilia. An exhibition by In Residence. Ventura Lambrate, Milan.
- De Ida y Vuelta. Centro Nacional de las Artes, Mexico City.
- Anfora Studio Collection 2014. Zona Maco, Mexico City.
- Grandmateria III. Gallery Libby Sellers, London.
- Loose Thread. With Okay Studio & Friends. London Design Festival 2013.
- Hecho en MX. Mujeres en el Diseño. Museo Tamayo, Mexico City.
- Craft & Drawing. Depot Basel, Basel.
- Another Terra . Ventura Interieur / Biennal Interieur 2012, Kortrijk.
- Vera Chapter Two. Brompton Design District. London Design Festival 2012.
- Elément(s), Maison & Object, Paris.
- Craft & Scenography, Depot Basel.
- The Chroma Season, curated by Barbara Brondi and Marco Rainò. Plusdesign Gallery, Milan.
- Another Terra, a project by IN Residence. Lambrate, Milan.
- Destination Mexico. MoMa Store, New York.
- Straordinario. Secondme Gallery + Plusdesign, Rome.
- Methods of Imitation. Brompton Design District. London Design Festival 2011.
- Innovating Tradition. Nodus Collection 2011, Milan.
- Garden AT Home. Lambrate, Milan.
- The Visitor. Okay Studio and Friends. London Design Festival 2010.
- Variability. Brompton Design District. London Design Festival 2010.
- Ten Small Atlases: Ten Processes Behind Ten Objects. Lambrate, Milan.
- Plusdesign 2010 Limited Edition Collection. Plusdesign Gallery, Milan.
- Rethinking tradition: contemporary design from Mexico. Mexican
Embassy, Washington D.C.
- Call out to the Americas: Latin America!, Design Miami.
- Over design over. Rocca Paolina, Perugia. Italy.
- Changing dimensions. Brompton Design District, London Design Festival.
- Plusdesign 2008 Limited Edition Collection. Plusdesign Gallery, Milan.
- Transit Cases: Chairs from Mexico. Curated by Jimena Acosta. Traveling exhibition. Centro CulturalTlatelolco, Mexico City. Mexican Embassy, Berlin.
- Casa Decor UK. Covent Garden, London Design Festival.
- Talent. Paul Smith Space, Tokyo.
- SuperDesignMarket. Curated by Scarlett Projects and the Arts Council,
The Overhang, London.
- Generation. Royal College of Art Graduate Show, London.
- IntimacyCity. Design Mai, Berlin.
- Talent. British Council, Milan.
- Made by Machine. Zeus Gallery, Milan.
- De cambios e intercambios (Import-Export). Museo Franz Mayer-
British Council, Mexico.
“Nelle sue opere di sottile, cerebrale ironia, Liliana Ovalle mostra le pregevoli stimmate dei suoi studi al Royal College of Art di Londra, dove si è diplomata nel 2006. Ricordo di aver visto i suoi sottopentola Small Flame al Salone del Mobile di Milano, per l’evento organizzato dallo stesso college al British Council, e di aver letto la sua spiegazione: «Ispirati alle mie radici messicane, questi oggetti sono basati su continue avversità, vissute e affrontate come opportunità. Il comfort e la funzionalità dialogano così con caratteristiche di segno opposto, come lo sporco, il pericoloso, lo scassato e l’improvvisato».Viene difficile coniugare queste dichiarazioni con il senso di serenità che emanano le sue opere, ma non c’è nulla di più messicano del canalizzare l’angoscia nella bellezza, e giocare a canasta con il dolore e la morte. Il talento di Ovalle è profondo, versatile e a prova di luoghi comuni.”
Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator of Architecture and Design, MOMA, NY
Style Magazine, Il Corriere della Sera. June, 2009. Italy.
“In her work of subtle and clever irony, Liliana Ovalle demonstrates the distinctive seal from her studies at the Royal College of Art in London, where she graduated in 2006. I remember having seen her hot-pot stand Small Flame in the Salone del Mobile di Milano, at the event organized by the British Council, where I read her explanation: ‘Inspired on my mexican background, these objects are based on a continous adversity, which is many times seen as an opportunity. Comfort and functionality dialogue with opposite values, such as the unsafe, the improvised, the broken and filthy’. It might seem difficult to conjugate this approach with the sense of serenity her objects emanate, but there is nothing more mexican than sublimating anguish into beauty, and play face to face with pain and death. Ovalle’s talent is deep, versatile, and goes beyond cliches.”
Translated by Lulú Campos