BROK Festival | Felipe Ribon

BROK Festival was inspired by the Mexican piñata and similar traditions around the world, from the Danish game slå katten af tønden (‘hit the cat out of the barrel’) to the Indian festive tradition Uri adithal. While today the piñata is often made of decorated papier-mâché, traditionally the hollow form would have been ceramic.

The BROK Festival is a series of containers made in clay and embellished with Canvas. The purpose of the game is to break the object and release the small presents hidden within. To do so, participants have their eyes covered with a blindfold and try to hit the object with a wooden stick while it swings in the air. I believe this traditional folk object remains an important contemporary artefact for celebrations today.

Functionally, BROK is no different from the traditional folk objects, however the aesthetic is a complete departure. A cross-shaped ceramic body holding the gifts can be dressed in a combination of shaped and patterned textile ‘garments’, creating a family of possible decorative forms. Using Canvas as an ornamental covering, one can create a new set of shapes and figures for the game.

Felipe Ribon (Colombia, 1981) studied engineering at the École des Mines in Nantes, before attending the École nationale supérieure de creation industrielle (ENSCI – Les Ateliers) in Paris, from which he graduated in 2008.

In devising new areas for design, Felipe Ribon side- steps the boundaries set up by Cartesian rationalism, while still remaining faithful to the demands of his discipline. His rejection of conceptual restrictions, his questioning of preconceived ideas, and his suspicion of the obvious are key factors in the approach of this young Franco-Colombian artist-designer, nourished by a multiculturalism which forces him to readily adopt surprising and unusual viewpoints. He embraces working in new areas and enjoys breaking rules.

Together with the goldsmith Nicolas Marischaël, Felipe Ribon won the 2015 Prix de Liliane Bettencourt pour l’Intelligence de la Main for their work Osmos.