Venezuelan architect Vanessa Catalano (Caracas 1987), based in the Netherlands since 2012. After my studies back home, I came to Amsterdam where I graduated MA in a program called Design Cultures. Since then I've been living and loving the Netherlands.
My practice is split into two just like my education. I'm a maker by nature. Hands-on experiences, closeness to materials and tangible results are what moves. My passion for these experiences is so powerful that has turned me into a researcher, communicator and educator. I have to step from making to understanding, and then go back.
Today my maker's practice is highly focused on up cycling. I believe this is a clear reaction to our current environment in which linear models of production are in huge tension with the amount of waste that can be found around. This approach can be seen in the ongoing project UP MAKERS.
I'm proudly influenced by the school I've had when collaborating in Amsterdam with Elmo Vermijs and certainly from my time in Caracas working at Lab.Pro.Fab..
When I 5 years old I claimed I wanted to be an art teacher. When I was 12 I wanted to become an architect. Today I hold two academic diplomas. One says Architect and the other Master of Arts. These affirmations show how, from very early age, I needed to create and to engage others in creative processes. I believe that any creation starts with slow observation followed by some moments of play.
But how can we engage others with observation? Since 2013 I have been involved in different events, sessions and seminars as a moderator, speaker and facilitator. I've led walking tours in different cities, museums and online. The use of open questions has becomes key to involve others. Slow-looking, Visual Thinking and open questions are the tools I have found to be the strongest to achieve interaction. These strategies are key when involving diverse audiences at any stage of a design process.
Some of my collaborations have been with:
Hogeschool InHolland; Hogeschool van Amsterdam; Context Travel; PechaKucha Amsterdam; Pop-Up City; Reinvent Tourism Festival; Roef Festival; Journey Up; Placemaking Week Amsterdam; Guiarte Tours; 360 Amsterdam; The Culture Games