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Five Argentine Design Firms Join Up to 'Export Together'

Five Argentine design studios are using 'collaborative association,' a format that eliminates competition among members, in order to export products and promote the 'Argentine brand,' Clarín reports.

The art of observation.
The art of observation.

BUENOS AIRES — An ambitious plan for an innovative idea. Five Argentinian design firms have agreed to boost each other and export their products without competing among themselves. The idea began months ago with the Associative Exporter Management program (Gerenciamiento exportador asociativo), wherein the country's export promotions agency, like a reality show, gave the new partners 26 months to progress toward set objectives.

On July 2, the partners presented their associative firm, SUR Design, at one of the day-long events organized by MICA, the Ministry of Culture"s Argentine Creative Industries Market. Sur Design aims to transcend national frontiers and place local designs on the international market.

The designers agree there is renewed interest in local crafts, identity and materials. Their products include pure wool carpets that enshrine the traditional skills of weavers from 12 provinces (Elementos Argentinos), handwoven cotton blankets (Cosa Bonita), wooden and fabric lamps (Objetos Luminosos), ceramic tableware with geometric designs (MeMo) and personalized accessories (Designo Patagonia).

Banquet — Designo Partagonia

The items chosen for exportation meet a triple-impact set of social, economic and environmental criteria. "We've solved the most complex part," says Manuel Rapoport of Designo Patagonia, namely that "we understand each other, there is a positive energy flow and empathy among ourselves." "The first challenge was to set up internal rules," say Fernando Bach and Pablo Mendivil of Elementos Argentinos, including the functions of each participant, actions to be taken and who was to do what. The rules also define the group's profile. "We do design that speaks about us," says Carola Moris, who runs MeMo with Patricia Mezzadra. They had to think before joining SUR, she says, as "we found it difficult to decide how to add the Argentine DNA to our products. But interacting with the group opened our head."

We understand each other, there is a positive energy flow and empathy among ourselves.

The firms had to find a coordinator to set deadlines and handle marketing, promotions and meetings with design outlets, like the giant Tok&Stok, the Brazilian version of Ikea. "We have planned four trading excursions to Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay and Peru. In October we are presenting our products at the High Point Market, a design and furniture fair held in North Carolina," says Gonzalo Sallaberry, the coordinator. The collaborative format is new in Argentina, though already tried and working well in Brazil with the Raíz Collective, which has brought together 35 firms. With support from the government and from the private sector, Raíz Collective has been touring the world since 2012 and is now a reference in the international design market.

The working format is based on association without competition. "We take care of everything: the design process, following up with suppliers, promotion material, sales and positioning," says Magdalena Boggiano of Objetos Luminosos. The partners work as a network, aim to project the Argentine identity abroad and forge common strategies. All very much in tune with the new practices inspiring innovative businesses today.

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The Problem With Always Blaming Climate Change For Natural Disasters

Climate change is real, but a closer look at the science shows there are many factors that contribute to weather-related disasters. It is important to raise awareness about the long-term impact of global warming, but there's a risk in overstating its role in the latest floods or fires.

People on foot, on bikes, motorcycles, scooters and cars navigate through a flooded street during the day time.

Karachi - People wade through flood water after heavy rain in a southern Pakistani city

Xinhua / ZUMA
Axel Bojanowski


BERLIN — In September, thousands of people lost their lives when dams collapsed during flooding in Libya. Engineers had warned that the dams were structurally unsound.

Two years ago, dozens died in floods in western Germany, a region that had experienced a number of similar floods in earlier centuries, where thousands of houses had been built on the natural floodplain.

Last year saw more than 1,000 people lose their lives during monsoon floods in Pakistan. Studies showed that the impact of flooding in the region was exacerbated by the proximity of human settlements, the outdated river management system, high poverty rates and political instability in Pakistan.

There are many factors that contribute to weather-related disasters, but one dominates the headlines: climate change. That is because of so-called attribution studies, which are published very quickly after these disasters to highlight how human-caused climate change contributes to extreme weather events. After the flooding in Libya, German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung described climate change as a “serial offender," while the Tageszeitung wrote that “the climate crisis has exacerbated the extreme rainfall."

The World Weather Attribution initiative (WWA) has once again achieved its aim of using “real-time analysis” to draw attention to the issue: on its website, the institute says its goal is to “analyse and communicate the possible influence of climate change on extreme weather events." Frederike Otto, who works on attribution studies for the WWA, says these reports help to underscore the urgent need for climate action. They transform climate change from an “abstract threat into a concrete one."

In the immediate aftermath of a weather-related disaster, teams of researchers rush to put together attribution studies – “so that they are ready within the same news cycle," as the New York Times reported. However, these attribution studies do not meet normal scientific standards, as they are published without going through the peer-review process that would be undertaken before publication in a specialist scientific journal. And that creates problems.

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