Design Cynthia Sargent’s carpets

Cynthia Sargent’s carpets

Anna Frattini

Crafting Modernity at the MoMA is the exhibition – open until September 22nd – which talks about Latin American designers and how the creatives involved have managed to change the way we perceive design today. Among these is Cynthia Sargent, the textile designer we want to talk about today. We’ve already talked about rugs and their comeback here. Sargent’s story thus traces a piece of textile design history, reminding us of the importance of this practice, often underestimated.

cynthia sargent moma

Cynthia Sargent’s Arrival in Mexico

When Cynthia Sargent moved to Mexico in 1950 with her husband, Wendell Riggs, she had already met Robert Motherwell, Meyer Schapiro, and Joseph Albers. All influential figures at the time who shaped Sargent’s education. Together with her husband, she opens the Riggs-Sargent studio, a project that sees them successfully dedicated to the production of printed and hand-woven fabrics.

cynthia sargent moma

In the early 1960s, carpets were Sargent’s preferred medium. From design to supervising the manufacturing process of the product. The works of the designer – whom we can also call an artist – thus become true paintings on wool, «…which you hang on the floor», as read in the newspapers of the time. Cynthia Sargent and her husband’s model looked at building the community – predominantly artistic – they managed to create around them. So much so that they founded the Bazaar Sábado and organizations like Club Pro Arte or the Centro de Diseño capable of promoting the work of artists and designers close to them. For Sargent, textile design was nothing more than a pictorial exercise aimed at putting into practice her strong point: the juxtaposition of shapes and colors. Testifying to this propensity are the Musical Line, large carpets inspired by famous composers such as Mozart, Scarlatti, Poulenc, Villa-Lobos, and others.

Cynthia Sargent, Scarlatti rug, 1983
Written by Anna Frattini
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