There’s a cute and cozy office at the back of a store, where nice people make nice things. That happens a lot in Buenos Aires. Everywhere, we discover people making incredibly nice and wearable stuff for us, lucky visitors who step by every now and then.
One of those places is Mono, whose creator is graphic designer Mercedes Hernáez. She greets me with some tasteful tea and a beautiful landscape through her organized windows. I lose myself in the colors and combinations of Mono notebooks. Those are precious objects that we want to collect, all of them. Together, they create a unique and organic view.
What is Mono?
Mono is a little place that reunites many things: a studio, design applied to a product we fell in love with, a Buenos Aires map factory and a yet undiscovered place where we work in.
When was Mono born?
We started ten years ago with the city maps. As for the notebooks, I’ve always loved them. I used to travel a lot so I bought many of those, which I didn’t use for fear I wouldn’t get them anywhere else. So I decided to create them myself so that people would use them, write on them and wrap the pages. When I found an old wallpaper factory, I got it all together and created these little collections. I was also lucky to find an old-fashioned bookbinder that made exactly what I wanted.
Who buys the notebooks?
Well, our public is especially young people that write, draw or cook, sensitive people. People that I like, basically.
It seems to me we’re experiencing a moment where the revaluation of vintage is having a twist, and Mono is part of that.
Yes, to me this is a sort of patriotic mix between industry, design and a final product. This is not a craftsman. I like to build production networks and add people to the process.
It’s interesting how we build a whole relationship with the notebooks we use, don’t you think?
Yes, they are great traveling partners. I write every thought, places I like, everything.
You told me before you have traveled a lot. Where did you go?
Well, my two great loves are Jujuy (in the north of Argentina) and Japan. In Japan, beauty is spiritual, not superficial. It comes from the relationship with nature and how it gets through you as a human being. It’s very moving. Jujuy has some of that too: textiles, women, how they live and get organized, their art applied to everyday life.
Mercedes then tells me she assists to embroidery workshops with artist Guillermina Baiguera. It’s all about “women reunions. We all are illustrators, designers and working women. Before, embroidering was confined to housewives but now it is being revalued”, she comments. “It’s all about the feminine world expressed through a different contemporary language”.
We go on talking about the confluence of technological and manual activities and how the last ones bring us down to earth. “Our goal is to live the beautiful life, working”, Mercedes says.
I keep thinking about that sentence during the whole day. And I wish some of her peaceful creativeness for my everyday life. Let’s go for it, then.
Address: Godoy Cruz 1776 (at the back), Palermo Soho, Buenos Aires
Opening Hours: 11:00-19:00 (Saturday 12:00-16:00)
Closed on Sunday
Tel: +54 11 4833 2544