Fauna: design for a good cause

Photos by  Yohan Lopez  and  José Bermúdez .

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Latin America is a biodiversity powerhouse. The region contains over thirty percent of the world’s species and three of the top five countries (Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico) with the most bird, amphibian, mammal, reptile, fish, and plant life. But a recent report found that since European colonization of the Americas, the hemisphere has lost 30 percent of its species and an additional 23 to 24 percent is at risk of extinction. In the face of these threats, it is important that the design industry promote sustainable projects that take action on these issues.

In response, Mexican designer José Bermúdez and Juan Carlos Franco of Colombian studio Vrokka created Fauna, an artisanal collection that aims to spread awareness about the current risks to Latin America’s biodiversity. Inspired by three endangered species from Mexico, Colombia, Brazil and other parts of Latin America, Fauna is a tribute to the world’s extinct and endangered animals.

The studios were inspired by the unique characteristics of three species: the Oso de Anteojos or “spectactled bear”, the Guacamayo Azul or “blue macaw” and the Ajolote or “Mexican walking fish,” resulting in pieces that educate the public and spread awareness about these animals’ delicate and precarious situations.

To create Fauna, the designers used low-tech machinery and handcrafted processes, transforming materials like oak or walnut into unique and exceptionally-crafted pieces that go beyond the typical function of filling a space by also serving a righteous cause.

Currently, the Fauna collection is only available in Colombia, where each piece is manufactured. Part of the proceeds will be donated to NGOs in Mexico, Colombia and Brazil for the conservation of the species. To purchase Fauna, write to hola@vrokka.com.

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Oso de Anteojos

Located in Colombia and parts of the Andes

The “spectacled bear,” also known as the Andean bear, is the last remaining short-faced bear. In 2004, it was considered endangered with just 18,250 bears left in the wild, a number that has been decreasing over the years. Its role in the ecosystem is of great importance, as it is facilitates the mobility of other animals by opening paths through bushes.

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Guacamayo Azul

Located in Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay

The “blue parrot” is a bird with beautiful, blue plumage and a large beak that is used to eat the kernels of hard nuts and seeds. The hunting and illegal trade of this species resulted in the declaration of the blue parrot as extinct in 2018. However, in 2019 a baby parrot was born in Paraguay, key to the species’ survival.

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Ajolote

Located in Mexico

Colloquially known as the "Mexican walking fish,” the Ajolote is an amphibian that has the ability to regenerate its limbs and part of its vital organs. Due to urbanization in Mexico City and consequent water pollution, it is believed that by 2022 this species will become extinct.

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