Folies: establishing a legacy
Legacy, durability, boldness, and innovation: a conversation with Eugenia Robledo and Jimena Londoño, founders of interior design lab Folies, affirms the importance of these four elements in the duo’s now booming business.
With this solid set of values, Bogota-based Folies was created three years ago thanks to an affinity between newly-graduated industrial designer Eugenia and long-time architect Jimena. The two began working together to restore objects found in antique shops, but soon realized their business might have greater potential.
Why stop at just restoring old furniture? Instead, the two began to create replicas of their favorite antiques, polishing and remastering each piece into a comfortable, functional, and highly aesthetic object meant to transcend trends as well as time.
With a distinctly retro look combined with bold colors and patterns, plus forward-thinking design details, Folies established a never-before-seen category within the Colombian design industry – one that greatly deviates from the current, largely conservative design offerings seen in Bogotá.
“We realized that if we began to tell people that they can have a yellow and blue minibar in the midst of their conventionally-designed home, that they would be more likely to change their mind about it,” says Jimena, “And this has worked very well; there is a great deal of shock value when people see a chair that comes in three bold colors.”
“I think that today, that is the Folies trademark: a boldness of color and form,” adds Eugenia, “people always tell us to create objects that are easier to sell, that come in more muted tones. But we want to leave a legacy.”
And for Folies, creating a legacy means finding and falling in love with pieces that inspire happiness, tell a story, and transcend current trends, spaces, stereotypes, and time. It means creating objects that future generations can feel proud to inherit.
Folies meets fashion
Folies took a giant leap into the fashion world when it started working with Colombian fashion giant Olga Piedrahita, a brand that incorporates hand-drawn illustrations by local artists into their fabrics. Soon, a collaboration was born in which Piedrahita’s patterns were printed by fabric purveyor Lafayette, to be used in Folies’ signature Olivia chair from their Fifties collection.
The result is a fearless play of color, patterns, and textures imposed onto an unlikely format. Additional collaborations are underway with fashion labels Kika Vargas and Carlo Carrizosa. The pair hopes that one day these pieces can become collectors’ items, exhibited in gallery spaces: a fusion of Folies and the biggest names in fashion.
WeWork + Folies
For WeWork, the world’s fastest-growing provider of shared workspaces and a company that made its debut in Colombia just last year, design plays a fundamental role within the business model. In Latin America, WeWork’s design directors have made a concerted effort to show local talent as opposed to importing products. Coming as no surprise, WeWork discovered Folies and has never looked back. Their most recent building features a whopping 20% of production by Folies.
With three ongoing collections, including Fifties, Marzzo, and the most recent, Loos, the duo’s next goal is to reach foreign shores, internationalizing their brand and creating more design objects to complement their unique furniture pieces.
“There is no limit,” says a proud Jimena, “The limit is that here [in Colombia], we work with what we have, and what we have here is extraordinary.” folies.co