Art, Interviews | Argentina | 14.02.24

An Interview With Martín Bustamente | Facon

With a creative spirit and deep curiosity for the Argentine trail,

Martín Bustamente is the man behind Facón—a unique collection of artisanal effects gathered from every corner of his homeland.

Martín’s background as an Art Director and experience living in New York and London allows him to bring a unique perspective to his work. Facón is more than a store. It represents the essence of experiences, travel, breathtaking landscapes, and anecdotes.

We spoke with Martín to learn more about his creative journey and delve into the captivating world of Facón’s meticulously curated collection.

What is Facón, and what sort of artisanal craft do you specialise in?

Facón is a boutique shop in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where everything is made by local artists, artisans, and independent industrial designers. I travel across Argentina to remote communities to find new talents and also to share part of our vast and beautiful landscape and the stories behind each craft.

What are some of your favourite artisanal areas in Argentina and why do you love them?

This is always a difficult question, each region has its own personality. Patagonia has its solitude, adventurous history, misiones, Corrientes, the Guarani people, yerba mate, music, and vegetation. But the place that captures my attention each time I go is Northern Argentina, Salta, and Jujuy. It’s like a time machine to two hundred years ago, everything is the same. It’s the real Andean people, their food, landscapes, architecture, traditions, music—everything feels very real and honest. Meat or humita empanadas with a bottle of Torrontes, that’s it, that’s life.

 

How do you select the artisans you work with? What qualities do you look for?

Each artisan comes to us in different ways, sometimes I meet them during my trips, and others are sent to me through a recommendation. I think that their work finds us. I try to look for originality, and for each product to have a history, a story to tell, that’s important to me. You need to take the craft out of context. In Northern Argentina, for example, everything is this sandy, dark brown colour. Then you take it to a modern house, and I love the contrast. Some crafts are difficult to love at first sight, but you have to imagine them in the place they’re going to be, be it a store, a house, or a restaurant. I love to generate that contrast because I’m an interior designer at heart.

You recently moved to Mendoza. What is it about the region that you love so much?
The weather! Crispy sunny days. As well as The Andes as a regular view and how you can get into nature really fast. You take your truck, motorcycle, or bike, or even go trekking in the mountains, and you can go by yourself and feel adventure running through your veins. I love nature, I think it is very important to get in touch with it regularly, whenever we can. It’s important for our well-being, our human sense of survival, and evolution.

What’s your favourite Argentine expression?

It’s not an expression or a saying, but the physical contact we value all over South America and how we relate with strangers. The way we express openheartedness to the world is something I love.

 

In terms of artisanal craft, what does Argentina do better than anyone else?

In my opinion, I think no one has a “better” thing to compare. That’s why I think it’s very important to tell the story behind each piece. In Argentina, we work very well with textiles, like rugs, color management, and leather. Maybe you think a Middle Eastern rug is “better” than the ones in Argentina, but if I tell you the story behind them and how they are made here, you would fall in love instantly. Artisans have their own sheep, they take care of them, then, when sheared, they use natural dyes like tree bark, charcoal, and flowers. The artisans usually have very rustic looms and lots of patience to work with! In a world where everyone has the same phone, car, apps, people value things done by hand.

A friend is visiting Mendoza for a weekend. Where do they stay and which wineries, restaurants, and shops can’t they miss?

I keep a list with all this information! Here are some recommendations:

To Eat: Fogon, Cavas Wine Lodge, La Azul, Lorange, La Central, Picnic In Gardenia, 1884 Francis Mallman

Activities: Horseriding, Termas De Cacheuta, Visit Potrerillos, Music Las Palapas, Entre Cielos Spa, Airplane Sightseeing

If you have time, there is a short trip to Barreal in San Juan, where you can find one of the most beautiful towns in Argentina, with real adobe houses, some winemakers, and a great observatory!

Which province do your favourite Argentine textiles come from?

Santiago Del Estero and Salta and Jujuy are, for me, the most important ones in Argentina.

Can you share your dream Argentina road trip?

I’ve driven all over Argentina, and I love it. Patagonia for driving is amazing. On one side, you have Route 3, which goes along the Atlantic Coast and is an incredible way to feel the immensity of the world and feel tiny in comparison. The landscape really gets into you: harsh weather, incredibly powerful wind, and solitude everywhere.

On the other side, a more romantic landscape, the famous Route 40. Getting started in South Argentina, Ushuaia, and going north in a 4 by 4 during spring. Fly fishing, camps, mountains, lakes, forests, and getting lost—my dream.

How do you see Facón evolving in the future?
Just talking to you in English is part of the evolution of Facón. Taking our culture, our landscapes, our history, and our food to the world. Besides Facón, I work as an art director and product designer, so each time I can design and create new products for the store is a real pleasure for me. I see how this area is getting more attention from our clients. Having our product brand, helping artisans, and creating this unique merge or bond between modernity and design with handmade crafts. Showing our talent to the world and getting inside houses in Spain, Japan, the US, or Morocco, is where I want us to go. Because when you buy a product from Facón, you are taking home part of our history and culture, but, most importantly, the precious time of the artisan.

To read more about Facón and Martín’s dream to bring Argentina to the world, click here.

 

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