Sargadelos, Time, and Space

Sargadelos, espacio y tiempo was originally published on the blog by Javier Cañada on 26 August 2014.

Sargadelos ceramics, that white and blue Galician china that everyone has seen once, has something that makes it unique if you are interested in the historic dance between ideology, industry, and beauty.

The history of Sargadelos is long and tumultuous: two centuries of opening and closing the factory. Prosperous periods followed by unsuccessful periods, different management and production methods and a continuous interest in technological innovation. However, looking past all the changes of ownership, management, and design, there is something, a historical trend, truly interesting.

In the 1950s, the ceramist Isaac Díaz Pardo opened a factory in Sada, Galicia. Shortly after he traveled to Argentina and came into contact with several exiled Spanish intellectuals, among them Luis Seoane. Together they resolved to recover ancient forms Galician iconography but to make them in the zeitgeist of the moment, very similar to Bauhaus concepts.

  • The fusion of art with industry.
  • The spread of art beyond the wealthy classes.
  • The dignity of work with circular factories where the workers do not perform only one job but rotate and participate in the entire process.

This was named the Laboratorio de FormasLaboratory of Methods—that, after an initial period in Buenos Aires, became the current Sargadelos in Galicia. It was, perhaps, the only Bauhaus experience in Spain. This is noteworthy but very few people are aware of it.

But I still have not said what, for me, is the most interesting . . .

The Laboratory of Methods shifted a product based in temporal and local beauty to a universal beauty, significant to any culture at any time in history. And they have done it maintaining the identifying elements. I believe this comparison illustrates it well:


In order to understand what makes things beautiful, we have to look at two factors:

  • Its place, where it is geographically and culturally.
  • Its time: the historical moment in which they are considered beautiful.

These two factors, time and space of beauty, combine in peculiar forms. Something can be:

Beautiful here and now
It is the appeal of local style, trends of a group, neighborhood or city.

Beautiful here and forever
Traditional aesthetics, regional music and dances, the local colors of each place.

Beautiful everywhere and now
Global references, pop culture spread throughout the world through television or the Internet.

Beautiful everywhere and forever
What is always liked, anywhere. The geometry, simplicity, symmetry, repeated rhythms . . .

     The last point is about things that do not age and that please people from very different backgrounds and cultures. This is universal beauty that permeates the entirety of time and space. And that is the formal achievement of the latest Sargadelos: moving its product from the beauty of here and now to universal and timeless beauty, understood by any culture at any time.



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