In 2007, with foreign investment from the United States, El Salvador launched Contempo, its first national furniture exhibition and design competition.
Its purpose was to promote Salvadoran designers at a global level, with the intent of providing both exposure and business opportunities for local designers, products and producers.
Product designers from El Salvador have since participated in the annual Contempo program, which is sponsored by Salvadoran business leaders and the American furniture company Bernhardt Design. Past winners of the competition have advanced to the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF), an annual design exhibition held in New York. With the ICFF as their platform, several designers have gained international exposure, including features in Dwell, The New York Times, Wallpaper and in other media.
However, after several years, it became apparent that more needed to be done to help El Salvador’s nascent design industry prosper, by creating self- sustaining opportunities for local designers and producers
AN IDEA FROM WITHIN
In 2012, a group of Salvadoran and Latin American architectural practices came together with graphic, furniture, textile, and interior designers to form a solution. The problems identified were: (a) the lack of both local and international business opportunities to support El Salvador’s growing design community; and (b) the need for a physical space to exhibit designer’s work and maintain the creative momentum generated by Contempo.
The idea was simple: to succeed in the global market it was essential that we join forces and work together. By sharing ideas and pooling resources, we could create the critical mass needed for El Salvador to compete in the international market and establish a stronger local design and production community.
Also, the creation of a physical presence or ‘home for design’ was crucial to fostering creativity as the ‘face of design’ in El Salvador.
Thus, The Carrot Concept was born