“Papurniture” is art first, functional furniture second. Composed of 100% recycled paper and opting for No-VOC paint over the use of toxic resins or finishes, Dino Almaguer handcrafts work that is both playful and environmentally-friendly: “It’s a perfect blend of my love for design and the environment.” Papurniture is a 3-D sketch put together in ways that are visually pleasing. Having developed the concept while attending the Rhode Island School of Design, Dino asserts “a sketch is as fresh as an idea can be, in its most organic form.”
But it’s not just form over function. He aspires for his work to be “interactive art where people can touch it and not have their hands behind their back. People have been afraid to sit on it because it is made of paper, and I reassure them that my Grandpa has sat on this, and he’s big.” Although upon initial sight, audiences may think his work is made of plastic or bended wood, Dino attests that ten people have once stood on a bench made of paper in his studio (at the same time).
Dino Almaguer has been a Washingtonian since the age of 11 where he attended open drawing sessions at an old mechanic shop off of New York Avenue close to Marrakesh and a fine arts program in a Suitland, MD high school. Then at RISD, his shop class was accustomed and classic. He grew tired of plane a piece of wood to perfection, laminate, steam, bend- where the work would transform from a sketch, to building design, then models and prototypes: “the freshness was lost in this reproduction process, human nature is to fiddle with things until they are reworked too many times.” Dino wanted to pull his final product straight from a sketch: “very sketchy, but not in a bad way.” He moves pieces primed white around until the final piece is in place as his sketching methodology: “it’s like opening up a jigsaw puzzle and putting it together”.
His talent and love of art came at a very young age. In second grade, he won an award for a sketch he did called “clownsies” which peaked his interest, then in a hospital stay battling leukemia twice at the ages of 9 and 11, he illustrated and published a book called Don’t be Afraid of the Hospital, which was sent out to other children’s hospitals all around the country. “Because of this experience with leukemia, nothing gets me upset, and I love making playful, bubbly art.”
His work is in private collections in Philadelphia, Baltimore, Rhode Island, and Virginia . Studio H will display Almaguer’s work at the first ever Art House Open House at 610 Independence Avenue, SE on July 15, 2010 from 5:30pm to 8:00pm.