CARA (Center for Art, Research and Alliances)
Manuela Moscoso joined CARA in 2021 as its inaugural Executive Director and Chief Curator, she invited Studio Manuel Raeder & Rodolfo Samperio to develop the lobby and bookstore space for CARA.
CARA is an arts nonprofit, research center, and publisher that aims to expand public discourses and historical records to reflect art’s abundant pasts, presents, and futures. Through initiatives including publishing, exhibitions, public programs, and fellowships, we seek to challenge dominant narratives and amplify the breadth of arts and culture.
CARA is a space for un-learning, kinship, and care: we attend closely to artistic, emotional, and embodied processes and the people who enact them, and we consider this work a vital part of cultural production, historical research, and institution building.
CARA’s bookstore joins a rich lineage of independent booksellers in the West Village and reflects CARA’s own publication program, our continued research and ongoing curatorial conversations. In addition to being a point of distribution for our own books, the bookstore is a new channel of distribution for other independent publishers around the globe which inform and inspire us. The bookstore carries artists’ books, photo books, artists’ writings, zines, children’s books, poetry, theory, and printed matter defying categories, reflecting a wide range of publishing practice.
The bookstore is an ongoing public program, site for conviviality and exploration, and programming venue and site for curated public programs. In parity with CARA’s curatorial program, the bookstore hosts live events and smaller gatherings, testing and nurturing the formation of alternative, community-focused learning models. Occasional shows of time-based works including film, sound, and music nested within the space will complement our exhibitions and public programs, whilst providing space for reading, writing, and intimate encounters with works within the context of our selected publications.
The project for CARA’s lobby/bookstore follows a simple, if tender, idea: room for everybody. Aligned with CARA’s vision, there is also room for fun and lightness. Chairs and tables in different sizes play with scale, challenging the standard furniture parameters. These nesting furniture, mixed with velvety geometric cushions, appeal to each while allowing flexible and playful uses of the space. The simple shapes and materials resemble the clean architecture while the color palette, derived from the dynamic logo, opens the door to other dialogues, a conceptual foyer of sorts for the voices to be housed by CARA.
The project was carried out by Studio Manuel Raeder (Germany) and Rodolfo Samperio (Mexico), long-time collaborators sometimes working under the name Probject, concept borrowed from the Brazilian designer, artist and composer Rogério Duarte. They create exhibition design, mixed use spaces, signage and related objects under a perspective of playfulness and dialogue rather than invisibility. They move in an area where design intersects with contemporary art, becoming means for reflection not void of political dimensions.
Studio Manuel Raeder is an interdisciplinary design studio based in Berlin since 2003. Its activities include a wide range of formats, exploring the boundaries between exhibitions, ephemera, books, type design and editing to publishing, furniture design as well as textile design.
Samperio is a designer and musician concerned with art- and design-related disciplines as relevant tools for empowerment and strong social/environmental change.