Heracleum Light, by Moooi

“A molecule is the smallest unit in a compound, which also contains the whole.”

Throughout her creative life, Adriana Siso has defied the conventional boundaries that distinguish fine art, design and architecture. Instead, she has set upon a course of exploration that traverses many landscapes, including fashion design, highly refined minimalist painting, sculpture and, most recently, architecture and environment. Her creative inclinations seem not to recognize categories. Categories are something that is determined when looking back; Siso is interested in the exploration of what has yet to be categorized. She is an artist and a designer, but, most prominently, she is an innovator.

Born in Caracas, Venezuela, Siso left home at 18 to study studio art with Pilly Taboada in Valencia, Venezuela. Later, back in Caracas, she entered the locally well-known CEGRA (Centro de Ensenanza Grafica) program to study graphic arts and drawing with Alirio Palacios and art theory with the renowned Latin American critic, curator and cultural commentator Maria Elena Ramos. In the late 70’s, she owned and operated a fashion design store in Valencia, Venezuela. The store offered brazilian and italian beachwear as well as in-store designed lines. In 1981, she moved to the United States where she received a BFA degree in sculpture from Florida International University. She lived and worked in Miami for 9 years.

1989 saw a move to the west. Siso arrived in Santa Fe with her daughter. New Mexico offered the expansiveness of open space and new possibilities. She continued her studies in art with Lynda Benglis at the Santa Fe Art Institute. In the mid-nineties Adriana became involved in an innovative collaboration with a local Santa Fe artist to set up artists’ studios and exhibition spaces in an old warehouse building. She also owned and operated a ceramic studio in the outskirts of Santa Fe as part of another artist collaborative production project and space, and worked in faux painting for residential and commercial projects in USA and Venezuela, including theatrical production at the Santa Fe Opera.

The Molecule Design Space

Siso’s most impressive accomplishment to date, the design and construction of her Molecule Design Center complex, is a continuation of her interest in the relationship between spatial construction and social purpose.

She is interested in the relationship between what people are doing and the structures in which they work. Molecule became her most personal and most adventurous endeavor. Formed by 11 100 % recycled cargo containers, the structure is unique in Santa Fe. An evident industrial quality maintains an understated freshness. Drawing also from her interest in the Zen aesthetic concerned with the relationship between the sense of place and nature, which she articulated conceptually in her use of repurposed containers, simplicity of design, and the creation of intimate spatial enclosures. Molecule’s design elegantly expresses the Japanese aesthetic of “simple but never spare.” Siso currently houses her design store, Molecule Design, in the building.

C. I., Santa Fe, NM 2014

The Store 

Adriana Siso launched the Molecule Design Store in September 2010, in the new and innovative Baca Railyard District. Molecule is the extension of the initial furniture design store she founded in 2003 at The Lofts also in Santa Fe, NM. She brings her talents and uncompromising curiosity found in practical and original products to the world of home furnishings and space design.

Her transition from fine arts to design was a natural one. Her loft in Santa Fe witnessed the first functional piece.  Adriana remembers the excitement it produced, the unpacked award-wining chair placed in the empty space. A functional icon had been revealed, with the potent quality that an art object can produce. As she sat, she experienced the injection-mold black plastic shell cradle her body perfectly and comfortably, the proportions were just right.  Her journey to encounter inspiring product design ideas had begun.

“WhaMolecule Design Storet is interesting about product design is the process that taps into the idea-fuze that pushes the designer to reinvent our environment and the objects we use on a daily basis. Everything we use is a manufactured product idea. A tool of some kind that makes our life easier, better, or simply more beautiful. We are surrounded by product ideas that define us. We can pick and choose what to keep or discard in connection to our identity, life style and values, but we won’t be exempt from using them. A great reference on industrial design is the Gary Hustwit documentary Objectified.

What Makes Molecule Special

“I am blessed to be able to participate as a partner in the endeavors of some amazing American and European industrial designers. Through my store I have explored and discovered new, functionally expressive, creative contemporary design objects. To be in the presence of a well conceived product that can be used every day is a powerful experience. For a young designer to consider selecting an idea to become a prototype that then finds its way to manufacturing and the world at large, is an arduous and challenging process, but at the end, deeply satisfying as the object becomes iconic and can stand the test of time”.

Molecule’s founder, Adriana Siso is motivated by new ideas for living. How we use our spaces, and the objects in them. The store is located in Santa Fe, NM. Molecule annually organizes multiple product introductions, promos, and art and design events. Molecule also shows the work of local contemporary product designers, and aligns with makers that are thinking new product ideas, with new materials and strong esthetics. Molecule also shares the work of local artists in the series Art meets Design, with the goal of showcasing the work of some of the amazingly talented creators living in New Mexico.

“Times have changed and we inhabit smaller spaces that have to be more functional and responsible”.

Adriana is interested in these relationships and in product design that includes sustainability. She doesn’t claim to offer all green lines, but carries some innovative product lines that use 100% recycled plastics, harvested woods, green foams, and recycled cottons.

“Help us continue the journey. Your appreciation for what we do at Molecule keeps our spirit alive and the lights on.  As our name suggests, Molecule is only one unit of the vast whole. We cherish the moments we can connect with you in excitement around a good product idea, be it a chair, a glass, a fork or a bowl, an interesting material or a shape reflected in a beautiful object that brings you pleasure and joy, every day”. 

Molecule is on Flagman Way, across from Counter Culture Cafe in the Baca Railyard District, which is the southern portion of the Santa Fe Railyard.

On a grander scale, Molecule explores general design themes including industrial design, architecture, sustainable design, smart materials, design fairs, business and technology through InContext – Molecule’s Design Blog.