The Atitlán Project is a collaboration between West Elm, design firm Roar + Rabbit, and West Elm LOCAL maker Diego Olivero.
Centered around the locale of Santa Catarina Palopó, near Lake Atitlán, the project began as an initiative to paint the houses of this impoverished town in colors and designs inspired by icons and themes central to Mayan tradition, including butterflies, waves, volcanoes, corn, flowers, and the Quetzal Bird.
Building on that, West Elm spearheaded the creation of a collection of chairs and ottomans, outfitted in custom-made textiles that evoke Huipil—a common traditional garment worn by indigenous women in the region.
The resultant pieces are creative and compelling—with pronounced textural appeal, vibrant pops of color, and intricate designs that feel very contemporary in spite of their traditional origins.
West Elm will auction some of the original pieces at Paddle8.com beginning this week. Proceeds from the auction, as well as a percentage of proceeds from the retail versions of the pieces, will benefit Santa Catarina Palopó and the Atitlán painting project.