Biomanufacturing and craftsmanship in fashion by artist, fashion designer and architect Raquel Buj exhibited in ILE Institución Libre de Enseñanza during Madrid Design Festival 2023

Founder and director of BUJ studio, an experimental design fashion lab, Raquel Buj is an artist, fashion designer and architect. We discovered her on the occasion of Madrid Design Festival 2023 in ILE Institución Libre de Enseñanza.

She designs body envelopes, and second skins that are made with materials brought and reformulated from very diverse fields mixed with digital manufacturing and biomaterials.

Raquel Buj conceives her studio as a laboratory in which to experiment with new materials, combining craftsmanship and technology in the development of her pieces. Raquel comes to fashion through architecture, interested in reducing the distance that separated her ideas from her own body, in search of a scale that would allow her to manage each part of the process.

She conceives design as body architecture, she does not speak of garments but of “envelopes” whose materials are an extension of us, entities with which we relate and with whom we must feel empathy because they are “the most immediate way of expressing ourselves“. Clothes are ahead of language, they are faster and more direct.

Therefore, she tries to end the idea of fashion as something superficial. Her creations respond to a zoomorphic or post-human aesthetic and her research into technology and new materials allow her to produce in an increasingly sustainable way.

Her line of work moves towards research with new materials from biomanufacturing and recycling, from the combination of craftsmanship and technology in order to create new materials that are more sensitive to the environment that surrounds us. Working meticulously on what is neither seen nor wanted, mixing it with other materials and technologies, it is possible to give value to what is there but we cannot see it and transform it into something beautiful. A practice that, ultimately, allows us to generate a new material culture that takes charge of the fragility of the environment in which we live.

Her work receives various awards and recognitions, among which the Samsung Ego Innovation Project (2017) MBFWM award and the mention for Research and Design of the Ibero-American Design Biennial BID 19 (2019) or the IADE 2021 emerging design award stand out.

She combines her professional practice with her teaching practice as a professor of new materials in fashion at the URJC, the IED and the BAU and gives various workshops and talks nationally and internationally such as TEDxMadrid 19, Retrofuturo. She has been a jury member at the RESHAPE Forum Barcelona 2019. Her pieces have been exhibited in various centres and galleries such as the Casa Encendida 2020, the Riu de Plaza de España 2021, the Manuel Piña Museum 2022 or the Can U sustainable exhibition in Shanghai, China 2022. She has collaborated with various artists such as Janet Novás for Veranos de la Villa 2019 or the Stocos Institute for the Royal Academy of Spain in Rome. Her work has been published in various media such as Vogue, Yorokobu, El País, Neo2, Metal Magazine or A*desk.

She has recently been awarded by the Spanish Academy in Rome 2022-2023 where she develops a project between art, fashion and biomaterial research.