Obi, a different look

Obi is the store that Lorenzo and Elena opened in 2006, far from the most central streets of Sant Francesc. It seems to explain its location with the originality of Lorenzo’s jewelry and Elena’s dresses and accessories. Distanced from fashion trends or the style that can commonly be seen in Formentera, their creations evoke that gaze that is lost in the sea and in the nature of this island, to which Formentera responds with another that opens towards oneself. Looks that Lorenzo and Elena have managed to apprehend, contain them like the obi adjusts the kimono to the woman’s size, to transmit them to us, finally, with the personality that characterizes and distinguishes their artisanal work.

The look at oneself:

Obi is the result of the experience that both began after their first visit to Formentera, since both Elena in 1993 from Valladolid, and Lorenzo in 1997 from Milan, captivated by the island, decided to return shortly after to reside permanently there. However, their creativity arrived gradually, as they gradually got rid of the other, more accelerated rhythm of their places of origin, like a background noise that sounds at a low frequency, Lorenzo tells us, in Milan it is not I had time to think, to reflect in the same way as in Formentera; There was always something to do, somewhere to go, someone to see, Elena notes. It was after an introspective process, a confrontation with oneself, Lorenzo confesses, that they discovered that something unknown was awakening in them, in Milan I worked in a publishing house, I studied philosophy… it all started as a distraction, to have fun, observing the artisans of the island, I started collecting shells from the beach and making necklaces with steel and nylon cords, I tried ceramics, later I bought a blowtorch and some tools, I began to create my first jewelry and after a time of experimentation, I settled in the La Mola Artisan Market.

In this sense, although Elena had worked in an important fashion store in Valladolid in the eighties and lived through that time of energy and creative expansion, upon her arrival in Formentera, after carrying out various occupations, she first began with another of her great passions. , cooking, and although I studied and even created a catering company for weddings, birthdays and events related to cinema, it was very stressful… until, while waiting for a train, she saw a fabric that caught her attention and she imagined a bag. From that moment she began to make handmade bags on which she embroidered flowers and drawings that she began to sell at Lorenzo’s stall at the Mola Artisan Market. Shortly after, encouraged by Lorenzo, I bought a sewing machine that I left packed for a few months. I finally decided to use it and in 1999, I already had my own stall in La Mola. Those bags were made of leather, leather with fabric and fabric alone, Elena remembers, it was a very enriching experience, but they were bags made one by one, very personalized, very particular, and although she had bought more material and had documented herself, that was so just the beginning of a long journey.

The look at the sea, at nature:

Lorenzo says that he gave up continuing with his philosophy studies, because they involve a succession of abstractions that lead nowhere, he tells us, overwhelmed, placing one hand on top of the other on his head. But despite this, when asked about his creative process, in the end I am talking about philosophy, he acknowledges us lamentingly with a gesture of denial. Because with his jewelry he seems to perform an Aristotelian exercise, without a body there is no soul, if you want to reach the soul you have to work first with the body, in which he plays with matter, transforming it, and with its limits, the beauty of metal. It is its hardness, its resistance, in a constant effort to understand and decipher the forms, observing them directly, taking them first to paper, drawing them over and over again in a process of synthesis beyond the preconceived idea that one has, for example, if Someone asks you to draw an elephant… he remains silent for a moment and makes a quick stroke in the air, but if you see the elephant in front of you, it is something totally different, more complex, with an infinite number of nuances.

And it is the sea, the living beings that are in it, shells, algae, sponges and microorganisms, from which he extracts the strength and inspiration that he projects into his jewelry, and although he says that with these he tries to transport us, by meticulously modeling the silver, to the language pure of forms, to convey a sensation of balance, of harmony, he shrugs his shoulders, clarifying that he does not intend to explain them either, it is impossible. It may be, perhaps, because of what some philosophers say about philosophy, that it does not aspire to give definitive answers, but rather to ask better questions.

In the same way that the sea is always present from any corner of the island, the sea is also present in Lorenzo’s other artistic facets, in which he also expresses his incessant search for forms, that desire to decipher them, seduced by what Lorenzo qualifies as eros of knowledge. Among these, the 44-minute video that will soon be released stands out, edited from a total of six hours of recording, in which it shows, in a decontextualized way, the shore and the first three meters of the ocean breaking against the sand on a sunny day. storm. Likewise, Lorenzo tells us with satisfaction that he had the opportunity to give back to Formentera part of what it has given him, organizing for three years, despite the enormous difficulties he had to face, the Posidonia Festival, an international festival. of the arts and sustainable development, with concerts of different musical styles, activities and conferences by prominent personalities from inside and outside the island or documentaries related to the sea and nature, among others.

Just as Lorenzo admits his disorder, but paradoxically defines himself as a rational man, Elena, apparently more organized, is fundamentally sensitive, to the point that she confesses to us that, unlike Lorenzo, she does not maintain a rational relationship with the product. Her work is a reflection of what moves her, from a film to the image of a field in Formentera, as indicated by the name of one of her collections, Amapola, and that in all her creations there is a reference to nature, a print or a color extracted from flowers. Her creations do not follow the trends of the moment, Elena affirms that all fashion was created between the decades of the 1920s and 1960s, and that afterwards, with rare exceptions, the dresses have only evolved or drifted towards a non-marketable futurism. .

Elena has a personal style, this year’s collection is dedicated to all the women who are not valued, to the dignity and wisdom of all those who have been forgotten throughout History, because any of us can feel good regardless of her occupation, for example, for one of the dresses, she adds, smiling mischievously, I was inspired by watching a woman waiting at the bus stop in a movie set in the 1950s. Because along with the island’s nature, the greatest source of inspiration for Elena is women and her creations are a tribute to her, so that with simplicity, and at the same time with elegance, she can express herself freely in them. The same dress can be used for different profiles of women and also adapt to different circumstances, an undone button, a belt or footwear are capable of changing the final image of the outfit, Elena tells us, achieving it thanks to the fact that, with subtlety and extreme sensitivity , pays enormous attention to the details in the pattern, the finish, the different materials it uses and the way in which these can be combined, as in the different jackets that this year it has created with cashmere and different types of cotton, whose reactions are different and require more open or closed points.

It is this perfectionist tenacity that took her, from the first bags she sold at Lorenzo’s stall in the La Mola Artisan Market, to a factory in Milan to learn pattern making and make precise cuts, since the finishes were not perfect, she admits. Elena, whose knowledge helped her first create baggy pants, which were very successful the following summer, and later a long skirt. But I had problems finding the right material, I wanted certain fabrics, and for example, some buttons that would fit perfectly with the outfit I had designed, I knew what I wanted but I didn’t know where to find it, until after an incessant search, for Finally, she acquired 2,000 fabrics and made her first dresses, combining them from two models. I still have some of them, she remembers nostalgically.

Currently Elena continues to innovate, observing women, looking for different ways to highlight their nature, she shows us shirts, entire dresses, pointing out details that are significant and confirm the originality that characterizes her creations, she moves from one side to the other, It seems to be staging the incessant activity that began at Lorenzo’s stall in the La Mola Artisan Market, which continues to travel from Obi and seems to have no end.

The look at Formentera:

A last look brings us back to Formentera, the Formentera in which both found silence, peace and time to develop their creativity, the Formentera that captivated them with its rugged nature and the sea.

Lorenzo and Elena remain consistent with the impression they had when they arrived on the island, they live in a house located in one of the forests of La Mola from which they only hear the sound of the wind, without internet, without television, and in the who share the workshop in which they work, although as Lorenzo tells us, each one has their own space, separated by a glass, we see each other and talk but we have different work dynamics…

They also continue with a stall in the La Mola Artisan Market, the place where they started, from which they have seen the island change, before I chatted with the people who visited the market, Elena tells us, now everything is faster, it seems that everything The world is in a hurry, but despite this, the difficulties that arise in carrying out their work on such a small island and their trips to other corners of the world, Lorenzo and Elena always have the need to return to Formentera, it is our home, they state categorically.


You will find Obi at the entrance to Sant Francesc, towards Porto Saler de Baix, on Avenida 8 de Agosto in front of the pharmacy.