The natural cycle of life, the evolution of objects or the relationships between man and his environment are aspects that Martin Azua stresses in his designs. A starting point determined in part by his origins. “In the Basque Country I think we have a special relationship with our landscape. In my case with a particular place: a beech forest in the mountains of Opakua, Álava (Spain). When I walk in the woods I feel good, everything that happens around me makes sense. In Barcelona, nostalgia makes me miss all this and I reflect this feeling on some of my projects.”
Do your designs aspire to reproduce natural processes? Or do you prefer to re-think and explore an imaginary world?
I think we have much to learn from nature, it embodies a basic principle of economy where nothing exists for the sake of itself. Even the seemingly most capricious of flowers has a very specific function. I would like my designs to help to become aware of our belonging to a natural environment. When you’re a kid, imagination takes you to new places; with age imagination leave the way to memories.
Looking at your Luco stool, what aspects of its design are of a universally intelligible language and what other of an individual, more local language?
In their basic essence, objects of all cultures are similar but there are subtle differences that highlight an incredible diversity of responses to a same problem. The three-legged stool is basic and stable. Luco retains this primary idea but adds very contemporary aspects. Its manufacture involves a craftsman lathe and a CNC workshop. I think that’s what makes it special. Memory has been an essential ingredient in this project.
To cherish the value of an object begins from appreciating the material used?
Yes, the material conveys much. Unfortunately some industrial processes remove features that often add value, but in the case of Luco, beech wood is clear and delicate, it has very subtle veins that stand out with the turning process and we protected the wood with a varnish that respects the silky touch of wood.
Your relationship with M114 goes back to 2006 and to the collections of chairs and stools Om and Flod, currently available in the catalog M114. How would you summarize your professional relationship with Mobles114?
It is a relationship between designers. I respect the work that JM Tremoleda and JM Masana have made over time in Mobles114. They have always had a very functional line. Their products include a discrete and somewhat timeless beauty. When talking to them there is no room for whim, the arguments are very important. I like working with them: they have clear ideas and are very demanding.