For the New Year greetings by Mobles 114, this year we have counted on Marc Morro. This designer -« mueblista », as he defines himself- pays homage to one of the most iconic pieces of the Classics catalog: Copenhaguen ashtray, by André Ricard.
Marc and his furnishing company, AOO, are passionate for routine and the beauty of hte little things. Little things like this minimalist design, free from adornments chosen for the occasion. In a reinterpretation which adds a surprising new use to the ashtray, signed by Ricard in 1966.
Made in a single block, this ashtray is the result of a geometric design that uses the simple repetition of a cylinder. A recipient made up of an open cylinder with another, smaller cylinder inside to support or extinguish cigarettes; the shape of the groove in the outer wall matches the rest of the ashtray and is perfectly designed to hold a cigarette. This is a hardwearing, stackable ashtray that fulfils its function with the utmost effectiveness.
Ramírez i Carrillo is a studio formed by Jaume Ramírez, industrial designer, and Josema Carrillo, graphic designer. The multi-task studio is able to create installations, product and branding. Among their projects we would like to outline Rojo;show at Sala Vinçon with furniture from RED; or Otto bottle rack, one of the participants of the running show Tapas. Spanish design for food.
Zaha Hadid, maybe the greatest female architect nowadays, left us last week. This great dame with revolutionary creations was the first woman to win the prestigious Pritzker prize, considered the Nobel of architecture.
Born in Baghdad in 1950, she studied mathematics at the American University of Beirut before starting her architectural journey in 1972 at the Architectural Association in London. By 1979 she had established her own practice in London – Zaha Hadid Architects – garnering a reputation across the world for her ground-breaking theoretical works.
Working with office partner Patrik Schumacher, her interest was in the interface between architecture, landscape, and geology; which her practice integrates with the use of innovative technologies often resulting in unexpected and dynamic architectural forms.
Among her extensive work, placed all over the world, from Mobles 114 we want to highlight Vitra Fire Station in Weil am Rhein, or the MAXXI Museum in Rome, but also one of the unbuilt designs: Spiralling Tower, from which the first piece was placed in Barcelona in July 2009. A risky building, complex and expensive, characteristic of the star architecture boom. A great loss due to the economic crisis that left the city without a very interesting skyscraper.
Surfing the internet allows us to surprise and discover a lot of nice things. For instance, today we stop by the blog of Mobles 114 dealers in Poland, BarcelonaConcept, which has attracted us thanks to its section Architecture.
The most important buildings of the last years, and the icons of the city, are highlighted on the selection. The trip guides us from the Casa Bloc, social buildings designed by Josep Lluís Sert , Josep Torres i Clavé and Joan Baptista Subirana, to the best « tortillas » in town at Flash Flash restaurant, designed by Federico Correa and Alfonso Milà, among others.
Mediapro building, Carlos Ferrater, Partick Genard, Xavier Martí Galí
Auditorium, Rafael Moneo
International studios from Barcelona such as MBM Architects, Carlos Ferrater, or Pritzker prize winner Rafael Moneo are some of the authors. An interesting walk which discovers the contemporaneity of the architetonic skyline. A surprise in a city associated to Antoni Gaudi and Gothic buildings with a proposal of cosmopolitism.
« Philosopher, father of semiotics, writer, professor, journalist, expert in ancient books: in each of their souls Umberto Eco was an international star, but with his students, readers, colleagues, Eco never exhibited such a snob pose that would have been adopted by other writers who have published bestsellers such as The name of the rose and Foucault’s pendulum. Umberto Eco laughed, reported on the latest news and -lighting a cigar had a last joke before submitting a new linguistic theory. » We borrow the words of Gianni Rotta in La Stampa diary of Turin to farewell Umberto Eco.
Eco’s work, especially Opera Aperta (Open Work, 1962) and « continuation » Apocalittici e integrati (Apocalyptic and integrated, 1964), is a clear influence for visual communication and philosophy. A new vision of the world in which they occur adaptive structures and the influence of mass media on society.
A master for Mobles 114, a remarkable person to follow his theories and outlook on life.
36 objects produced for years have been chosen due to its values as icons of design. Among others, there can be found prototypes of the Pinça (1964) ice tong, or Copenhaguen (1966) ashtray by André Ricard, and also some proposals for the oil container created by Rafael Marquina, and various editions from different years from 1961 to 1990, with a special value as unique pieces of design.
The donation includes also some prototypes of the support for two or three oil containers. Another special design is Fil lamp (1991), designed by Portuguese architect Alvaro Siza Vieira, creator of Oporto chairs (1993) too.
Mobles 114 donation has become a highlight of the product design collection for the Museum, thanks to the value in the market or as an iconic product of the objects donated. It has increased also the prototype collection, very valuable for the Museum as a first sample from designer or company and model to be manufactured.
Barcelona Original Designs is the first online platform to offer objects, furniture, lighting, accessories and classic or contemporary pieces designed in Barcelona, created by Olivia Ricard, Cristina Pujol and Silvia Cambra in order to offer a meeting point among designers, craftsmen and entrepreneurs from the city.
Product selection shares the value of authentic, everlasting products, “which reminds us of whom, how and why it was created”, they explain. A thorough summary with valuable common nexus: Barcelona, function, ethics and aesthetics.
Most noted objects are the ones signed by José Antonio Coderch, Miguel Milà, André Ricard or Rafael Marquina, masters of industrial design and authors of icons like Disa or Cesta lamps, and products such as Copenhagen ashtrays or Marquina oil dispensers, both belonging to Classics collection by mobles 114.
Knowing the « why » and « how » questions are essential in any creative process, what motivates you more when tackling your work? I try not to have preconceived ideas and I am among the designers who are distracted by the process. I change a lot my opinion and sometimes target. Maybe it’s a defect, I do not know. In any case, I like to keep some creative uncertainty.
It seems that we live in a new paradigm dominated by social changes, a revision of values and technological advances. In this changing and sometimes confusing scenario, what do you think the role of the designer should be? I’m not dogmatic, I think there are many valid points. Right now I am very interested in working with local resources and claim a physical and technological diversity which obviously comes as new without losing the traditional. I don’t like the idea of a standardized world where products are designed and produced by machines and are made of materials that we don’t recognize.
On occasion you said that design is a tool to make things better, not whimsical or bizarre. If design is an adaptation strategy, what is it about? And is the beautification part of that strategy? The focus of design needs not be the design. Design is only the strategy it is just the tool. The adjective « designer » puts us in a situation where we forget the essential and get distracted by the superfluous. Of course beauty counts, but it is a beauty that includes ethical aspects, that somehow represents our desire to be better.
« Having it all without hardly having anything », could you develop this statement of yours? I don’t know what pushes us to keep more than the necessary. Having many things sometimes limits us. The free people really don’t have a dependency property. I know it’s a contradiction to be designer. But then, if we depend on something that’s worth something.
What is the space that you mostly like about a home? And with what object you can not imagine a typical day? My favorite space has to do with light and changes throughout the day. When I shower in the morning direct sunlight comes in the bathroom and it’s great. When I eat at noon the sun comes in again and I think that light feeds me more than food. It is something fantastic about Barcelona. I think the second question refers to a special object that has an everyday but exceptional use. I designed some for an exhibition, « Artjects » which can be viewed on my website, and we saw also at the blog.
The selection consists of pieces from the smallest salt-cellar to a dinner service, furniture and interior design of restaurants, including architecture with examples of Spanish wine cellars. Moreover, the exhibition tries to enhance the enormous innovative ability of the « big names » of Mediterranean cuisine, whose techniques have shaken up international gastronomy.
The travelling show has stopped by cities like Tokyo, Miami, Washington DC, Seoul, Toronto, Ljubljana, Albuquerque and Guanajuato. Now it exhibits in Spain at last, at Central de Diseño Matadero Madrid. But the exhibition will be at the same time at Museo Franz Mayer in Mexico City.
Saboc is a gastronomic space which can be found next to the new highlight of the centre of Barcelona, El Born CC, and is trying to add a 50’s atmosphere in the freshly renewed area thanks to its Nordic style and delicate design.
Food is the key thing in Saboc, so the architects Juan Carlos Fernández, Adam Bresnick and Reyes Castellano, with the collaboration of Antonio Romeo y Miguel Peña, have created a minimalistic and clear space using a design based on soft lines and hardwood, which transports us to a coloured universe very Scandinavian.
Classic Mediterranean hydraulic tile, with hexagonal shape to pay homage to the ones created by Gaudi placed in popular passeig de Gràcia in Barcelona, are one of the highlights and mark the colour palette with their grey tones.
And of course, a menu based on 4 types of cooking: raw, low temperature, with stoves and griddles. An original proposal to experience and enjoy the difference from small and deliberately simple dishes.
Saboc restaurant has become the ideal stage for furniture with attractive and delicate shapes, a charming establishment suitable to be the set for the new catalog by mobles 114. There the contrasts between crafts and industry characteristic of Green chairs by Javier Mariscal and Luco stools by Martín Azúa have made an impression.
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.
Museu del Disseny is the result of merging the collections of the Museum of Decorative Arts, the Museum of Ceramics, the Museum of Textile and Clothing and the Graphic Arts Cabinet in Barcelona. It’s been the first to open its doors, whilst the Museum will be opened next December.
The Documentation Center holds more than 20.000 documents, books and specialized archives focused on different topics. Its aim is to create a richer and plural vision of design, and its relation with daily life.
Mariadiamantes is a studio from Barcelona founded by Clara Mercader, who is the author of Barcelona Visual.
The compilation of Barcelona’s icons, reinterpreted in a plastic and colourful way, has 50 images which represent the city: from its most famous buildings and transportations, to gastronomy or daily objects related to Mediterranean way of life.
For instance, Canaletes Fountain in the Ramblas can be found, or the distinctive black and yellow taxi. Also Barcelona chair designed by Mies van der Rohe for the Universal Expo 1929 is included…
« The designer is the archer aiming at the target (problem) with the desire to hit bulls eye, a place of compromise and balance between the many factors of a project. The artist is another type of archer that shoots the arrow consciously outside of the range, with the will to go and look to what’s beyond the bounds of possibility. »
With this speech, designer Martín Azúa presents his show Artjects at Sala Vinçon Barcelona, a collection of special objects, which provide unconventional relationships with users, tell and generate stories.
The objects observed in their multiple connections, can be very revealing of how we are and how we could be. Objects have an influence on our behavior, they are active agents and not mere instruments. The rituals that govern these relationships can be as absurd as transcendent.
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