Interview : design elements

26
Mai

Interview with Kasper Salto

categories Designer, Interviews    

“Don’t count on inspiration. It will not happen. Good design is just like other areas: pure hard work. A quote from Vincent van Gogh: Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.”

Kasper Salto

Recently I had the pleasure of talking with Danish designer Kasper Salto. I’m drawn to his work and its focus on a simple and distinct design language. Kasper Salto graduated from the Danish Design School and lectured at the Royal Academy of Arts in Copenhagen. He has continued the Danish tradition in industrial design and was awarded several significant prices. Kasper Salto is inspired by the thought behind things. He loves tennis and reading biographies. His favorite places in Denmark are Copenhagen and Rørvig. Enjoy the interview! I sure did.

NAP chair for Fritz Hansen

When did you first realize that you wanted to be a designer?

After graduating as cabinetmaker I decided to apply for The Danish Design School.


What is your design vision?

To make good longlasting products for people.


You don’t design by impulse but by relevance. Can you describe it further?

Inspiration is impulse, relevance is a long search for what we actually need in this world. To try avoid making “just another chair”, but really try to improve things surrounding us.

Rosendahl timepieces MUW watches Red Dot Design Awards 2013 by Rikke & Kasper Salto

Is it true that you don’t believe in inspiration? You just get into the work and try to get the small things together or to see the big picture?

Don’t count on inspiration. It will not happen. Good design is just like other areas: pure hard work. A quote from Vincent van Gogh: Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.


What is for you the perfect chair?

It’s comfortable, lightweight, strong and affordable.


What do you enjoy most in your work?

Thinking, drawing and making, and then discovering all the errors, and then again, thinking, drawing and making….

The Nosy T Lamp by by Salto & Sigsgaard

If you had no limits, what would be your dream project?

I love my limits!


What do you love to do when you are not designing?

Spending time with my family.


What are your favorite books?

Biographies. Especially, the one about Steve Jobs.

Ice Chair for Fritz Hansen by Kasper Salto

Your favorite places in Denmark?

Copenhagen and Rørvig.


You have been awarded several significant prizes. What does success mean to you?

New jobs comes a little easyer than before.


My signature question – what are the most important design elements?

Making things better than before.

28
Apr

Interview with Tim Cuppett

categories Designer, Interviews    

“Success is making a difference and having fun while doing it.”

Tim Cuppett

It’s Monday morning and time for an inspirational interview. Please come with me to Austin, Texas to meet architect Tim Cuppett.

What was the moment when you knew you would be an architect?

In the second grade.


Is there something that connects all your projects?

If it doesn’t add to the solution, get rid of it……edit, edit, edit.


Looking back at your first project what design knowledge do you wish you had back then?

The way its drawn is the way it gets built (if you have a good contractor). Problems don’t work themselves out in the field.

What do you enjoy most in your work?

When I know it’s just right, my hair stands up.


What do you love to do when you are not designing?

Looking around and trying to figure out what makes a place great.


What are your favorite artists?

Cannot identify “favorite”artist.  Music and Architecture both use rhythm, crescendo, harmony, etc….to affect the way we feel.

What are some of the most amazing buildings you’ve seen?

Queen Hatshepsut’s Temple, Gaudi’s Barcelona Cathedral, Pawson’s Monestery at Novy Dvur, Tadao Ando’s Modern Museum in Ft. Worth.


What does success mean to you?

Making a difference and having fun while doing it.


What’s your advice to upcoming architects?

Travel and work as far away from home as possible.


My signature question – what are the most important design elements?

Relation to context: “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts” Aristotle

7
Apr

Interview with Michael Young

categories Designer, Interviews    

“Success is emotional freedom and inner peace.”

Michael Young

Recently I had the pleasure of talking with British born Hong Kong-based industrial designer Michael Young. I’m drawn to his work and its focus is on a pure design language. I like the way he uses various techniques and explores the possibilities offered by a given material. Michael Young has received numerous awards. His work is presented in museums globally. The British designer loves to travel and to sketch in relaxed places. Enjoy the interview. I sure did.

Moke

When did you first realize that you wanted to be a designer?

I never knew it was called design then but a process of elimination lead me there. Sort of…fail maths, fail English, fail this, fail that, then draw a chair was all that was left.


Is there something that connects all your projects?

I’d like to think there is some kind of connectivity to the planet. I’m not without my ups and downs but I try to keep a vision and honesty in material process and its purpose.

Tittot Glassware

Where do you find inspiration?

I love materials and the way things happen. The creation of objects should be like the creation of bacteria and small cells to exist well.


What kind of design moves you most?

All humans respond to beautiful things such as babies and flowers. Good design can do the same if it’s connected to a goal to stand for.

Yi Chair

If you had no limits, what would be your dream project?

I’d like to design a house out of metal.


What do you love to do when you are not designing?

I used to read a lot but now I just listen to my son talking. He talks a lot.

Noisezero O+

What are your favorite books?

I have many… End of The Game.. Peter Beard takes me on a journey …


What does success mean to you?

Emotional freedom and inner peace. I have to practice it.

Cloisonne

What is the biggest lesson that you have learned? What counts the most in the end?

When I was younger I used to design everything in the throws of a party or the morning after but now I realise that taking my time and contemplation offers far more satisfactory relsults – I guess one has to head towards growing up at some point.


My signature question – what are the most important design elements?

Vision and honesty.

6
Mrz

Interview with Jean-Louis Deniot

categories Designer, Interviews    

„To achieve an interior with personality, one must take risks and push his or her own limits, not go towards what one knows, instead make choices that are adventurous as opposed to comfortable.“

Jean-Louis Deniot

It’s my pleasure to welcome Jean-Louis Deniot - designer extraordinaire, star on the Paris scene and one of the world’s top 100 interior designers by Architectural Digest. Jean-Louis Deniot’s work is like no one else’s, eclectic, luxurious, neoclassical, fearless in mixing up different styles with a strong emphasis on symmetry. It is showcased in properties in Paris, Corsica, Capri, Moscow, New Delhi and Aspen. The French designer loves challenges and draws inspiration from travels. Enjoy the interview. I sure did.

When did you first realize that you wanted to be an interior designer?

My first experiences with design came early on. I started drawing and painting at the age of three and progressed to making models of miniature architecture structures and interior decors at the age of ten. I experimented with various different styles such as colonial, art deco, French country, contemporary Californian, Indian, Parisian… My parents have saved some of them. At the age of twelve, I understood that I was destined to do interior design and architecture for a living. It was very clear to me. Today, each project that I do is a like a first time design experience.


Some designers believe that the first piece for any room is the rug or a painting that sets up the colors palette. What is your first source of inspiration?

I travel constantly and find beauty and inspiration in innumerable things, places, or experiences. In every country I visit, I try to see as many sights as possible. I purchase mounds of books and am also inspired by my many various interests such as fashion, contemporary art, exhibitions, parties, shows and music.

I cannot say that I have any specific values when it comes to my own décor. My homes are my playground, spaces where spontaneity and limitlessness are de rigueur. I like my homes to reflect style, elegance, personality, eclecticism and comfort, in order for me to derive pleasure in inhabiting them and for my friends to feel at ease whenever they visit. My homes are widely different from one another. Their styles are virtually opposite, and yet they all retain a certain atmosphere that makes living in them pure enjoyment. I tend to conceive each project as a scenario. I play, I dream, I create a story that fully corresponds to my clients’ wishes. It is important to set the general tone to avoid stylistic repetitions, to evolve past the monotony of reproducing a certain look, a certain décor, and create something that is unique. In defining in advance what I wish the ambiance to be, I can then concentrate on the trillion details that will compose the final scene.


What does style mean to you?

Style equates stylish more than it does a precise vocabulary. While there are countless styles worth exploring, I believe the one constant to keep in mind is osmosis. Architecture, materials and furniture must cohere to attain results that are both chic and magical.


How can we find and trust our own decorating style?

Decoration corresponds to a specific way of living and the results need to reflect and embody the person it emanates from, what she loves, does and what her state of mind is.


What’s your advice on choosing colors?

I tend to use a palette comprised of earth tones as I find it more peaceful. My favorite tone is grey; any grey such as grey greens, grey pinks, greys blue etc. I have started to develop a monochromatic style, using only one color per room. For example, in one room you could find 50 shades of green.


Decorating the home is a journey to our inner self. Do you agree?

To achieve an interior with personality, one must take risks and push his or her own limits, not go towards what one knows, instead make choices that are adventurous as opposed to comfortable.


If you had no limits, what would be your dream project?

Ideally, it would be a highly extravagant, eccentric and theatrical palatial five-star hotel, preferably in a major city. Structurally speaking, I would simply adore a large classical building with very high reception rooms.


What do you love to do when you are not designing?

I dream about design. To design is to materialize ideas and for these ideas to emerge, I spend most of my free time searching and thinking, trying to come up with viable solutions to dilemmas or tight spots. I have such a profound passion for design that I live and breathe it every day and never tire of it.


Your favorite books?

Some of my favorite books are: Adam Style, Villa Kerylos, Adolf Loos, mainly books on architecture, fashion and interiors. I collect auction house catalogues as these are great archives for inspiration. I also buy heaps of magazines to apprise myself of what the interior design scene is up to.


What does success mean to you?

Recognition, power, freedom, opportunities, choices, variety, fun and pleasure. For me, success is the culmination of a lengthy and industrious journey.


What is the advice you to somebody who is new in the world of design?

I would advise to study the history of architecture and interior design as avidly as possible. Academic training is crucial and paired with knowledge acquired from reading mounds of art books.


My signature question – what are the most important design elements?

A great XXL rug, a cool backdrop color paint, a large mirror, a comfy sofa with interesting texture, a large coffee table with books, sculptures, perfumed candles, 2 vintage armchairs with cool silhouettes and generous drapes. You’re in business!

16
Sep

Interview with Andina & Tapia

categories Designer, Interviews    

“The most important design elements? Everything that awakens senses… materials, textures, colors, art and emotions.”

Mónica Andina & Fernando Tapia

It is my pleasure to welcome Mónica Andina and Fernando Tapia of Andina & Tapia – one of Madrid’s leading interior design duos. I am impressed with their creativity. Whether houses, restaurants, commercial spaces or boats, they are spot on. Andina & Tapia’s signature look? Casual design that awakens senses. Enjoy the interview. I sure did!

How would you describe your style?

Eclectic, functional, casual, fresh or sophisticated, depending on the project, we love shifting from one to another…


What inspired you to get into design?

Monica: As a kid I used to make houses with my father´s cigar boxes creating models without noticing… Also I was lucky enough to get a close view to Mexican interior designers and architects, who captured me into this world.

Fernando: I have always loved art, antiques and spaces. When I was young I have never thought of it as a way of life and suddenly I found myself decorating other peoples’ houses.


How did you get your first assignment?

We where invited to design the lobby of L´Oreal offices in Madrid… After that friends of friends of family…


Looking back at your first project what decorating knowledge do you wish you had back then designing the interiors?

The most important would have been the experience of years of work… But also, less fear and more strength when saying the no´s. Maybe an administrative partner would have made the beginning easier.


Is there a designer that has influenced you?

Monica: At the beginning Barragan, Yturbe, Legorreta; after, an endless list of designers, all who on their own style create projects with soul.

Fernando: Hoffman, Hicks, Douquette… so many designers, periods and artist.

Some designers believe that the first piece for any room is the rug or a painting that sets up the colors palette. What is your first source of inspiration?

It depends, some time the space itself, some times a piece the client has, a fabric we saw and both loved or a great piece of art… after that the rest seems easier.


What do you do if you want the room to feel calm and serene?

We try to balance the layout, use clear colors and tend to use a lot of fabrics and natural materials like woods or stones.


How do you achieve a good scale?  Scale is a really interesting and difficult topic.

Scale is very important not only to achieve, but also, sometimes to break with some XL piece to create an statement. I think Scale and proportion come naturally after a lot of work, study and contemplation.


What do you enjoy most in your work?

Monica: I find very exciting the begining of the project, adapting spaces for the people who use them and achieving surroundings to be enjoyed.

Fernando: At the end of a project when you get the chance to see and evaluate your own work. When designing a restaurant… the first time I eat.


What do you love to do when you are not designing?

Monica: Spending time with my family, watching my kids grow, traveling, above all having fun

Fernando: Entertaining and being entertained, traveling, flip through magazines…

Who are your favorite artists?

Monica: Each artist is special and unique on its own, at the time Paul Lisak surprises me a lot.

Fernando: Russian Constructivism, Abstract expressionism, Spanish Court Painters… So many artist and styles


Your favorite books?

Monica: Depending on my vital moment I look for a different literature, the greatest thing about books is that they can create a parallel space or enhance a real emotion. Lately focused on research books.

Fernando: Again, so many… choosing a favorite is impossible… I re-read Woody Allen a lot… so funny and easy!


Your favorite places in Madrid?

La tulipe (our latest restaurant design), Juan March Foundation, The Retiro Park, the city as a whole and off course… home.


What does success mean to you?

Being able to work in what we love and taking care of our personal life and family… Sometimes more work doesn’t mean more success.


My signature question – what are the most important design elements?

Everything that awakens senses… materials, textures, colors, art and emotions.

2
Apr

Interview with Raji Radhakrishnan

categories Designer, Interviews    

“If you are happy where you are and hopefully with the people you want to be with and doing what you love, you are successful.”

Raji Radhakrishnan

Raji Radhakrishnan is a Washington, D.C. – based interior designer. Although Raji received an MBA and worked as a research director she decided to follow her heart and moved into the world of design. I’m always impressed by people who made the choice to follow their passions. Meanwhile Raji’s fabulous work has been published in many magazines including Traditional Home, Metropolitan Home, Washingtonian, Spaces, Home & Design and Veranda. Enjoy the interview. I sure did!

How would you describe your own style?

A thoughtful mix of styles & regions. I try not to clutter the space (and my mind) with anything less than the best so that the space will evolve to be truly the best it can be.


What inspired you to get into design?

Early travels and being exposed to beautiful spaces at a very tender age definitely ignited the passion. But, I’ve been an artist all my life. Painting a story whether through a dance ballet or an canvas or for that matter by creating whole spaces are all great mediums if you are good story teller!

Looking back at your first project what decorating knowledge do you wish you had back then designing the interiors?

Quite honestly, I’ve always been quite happy about the decorating work I’ve done from my very first project. I do project specific research before I start every project since each is completely different anyway, so I don’t think I have any real regrets there, but, it’s the business side of it that sometimes gets me! What I  wish at times is that I had worked for a well established designer at least for a couple of years before I took the plunge to start out on my own. That would have given me a chance to learn all the “other non-decorating” things involved in running a decorating business without having to organically learn everything on my own!


Is there a designer that has influenced you?

Oh, plenty. Starting from Robert Adams, Sir John Soane, Le Corbusier, Charlotte Perriand and a few contemporaries including Jacques Grange.

Some designers believe that the first piece for any room is the rug or a painting that sets up the colors palette. What is your first source of inspiration?

Good question! I’ve never done a project inspired by a rug or fabric or painting. To me they are all one of several characters I cast in the play. It’s my overall vision, based on the architecture of the house/apt and my client, that inspires me. After observing a space and listening to clients, slowly but surely a story or at least an angle of style emerges. And I develop it from there. In my logic, having a holistic vision is first and most important and then I go about selecting the right colors, furniture, fabrics, etc, that fit with my vision and plan.


What is the biggest mistake people make when they decide to decorate their homes without the guidance of a professional designer?

Impulsively buying things without a proper holistic plan. And I don’t even mean a floor plan but buying things without even taking the time to understand how they want their rooms to look, feel and be used.

How do you achieve a good scale?  Scale is a really interesting and difficult topic.

Scale is about having a sense of proportion in relation to different aspects of a room. Da Vinci’s Vitruvian man is nothing more than each part of the body being proportionate to every other part, so that the whole is pleasing to the eye and is quietly functional.  You want to make everything in a space similarly appropriate. It requires thinking three dimensionally (how wide, deep and high the room is) and fearlessly addressing every vantage point. You can’t just assume massive pieces of furniture are best for a large room. Even when you are designing monumental rooms, you still have to consider the all important human scale.

Look at it this way, even in a rambunctiously grand room, you can address the large expanses of walls, windows, ceilings, floors, etc. with grand scale gestures like large paintings/patterned wallpapers, ceiling to floor curtains, huge area rugs, etc., (which essentially become part of the shell) as long as these elements don’t interfere with the humane functions. So, when you get down to addressing the eye level furniture, lighting, etc., that affect the functionality of the room on a day-to-day basis, ensure it is all scaled/adjustable to personal levels. And don’t forget to bridge the two (monumental and human) by addressing the residential scale – an example: in a 20′ tall room, think about hanging wallpaper or adding paneling that goes up to only say 10′ high or simply hanging curtains only on the windows that are 12′ or below. That’s one way of looking at scale.


What do you love to do when you are not designing?

Spend time with my family, travel, watch a great movie!

Who are your favorite artists?

Of the contemporaries, I like Vik Muniz, Anish Kapoor, Thomas Struth, Takashi Murakami and a few others.


Your favorite books?

Terence Conran’s Easy Living & The Essential House Book, Private House by Rose Tarlow, and Rooms by Marriette Himes Gomez.


What does success mean to you?

Well, doesn’t mean much really. A long time ago I realized it’s a moving target. But, I guess if you are happy where you are and hopefully with the people you want to be with and doing what you love, you are successful.


My signature Design Elements question – what are the most important design elements?

It’s a very subjective topic which prioritizes differently with people and spaces. There’s no right or wrong. But the following are usually important:

- Good (interior) architecture can not be emphasized enough.
- Appropriateness to the space and people living there is essential.
- I personally prefer a lived-in quality in any space.
- A regard for authenticity and good taste are nice to have.
- And stick to your vision!

photos: Matthew Worden via Wasingtonian, Raji Rm & Associates

25
Mrz

Interview with Jonathan Segal

categories Architecture, Interviews    

I can barely contain my enthusiasm for the work of Jonathan Segal. The San Diego based architect has been responsible for the design and development of over 300 medium to high-density urban residential, mixed use, and live/work units totaling over 300,000 square feet of construction. His strong urban designs have been awarded six AIA Honor Awards. “Jonathan Segal has been a champion of an alternate practice paradigm for architects: he develops, designs, and builds his own projects.” He eliminated the client from the traditional formula. His online seminar for aspiring architects / developers is named “Architect as Developer”. It’s about how to develop your own projects and take the first steps to design and financial freedom. Jonathan Segal believes that the most important design elements are proportion, harmony, rhythm, beauty and purity. He loves to collect and restore cars.

the union, photo: paul body

When did you first realize that you wanted to be an architect?

After I failed my chemistry per exam to get into class in college….no medical school for me.


Is there something that connects all your projects?

Urban design and strong individual planning notions and ideas for each project.

the charmer, photos: matthew segal and jeffrey durkin

Looking back at your first project what design knowledge do you wish you had back then?

Nothing…ignorance has always paid off.


You have designed incredible places. If you had no limits, what would be your dream project?

Thank you. I would have loved to see my q building built in the meat packing district in New York. So I guess a small project in NYC or Brookland.

the lemperle residence

How does your home look like?

We currently have a place in downtown San Diego, la jolla and McCall Idaho. Each is different. In their planning layout and relationship to their environment. The la jolla home is almost complete. It’s all cast in place concrete as is our Downtown penthouse in the Q.


What do you love to do when you are not designing?

Collect and restore cars and be with my wife and dogs. I’m trying to learn to relax, it’s not going well.

hsieh residence

Your favorite books?

Anything that deals with entrepreneurs and works by Clive Clussler. I have a hard time finishing a book.


You have been awarded 6 AIA Awards. What does success mean to you?

The National Aia awards are an honor but respect from your peers is all that one hopes for. Fortunately this success has enabled me to meet many great friends and more importantly speak in many cities and spread the word of architect doing their own development. Financial success has helped me not need any investors since 1998.

k lofts, photo: paul body

What’s your advice to the architecture students?

Don’t grow up to be poor architects. Work for a few years and learn the business of putting a good set of drawings together and then do your own work for yourself, NO CLIENTS.


My signature question – what are the most important design elements?

Proportion, harmony, rhythm, beauty and purity.

11
Mrz

Interview with Chakib Richani

categories Designer, Interviews    

Serenely minimal spaces… An appreciation for “monolithic volumes, majestic proportions, poised symmetry and rich materials detailed to refinement…” I’ve been drawn to the work of the Venezuelan-born architect and designer Chakib Richani from the first moment I saw it some years ago. Recently I had the pleasure of talking with him. Enjoy the interview. I sure did!

How would you describe your own style?

My work is closest to minimalism in that it focuses on the essence: scale and proportions, and intricate detailing; yet maintaining the luxury and comfort that my clients require. It is timelessness and drama that I seek to achieve.


When did you first realize that you wanted to be an architect?

I think that I have always been an architect. As a boy, I used to collect matches and match boxes and transform them into houses and palaces with doors and windows.


Looking back at your first project what knowledge do you wish you had back then designing the interiors?

Each project has a story and a life of its own. It is a friend whom you grow with. I love each one for what it is and would not change anything in it.

Is there a designer that has influenced you?

The architect Mies Van der Rohe, particularly the fluid flow of space in his Barcelona Pavilion. Less is more is my motto.


Some designers believe that the first piece for any room is the rug or a painting that sets up the colors palette. What is your first source of inspiration?

In residential architecture, it is the character and temperament of the users, as well as the spatial relationship to other rooms, that usually inspire me.


How do you achieve a good scale?
Scale is a really interesting and difficult topic.

Scale and proportion are the heart and soul of every design. It takes a good eye and some imagination, not to mention experience.

What do you love to do when you are not designing?

Researching into design.


What are your favorite books?

All books, except e-books. Somehow you lose the magic, the sensation of paper gives life to the book that machines never can.


What does success mean to you?

The challenge to improve and the anxiety in always attempting to surpass oneself.


My signature question – what are the most important design elements?

Sensitivity, be it to the site and surroundings, nature and light, space, or to the users’ lifestyle and aspirations….

18
Feb

Interview with Borislav Ignatov

categories Architecture, Designer, Interviews    

I think that creative people have to do what they believe in, not what is expected from them.

Borislav Ignatov

Equinox Passive House

I can barely contain my enthusiasm for the work of the Bulgarian architect Borislav Ignatov. Licensed architect in New York and Bulgaria, principal at Ignatov Architects, graduate of Columbia University and University of Architecture in Sofia, Architect of the year 2010 (Stroitelstvo Imoti Magazine), Grand Prize winner of the Biannale of the Union of Bulgarian Architects 2012… I love the Equinox House designed by him. Great architectural design in relationships with landscape, light, human and environmental, deeply integrated with its site. Borislav Ignatov loves traveling, the Northern Black Sea coast and the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe. Enjoy the interview. I sure did!

Conservatory House

What was the moment when you knew you will be an architect?

This moment is still to come, hopefully. I am working hard on it and I keep my fingers crossed. :-)


Is there something that connects all your projects?

I try to approach every new task open-mindedly without any preset solution or ready answer. This gives me the chance to listen to site and program and analyze what they need and allow. I believe this is the way to make purposeful and lasting architecture. Understanding the site and program always pays back because it results in specific and unique architectural object.


Your last project – The Equinox House near the Thracian Cliffs – looks like a part of the landscape. How do you achieve this?

The prevailing harsh northern winds almost blew us to the sea on our first site visit last winter. This made me think of seeking shelter in the slope by embedding the future house there. Naturally the green roof provided for 100% site recovery and things fell in place.


How do you think the role of the architect will change over the next years?

The architect’s role has always been to analyze the conditions and lead the design process by providing a holistic harmonizing approach to all building aspects. I don’t think this will change; we just need to do it better and faster each time which is very demanding and sometimes exhausting.


What do you love to do when you are not designing?

I love traveling and practicing sports. Visiting new places makes me happy and gives me a lot of inspiration.

Taiwan Tower Competition Entry

Your favorite books?

The Hitchhiker’s guide to the Universe, and many others…


Your favorite places in Bulgaria?

Bulgaria is an incredible country with great nature and it is really hard to narrow my favorites down. First things that come to mind are the Northern Black Sea coast and Melnik.


You live and work between the Black Sea and New York. You have received the highest award for Bulgarian architecture. What does success mean to you?

The award means to me professional recognition and support for my efforts. This is very motivating for me and I am really grateful for it. I don’t qualify it as a ‘success’.


Spirit of the site, simplicity, sustainable design, green architecture, sea, light, authenticity. It was a delight to watch your interview on the Bulgarian TV SAT. What’s your advice for architecture students?

I think that creative people have to do what they believe in, not what is expected from them.

My signature question – what are the most important design elements?

Design is the art of purpose. So, art and purpose are the most important design elements to me.

photos: Ignatov Architects

11
Feb

Interview with Egue y Seta

categories Designer, Interviews    

“We’ve got sick of minimalism, since it wasn´t “minimal” budgetwise and didn´t cover our minimum expressive needs… Nor could we cope with the later maximalism because we are much less complex.”

Daniel Pérez & Felipe Araujo

It is my pleasure to welcome Egue y Seta – one of Barcelona’s leading interior designer duos. I love the Barcelona house they recently renovated  – the restored wooden beams and the tumbling block patterned tile. Egue & Seta’s signature look? Urban, practical elegance with memoir. Enjoy the interview. I sure did!

How would you describe your style?

In a sentence: Portable, urban, practical elegance with memoir. We like retro because it reminds us of times gone by and futurism for it excites us. We are proud to be Galician, Spanish and South American because that diversity allows us to provide something that goes beyond local trends … We’ve got sick of minimalism, since it wasn´t “minimal” budgetwise and didn´t cover our minimum expressive needs … Nor could we cope with the later maximalism because we are much less complex. Nevertheless we like many trends that somehow embrace the vernacular … We like fashion but each follows what suits him best, and at the end of the day, all these things we like are bound to inspire us at some point … to say exactly how much, and up to what degree would be lying.


What is your first source of inspiration?

We actually don´t have a single source of inspiration or a mathematical formula. As much as we like the current “anything goes” trend, we like to think this is only true when it subjects itself to a very concrete and specific functional and aesthetic criteria agreed over with the client.

How do you achieve a good scale? Scale is a really interesting and difficult topic.

Above it all, scale needs to be human. Comfort and practicality are one of our main concerns, though you might be surprised by how frequently current trends contravene the most basic and obvious rules of ergonomics. Bearing that in mind, but putting it aside, scale can be really fun to play with. If you grant them increased length, width and height, a bench may become a table, a table become a rooftop, and so on… We once halved a blown up football and turned into a soccer themed bathtub… Kids has a blast!


What do you enjoy most in your work?

Felipe: To shape up lifestyles and ways of doing. To influence how people use the space… how they feel, behave and interact with one another within those environments.

Daniel: To witness how abstract ideas drawn on paper become alive and real.


If you had no limits, what would be your dream project?

Felipe: Affordable, sutainable, adaptable, portable, durable and customizable interior desing furniture and schemes… Sounds like an awfull lot of work, so it might turn to be more of a nightmare than a dream…

Daniel: Maybe the headquarters of a large multinational in Tokyo, or an nice little exotic hotel on a lost paradise beach .

What do you love to do when you are not designing?

Felipe: Have a good time with friends, family or books.

Daniel: Partying with Gra (my girl) and friends; gather strength in Coruña (my home town) with family… and football wherever you go.


Your favorite books?

Felipe: Laughable Loves by Milán Kundera.

Daniel: Reading… still a pending subject for me…


Your favorite places in Barcelona?

Felipe: St. Felipe Neri Sq. – it’s right in the heart of “el Gótico”, but secluded from the tourist hordes. Gloomy, history filled and always soundtracked by street performers.

Daniel: During the summer, the beach and our office terrace for barbecues … In general at “el Raval” is the neighborhood where I feel most comfortable.

What does success mean to you?

Felipe: Enyoing work!

Daniel: Seeing pride and satisfaction written over the customers face once the project is done.


My signature question – what are the most important design elements?

Hierarchy. Too often designs are about too many things. We should learn to choose if the space is going to be all about color, about print, or scale and avoid letting everything speak as loud at the same time. No matter how many great ideas we come up with, we need to get rid of the less convenient, or the most conflicting, stick to a couple of the brightest ones and pull from that thread…

photos: Egue y Seta, Mi Casa

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