“Innovation comes from experience & memory”
Martin Ruiz de Azua and Gerard Moliné set up their design studio in Barcelona (2003) after a trajectory in experimental design. Their creative work includes product design, interior design and communication design. The duo is currently working for firms like El Bulli (Ferran Adria), Camper, without leaving-up their most conceptual and creative thinking.
One of your latest works inlcude a biodegradable funerary urn from which a tree grows once it is buried. Is it anything to do with your interpretation of death?
Azua- Death always comes and somehow it has to be designed, the actual ritual is old-fashioned and also increases space problems in large cities. We tried to transform the cemeteries into forests.
Moline- The current funerary rituals are completely old fashioned, is just about formality, and advertisement in the newspaper. The funerary urn is an association of “lay-ecologic” ideas pretending to offer another option when confronting our hardest moments in life.
Natural environments, cultural origins, and societal experiences are part of your work, what role does sustainability play when designing?
A- We always think in the implication of our projects whatever they are social, ecological or the way they relate to people.
M- We try to include sustainability in our products positively without forgetting about functionality and creativity.
The “Catalan bag” (a multifunctional bag made of traditional Catalan tablecloth) is produced in some of the workshops in Spanish prisons, what made you work with prisoners?
M- The people from CIRE (Center for Reintegration Work) made us a proposal which immediately motivated us and we are very
satisfied with the result.
Ego Gallery of Barcelona is currently displaying your exhibition entitled “Neorural”, where you rediscover the natural environment. Do memories reveal in your work?
A- Innovation always comes from experience and memory, in Neorural we have created a character that works in the city and
M- In some projects it does; traditional objects exist that are not used but they are present in the common mindset, a good redesign is always an option.
What was your first design and whose work inspires you?
A- I think I designed an UFO propelled by pedaling; I was convinced it would be a great invention. I have several referents, I’m very eclectic in my tastes.
M- A soap for children. Joan Brossa, Ezio Manzini, Enzo Mari.
What would you never design?
A- Weapons, but an irresponsible design can also harm.
M- I don’t know.
Who is your audience?
A- We look for a public that is accomplished with our design, creative people basically.
M- Depends on the product, but we try to be very democratic and reach many people. The mentality of the consumer is important; we look for simplicity with an innovative touch.
With which product would be impossible to live without?
A- I think that fortunately no product is essential.
M- There’s only one; none.
What is your working timetable?
A- With more or less intensity I’m a designer 24 hours a day.
M- We work from 9 to 21 but I have always my mind on design, it is difficult to set up a limit between work and leisure time.
Is it easy to live as a designer?
A- It is not easy especially if you follow your principles.
M- Depends on the living standard you want to have but there is a lot of competition and a many companies are not used to work with designers.
What is the best recognition you could get?
A- Realize that my work is important for others and that I can live from it.
M- I like to design and I can live designing, that is the best recognition I can get.