Interview: Antonio Serrano
Today is the opening of ‘hand in hand’ Exhibition, where the new collection ‘LivingBlock’ designed by Antonio Serrano Bulnes and produced by Mad Lab will be presented, together with a selection of objects from emerging designers sponsored by Homeless Design.
We have already presented Antonio Serrano to you, he was one of the designers selected to display at the Homeless Design Exhibition at the Biennale di Venezia – collateral event.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself, how did your career as a designer begin?
I think it started when I was 7 years old, I remember my mother making me a sandwich at seven in the morning, everyday before leaving to school. I took carpentry classes for an hour and a half, at our teacher’s workshop in elementary school, before my regular classes began. That definitely left a mark in my passion for wood. But as the man often insists on ignoring his heart, I distract myself by pursuing a law career before enrolling at the School of Applied Arts to major in industrial design from 1979 to 1982. Since then, everything has been a long adventure filled with endless details.
2. We see that you have a great workshop at your studio, what is your work method?
The area of inspiration always comes when I’ve been working for a while, I use first models made with anything I can find, I prefer paper and cardboard, wires too. There is a lot of experimentation with models before starting to parameterize with Rhino that is done at the same time as prototypes are made in the atelier. The time it takes me to create a chair, for example, is not less than year and about seven or eight scale prototypes. There is a magic moment where you just have to listen to what the object tells you and implement the solution that is giving you, which is usually always the best one.
3. Your work often reminds us to a puzzle. What is going on inside Antonio Serrano’s mind when he is designing?
A lot of things are going on, I remember all my loved ones, those who are still here and of those who have left. I think of how to transcend my universe giving my best and trying to get my designs to excite people. This crisis is proving to be crucial for many things we understood as right and were not true. As a result, we have to question them again and make it a habit, not to relax our minds and get stuck on the comfort zone that stop us from growing.
Wood and puzzles are a very attractive challenge, which is why occasionally my work gives brainteasers a wink.
4. How was the idea LivingBlock born?
To be honest, the beginning is always a sketch and a motto that I proposed to overcome my own crisis, “what can I do with what I have” and it turns out that there is much more than I expected. I went into my workshop and chose a pine finger joint board and thought that it would be a great contribution to the market, to reuse and recycle. The finger joint board itself is already a sophisticated product in its ecological value, it uses waste material to form a new board and provides a way to reuse it.
The evolution of the idea is a collection of sixteen pieces based on the same design principle “a box and four sticks”. The final step is to make the furniture a product to use, and that usually takes longer.
5. If you could chat over coffee with any designer, alive or dead, who would it be?
I would like to chat with the “very much alive” designer Konstantin Grcic, I like his rigorous job and also if I could, with Tappio Wirkala, one of the fathers of design. I have always admired his career.