Interview for CASA VIVA_nº132 (may 2008)

You are brothers and, although Javier is industrial designer and Jose Luis interior designer, both you demonstrate to have a creative talent. Is design a innate, genetic, innate capacity?

Let us think that no; in fact in our family we did not find antecedents related to the creation. In our case everything has been very circumstantial; in a beginning, I Javier, began to study architecture but luckily immediately I understood the amount of bureaucratic, normative, economic conditioners, etc., that accompany and condition the purely creative process and to both months of course I renounced; I was more concretely decided then by the product design, or the one of furniture when discovering as a series of great architects were boarded this discipline. This way, when beginning my studies in the Schools of Arts and Offices, little by little I was introducing in my house books, magazines, etc. on a profession that at that time was difficult to explain; thus, once smoothed the way my brother Jose Luis was decided to study interior design, perhaps thinking about even complementing a future collaboration and the creation of a common studio, since thus he has been.

When you decided to begin to work together, how did you make one's way?  How many years you take working in the field of the design?

We really began to work together from the years of studies, participating in any aid who crossed to us in the way, forcing to us to make scale models, prototypes, allowing us to know the design from its part more practical, stepping on carpenter shops, factories, that they forced to us to understand like being constructed the things, not only as they were drawn. We always joke saying that like I, Javier, am 40 years old, and Jose Luis, is 38, we had been those 38 years working together.

How is a day of work in your study?  How many people you form it?

The study is formed only by us two, which happens is that Jose Luis works as well in an architect studio, with which I take the daily tasks of the studio; We consider the work like designers of a quite peculiar way; we are not particularly methodical, enchants to us to create anywhere (in fact we consider any Starbucks as a branch of our studio), we don´t like to work with haste, we prefer to have many open projects that allow us to jump from one to another one when we are saturated of someone, together with the orders that we receive from different manufacturers we like to develop self-orders, that sometimes they get to find producer; somehow the creative exposition, that together with most pragmatic, guides anyone of our projects, we project it on the own working of the studio.

The power of invention is something personal and, perhaps it is associated to the individuality.  Is difficult the creation process when it becomes between two people?

No, at least in our case in which the roles are enough defined; whereas Javier takes care of the processes more clearly creative, Jose Luis contributes, perhaps by his work in the field of the architecture, the most pragmatic and operative glance of the studio; something that works to us wonderfully is to verify like the precise critic, fresher and less saturated, of Jose Luis it approaches the expositions of the processes raised by Javier in the daily work; to say it of another way, an external critic is needed that often the designer is not able to perceive, locked up in its own process.

In your designs predominates the lines but above all the curves. Some of them transmit a sensation of maelstrom (the stairs of Vertigo carpet)and others cause calm and harmony (the Zen bench or the Pleamar).  Must the design reflect the emotions or take priority its functionality?

Sincerely we do not know what to answer; it amuses much to us when through our designs it is tried to analyze us, although what we expect is that our designs are not a reflection of our emotions, because easily could be catalogued to us like schizophrenics. In fact what we have very sure and what we always try, is that the development of each project is justified in itself; the fact that in certain designs, for example, predominates the straight lines on the curves, or vice versa, it is explained in the own process, understanding in he himself come together multitude of technical, material, economic conditioners, etc., etc.

You have made industrial works, and also design of public furniture, whereupon you would remain?

With whatever it allows us to vary, to experience, to investigate, to approach new challenges; to be able to jump from the intimate scale of a cup to the urban distance of bollard, from the gentleness of the porcelain to the forcefulness of the concrete.

In your letter of presentation you aim that “it desires to give the jump to you of the story to the novel”.  How do you breathe life into a space or an object?

When designing any object which we try is to contribute a new glance on he himself, to say somehow we try it to discover the meaning first and deep one of “the table” that allows to contribute our vision of a new table.

When we speak of giving the jump of the story to the novel, which we want to express is the desire to pass to define the object in itself, with a few concrete limits and whose relations with the rest of the system of the objects it escapes from us since we do not know the area in which the buyer or the user is going to insert it, to define places where to orchestrate the above mentioned relation, where to harmonize simultaneously the whole range of conditioners as they are the light, the scale, the circulations, the privacy, the color, etc., etc.

Pragmatism, reflection, concept, illusion, word, search, thought, chance, poetry, critic… these are some of the words that present your page in Internet.  Do you define with them your work or you prefer not to put labels?

We define not the result of our work, that since already we have explained is the result in each case of the own development and internal justification, but an exposition by which the reflection is previous and is over the formalization; we follow a process of relatively slow work beginning by a phase of conceptualization, of reflection around the object to design; this process, relatively extensive, allows us, once obtained the reflective keys of the project, to sketch very quickly a solution formalized; we never justify an object in its own form and much less in its image, that is really háptic an excluding simplification of meaning, mainly considering that we are product designers, and that at the moment seem to be a tendency extended enough.

We´ll not speak of minimalism. You prefer the essentialism term, that essentialism that the society of the consumption has lost to pass to the overproduction, to the excess of necessities, the new necessities pre-created by the system. What does differentiate the minimalist of the essential thing?

We rejected the minimalism like recipe book, understood like mere formal repertoire, as simple catalogue of applied formal solutions of a mechanical way; we prefer the term essentialism understood like exposition by which each design, each product is born and it is developed showing its basic and sufficient character, without added that they disturb it; this approach, although is paradoxical, could give as result a baroque design, whenever it is justified in itself. To say it somehow, in díez+díez design we are not shut off from use any formal label a priori, we try that our designs have style, not a style.

You consider yourselves buyers and users before designers.  Is it a strategy looked for approaching to your public at the time of designing a product or simply it come up unconsciously as a way of work?

Well, we think that both things happen simultaneously; we never design something that we would not like to buy, to have or to enjoy in our houses, in the cities that we cross, in the restaurants that we visit. When we design we try to visualize the life of that object in real environment, accompanying to somebody in its daily life; that motivates much more than imagining it in the covers of the magazines or the display cabinets of a museum.

Art and poetry. You describe your work from appointments of illustrious personages in the world of the letters.  Are reflected these interests in your creations?

If we left from the base of which we consider the occupation of designers like an existential activity that is nourished mainly of the experience, it is natural to think that our readings, the cinema that we see, the cities that we walk about, the conversations with the friends, etc., are seen somehow reflected in our work.

You say that you are not interested in museums, neither the prizes, nor to see your pieces in the covers of the magazines. How do you understand the success?

The greater success than we understand for our work is to think that somebody in any store, in any catalogue, chooses among other one of our designs, not by our name, nor by it to have seen thousand times advertised, but because it thinks that it can contribute something to him in its life.

You like “to design for people”.  How could become the world of the design a social means within reach of everybody?

Rejecting for the profession of the design the stupid and absurd exposition of star system, the flashes and spangles; assuming that we create the daily environment of people and that while people continue perceiving our work like a distant materialization, expensive and inaccessible, the design will not let inhabit a ghetto for privileged and expert; we would not have either to forget to us the manufacturer, of the industrialist, without who the work of the designer would not happen to be simple entelechy theoretical and onanist; I believe that certain self-satisfied tendencies in the artistic and supposedly experimental aspect of the design are making distrust the producer, whose last mission, we do not forget it is the one to sell, and that like industrial designers, we would have to share. Let us think that as designers we must become the intermediate link between manufacturer and consumer, proposing to that the degree of experimentation, imagination and innovation that this one demands and is able to assimilate.

How is actually the exact degree between the contemporary and the timeless?

In our case the objective of the contemporanity we try to fulfill it from the resolution of the real necessities, not induced artificially, of people, we did not try to design today for the world the morning; the atemporality is come off the null interest that we have by the tendencies or the fashions, thinking and wishing that a design that we developed today could be valid within 20 years.

How much of functionality and how much of beauty in the design?

The maximum that the product that we are developing is able to assume without overflowing anyone of their other qualities.

The design, would have to be an element more of social critic? Something that you have wanted to denounce with some of your designs.

We understand that in the case of the product design, unlike the communicational or graphic design or that counts with more explicit and effective tools, it does not have to be understood like a critical activity; in fact we thought that if we took the critical reflection until its last consequences within the product design, the last conclusion would be the same questioning  of our profession; at the present time the design is understood in its immense majority like mere tool of generation of new features and not like which it would have to be, this is, the instrument that allowed a qualitative evolution us, and not only quantitative, of our material surroundings. We thought that more effective tools exist to try to make critic social, for example maintaining an activism civic and political militant, belonging to parties, unions, NGOs, etc., etc.; with our work, the only thing that we try is that this material scene that surrounds to us every day to not complicates the life us, but that us facilitates it, who allow us to center to us in the really important things that they are the ideas, the feelings, the people.

Some of your future projects, if you can tell it…

Right now we are planning  a project born of which we name self-order and that is the result of the evolution of many years of some of our conceptual expositions as much formal; one is a program of office tables, that also will be able to work in the domestic space, revolutionized; at level of sketches or first draft we have presented it to a reduced number of friends (architects, colleagues, directors of magazines) who have animated to us to continue, mainly before the fact of not knowing anything similar.

What would you like to design and you still haven´t had a chance to do it?

We have it very clear: a hotel; that would be the great jump of the story to the novel that before we spoke.

An ideal material to work.

The ideas.

A designer or a design that you admire deeply.

Miquel Milá; in fact in our studio we have a poster that, paraphrasing to Billy Wilder in relation to Lubisch, says “ How Milá would do it?”.

How must be the ideal house?

Really lived, not simply decorated.

A music to work.

You’ve just touching on a delicate matter and origin of the greater and deeper discrepancy within díez+díez diseño (Laughs). Whereas Javier prefers without no doubt the jazz and mainly to Miles Davis and if you request a disc to me would be the Kind of Blues, Jose Luis remains with Tom Waits and his Bone Machine.

One hour of the day to create.

Anyone in which we are outside the studio.

A city in which to lose yourself.

Anyone, with the condition of not bearing by a street plane.

A book to be surprised

We cannot opt just for one; if you allow us we will choose four; “Portrait of Giacometti” of James Lord, “Wabi Sabi for artists, designers, poets and philosophers” of Leonard Koren, “Breviary of the aurora” of Rafael Argullol and “the eyes of the skin” of Juhani Pallasmaa.

A peculiar anecdote of your years like designers

Well, in certain occasion in an article for a magazine they introduced us like Javier Díez and Jose Luis Díez, friends (they didn’t say that we were brothers); perhaps the key of the good operation of our studio resides there, in working simply like friends.