Q&A with Jordi Vilardell
Jordi Vilardell is a Barcelona based designer who since 1998 has had his own design studio in the city where he works within different sectors while maintaining and developing a specialization in decorative and architectural lighting. Over the years he has worked with Vibia to create collections like Balance, Puck Wall Art, Slim and Wind for Vibia as well as the Match, Halley, Meridiano and Suite lamps in collaboration with Meritxell Vidal.
-Can you name a work of art, a book and a place that every hopeful designer should know about?
I would suggest a book that was first published when I was still a student and that helped me understand the way a project should be approached: How Objects are Born written by Bruno Munari. He describes in a wonderful way how to come to grips with methodology using many varied examples of work.
-A daily ritual that you could not live without?
On a day-to-day basis I am in the habit of turning on the radio first thing in the morning and, more recently, checking various digital publications to get my news. I just can’t help myself, unless I’m on vacation I have to check it.
-Do you prefer the sea, mountain or the city?
I was born, have lived and work in Barcelona, a city caught between the sea and the mountains. Perhaps because of that I enjoy all three habitats. At certain times I need to be close to the sea in order to contemplate an open horizon, or hike through the mountains to discover the landscape to be found there or lose myself by exploring a city or village.
-What are three adjectives that define your product design?
I try to make my designs evolutionary, in a structural way, whether it be by conception or the application of materials that are sourced from new technologies. From a functional point of view I would define them as warm, they are meant to be comforting, pleasant and reassuring where they are used. Formally I would define them as simple; they are simple by nature without any formal complexity.
-Your favorite breakfast?
My favourite breakfast starts with pa amb tomàquet (tomato bread) accompanied by something healthy and ending with a coffee made in the traditional and correct way, using freshly ground Italian roast beans… a fixed ritual to prepare me for the day with the wind at my back.
-Is there a particular season that inspires you most?
I can’t really say that I notice an influence in terms of inspiration given that in each project extensive research work is required and these projects come along at any time during the year. What I can say is that I am positively affected by the sun’s light during the spring when the days get brighter, making for a livelier and more expansive working environment.
-Something that you would like to learn during the years ahead?
Very recently I had the chance to become involved with sumi-e painting, a really simple art form, subtle and poetic that puts a great emphasis on the expression of the senses of emptiness and fullness, through the control of energy in the gesture of the stroke. More than anything else I like to experiment with the abstract approach.
-An iconic piece of design that you’d like to have in your own home?
Thinking about how nature is incorporated into the home interior I would like to have an Albero plant stand designed by Achille Castiglioni for Zanotta. I’d like to take advantage of this interview to encourage the company to re-release the design (hint, hint).
-If you weren’t a designer what would you like to be?
I was brought up the Catalonian countryside, an area outside of Barcelona that has now disappeared. In this context I had to use my imagination a lot – I built my own toys and created games within the scene of the surrounding pastures and fields. From the beginning I thought about being a farmer or a carpenter. One day at school I came across a book about industrial design. From that moment on I was decided, I can honestly say that a book changed my professional life.