WHAT IS DESIGNT?
by Alberto Lievore, Jeannette Altherr and Manel Molina
This question is not
easy to answer, but it leads to a reflection. Thinking about our work over the years, we
have learnt how complex everything is, and thus how difficult it is to define without
imposing limits, and that this is especially difficult in something as open as a design
activity. We may know, however, what our own intentions are. We try to avoid reducing the
object to a mere cultural manifestation. In every project, after accepting the entire
complexity of the phenomenon, we try not to sacrifice anything, form or function, reason
or sensitivity, art or technique, innovation or continuity, etc. We try to achieve a dense
form, loaded with meaning and the result of a complex system of balanced forces.
We try to achieve the serene tension that is generated by the absence of a dominant value.
We try to put this ideological programme into practice in all our designs, however
different they may be. This is not a style or a language or formal rhetoric, but an
abstract principle, a guiding principle that works beyond any formal language. Yet on the
other hand it is not exactly a style. The shapes resulting from a design process
constitute a discourse, but are not its starting point. To start from the shape would be
to impose limits on ourselves in advance, and would represent a restriction. (...)
by Josep M. Font
(...) Commonly, even
in domestic environments where there is an educated view and usage of objects, the typical
cliches appear in the spaces for children; either an unconditional application of the most
prestigious children's esthetic, for example, the highly commercial Disney range; or, an
excessive concern for educational values, such as "educational furniture" (often
Nordic or German, made of wood, with the three basic colours and strict, pure, geometrical
forms), with results that are materials more suited for psychological, or even
psychiatric, treatment than as a relaxed leisure space for children.
In this context, the proposals made by the project Bambini are especially interesting, and
its appearance fills a gap in this type of furnishings. It is a series with several
complementary elements that all share the same basic principles. Both the functional and
symbolic aspects adapt to the changes in size, needs and attitudes of the child user.
(...) In all of them, stylistic neutrality means the complements (pillows, bedspreads,
general room decoration, etc.) can adapt the objects to the wishes of the user and of
their inevitable advisors (parents, uncles and aunts, grandparents, etc.), as they can be
adapted depending on the age of each child. Even the cot, the most formally expressive
element, thanks to its warm white finish (the material is made from resin and almond
shells) adapts to these transformations, because, according to the authors there is no
such thing as an ideal child, only the ideal of a child, which is within all of us.