Interview with Enrique Minguez, designer of Manga Bench, a piece of urban furniture inspired by marine life that may trigger emotions in both urban and natural contexts. He tells about how his university professor told him he was her worst student she ever had, and how delighted he is to have won this prize.
Why did you choose to pursue a career as a product designer? When did you realize you wanted to pursue this as a career?
Product design is the perfect example of taking into account every little detail. Thanks to product design we have a way to perpetuate our essence in the future through designs. I realized that I had a special sensitivity for the shapes of the products admiring the works of great designers such as Mies van der Rohe, Louis Poulsen or Karim Rasihd, who made me feel that I wanted to convey the beauty that they transmitted in their products so that, people, like me, could connect with those forms.
How does it make you feel to win this award?
I am very proud to receive an award like this. In this award there are a lot of levels, as you can see in the different categories, and that a prestigious jury chooses your design as the best is a dream. In addition, and I say this for all those students who are reading this interview, at the university the creativity teacher told me that I was the worst student she had ever had in her life; that a competition like London International Creative Competition, which is mainly supported by creativity, recognizes a design, is the proof that if you are sure of something you have not to give up, even if you encounter obstacles along the way.
What do you feel makes your work stand out, that drew the judges’ attention to it?
I think what most attracts the attention of our designs, is the control of the curve and the soul that contains the product. Each of our products has been produced by the formal abstraction of something, so I think that we not only make furniture,our furniture has a soul and transmits the essence of what we have based it to create it.
How did the idea behind your winning project come about?
As I said before, everything starts from a formal abstraction. In the case of the Manga bench it is a dolphin. You are inspired by the dolphin, you try to understand its curves, its movement, its sinuosity and what is the interaction with the environment, in this case the water. From there it’s work and a few drops of magic haha
What do you see as the most significant difficulties and opportunities in your current job/industry?
We are very positive and we always see more opportunities than difficulties, but it is true that the furniture market is very crowded with super companies that have macro production systems against which we cannot compete, but that is precisely where we have to find the opportunity. Creating a product that moves away from a usual production, that has a high added value, looking for sustainability and above all, that provides a value that is currently weak nowadays, the value of a design product.
Tell us a bit about your creative process. Where do you find your inspiration?
Inspiration is something variable, that you can not control, but there is a reality, when it comes you have to find yourself working or, at least, with a notebook and a pen. We are involved in a world that sends us millions of inputs per second, we are overexposed to inspiration, but it is up to us to know how to take advantage of it for what you want. Inspiration requires patience and observation. 99% of the time watching and studying and 1% of the time creating.
What impact does your background have on your work?
I am quite young, I am 27 years old, but I am very lucky because I collaborate with my father, who transmits me all his experience, and usually solves almost all the doubts I find. QZ Urban Furniture has only 2 years of life, but it comes from an architecture studio called Enrique Mínguez architects with 30 years of experience, so that you can feel the experience with our products. Obviously, the more experience the better, but I follow the rule that if I don’t know something I can ask. Lack of experience should not be a reason to not accept a job, in many cases.
Who or what are your biggest artistic influences?
As I said before, my great artistic influences are very varied. If we go to a clean and clear line I would allude to Mondrian and Mies van der Rohe, if we talk about the purity of the materials I would say Norman Foster, Louis Pulsen and the design brand Alessi, if we attend to a change of mentality in the production process we must name the Eames, Phantom and the design brand Vitra, if we talk about cleanliness in design and sinuous shapes we must name Karim Rashid, Zaha Hadid and the design brand Vondom… My influences are very varied and I am very proud of this, but there are many more influences to name such as pictorial, architectural, historical… We have been receiving influences since we were born.
How has your own style evolved over time?
When I started designing, I designed very defined products with a very specific framework, because I worked for others, when I started as a freelancer I still had that mentality, until I read an interview in which they said that we could not be designing products for the fact of design, we had to do it to transmit and leave our mark on history, from there, I realized that was what I really wanted to do. Few elements, but with a high quality.
What are your long-term professional objectives?
Without wanting to sound presumptuous, I want to become one of the best designers in the world. I want my firm to be known as an example of good design, and the designs I can make for other brands also follow that mindset. I am aware that I have a very long way to go and there are many designers in the world, very very good, but I think our beginning is to be very optimistic.
What significance does your art represent for you personally, and for your audience?
I believe that art is the ability to awaken feelings, essence, soul, in a work. This work can be a painting, a book, a building or a product. That is for me the art, and what I try to achieve in each design, therefore, for me is the core of my products. And I think for my audience it is the same..
How do you envision the future of your industry? What do you see as the most significant difficulties and opportunities?
The future is very uncertain, but I see it positively. I think that thanks to sustainability, more value is being given to unique products, and that causes the designs to be better. With the incorporation of generative design, along with new materials, there will be a revolution in the design of products, and it will be in the hands of designers to incorporate the soul into those elements created by computers.
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