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Interview with Javier Olmeda Raya

Home > Designer Interviews > Javier Olmeda Raya

Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer Javier Olmeda Raya (JO) for A’ Design Awards and Competition. You can access the full profile of Javier Olmeda Raya by clicking here.

Interview with Javier Olmeda Raya at Tuesday 15th of April 2014
Javier Olmeda Raya
FS: Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
JO: I’ve always been very interested in both art and design, so I started an undergraduate career in Architecture School. But soon after I realized I was more interested in pursuing a career in Fine Arts. Later on I completed an Advanced Architecture Master Degree (specifically in Digital Tectonics), where I learned to operate CNC machines. After returning home worked in several young architecture and design companies. Then I became a full-time designer and opened my own studio, Constructo, where I am currently its Design Director and principal designer.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
JO: Constructo is a design-build studio which offers an array of services related to design, mainly product design and prototyping, custom furniture and interior spaces. A blend of creative, intellectual, and technical skills mingle to deliver not just high quality designs, but we also build them.

FS: What is "design" for you?
JO: A way perceiving problems as opportunities for solving everyday needs.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
JO: Ultimately I’ve been designing a lot of furniture. I like the timetable for that particular type of projects. It’s scale is manageable, and they don’t take too long from conception to completion.

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
JO: A custom-built desk for a musician/producer.

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
JO: I’ve worked a lot with wood and plastics, using CNC milling machines, Nowadays I’m very interested in working with metals.

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
JO: A any given point of the day, sometimes when sleeping, sometimes during the rush of a deadline, specially when pressure builds up...

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
JO: Geometry, ergonomics, the human scale, materials, and constructive possibilities.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
JO: I feel passion, we love what we do and do what we love.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
JO: I feel a sense of gratitude whenever I see a client happy with the final outcome.

FS: What makes a design successful?
JO: The right combination of materials, scale, and most importantly, its relevance, that is, whether it makes life better and/or easier.

FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
JO: The design field is evolving towards a user-centered approach, where designers can quickly incorporate consumers’ feedback quicker than before. New materials and technologies are providing designers with newer skills that in turn makes them push the limits of not only what can be done but how can be done.

FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
JO: It was last November, during an international Design Fair held in Ponce, Puerto Rico, were Constructo showcased some of our most iconic works to date, mainly furniture. I’d love to exhibit on an international venue in the near future.

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
JO: I’m struck with how Nature has come up with such a variety of shapes. The intrinsic geometries lying underneath it have always inspired us in our design process. Being a designer has helped me to observe and recognize patterns, formations and arrangements that can be geometrically described.

FS: Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
JO: Living and working in the Caribbean (San Juan, Puerto Rico) can be very challenging. Limited resources and high operation costs can sideline you at any moment. A shrinking economy makes everyone to be more cautious, but it is also a wonderful opportunity to foster creativity in previously unimagined ways. Our cultural heritage weigh a big deal over our designs because the way our society interact with design will definitely affect how our design approach will be. We always try to relate our designs to the region’s idiosyncrasy, so customers can understand and appreciate something they can relate to easily.

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
JO: Work as hard as you can to become a better designer. Try to get a job in a workshop and learn to build and not stay too much in the computer.

FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
JO: Positive aspects are the creative and ingenious ways we develop to solve problems, not just design-wise but in everyday life. Negative aspects may be poor managerial skills and an unwillingness to get involved in other “non-creative” aspects of a design object or product.

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
JO: There’s a geometric underlying structure for every design, nothing should be left ad hoc.

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
JO: Drawing skills are the most important. Technical drawing and 3D modeling skills help a lot. Verbal skills and public relations are also important.

FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
JO: Pencil and paper are always better for a start. We search for references over the internet, sometimes not from design fields but from other fields as well. Then we go to the digital 3D modeling softwares like Rhino, Grasshopper and Cinema 4D. Later on, digital drawings are transferred to G-codes for CNC milling machining or go straight to the workshop, where they are assembled and finished according to design specifications.

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
JO: I try to keep track of everything in my agenda. Maintaining daily schedules and to-do lists are paramount to meet deadlines.

FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
JO: Well, it depends on the scale and complexity of the object. Furniture designs usually take between 3 and 6 weeks from beginning to end.

FS: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
JO: Can you do this for yesterday?

FS: What was your most important job experience?
JO: In 2011 we designed and built the ceiling of a fine dining restaurant in downtown San Juan called Il Nuovo Perugino. There, we had the opportunity to prove our digital design and build workflow to an unprecedented level, in which design, fabrication and installation phases were done simultaneously.

FS: Who are some of your clients?
JO: We have various types of clients, roughly classified in these categories: 1) design professionals like architects, interior designers, industrial designers, engineers, contractors and visual artists; 2) particular and/or casual clients for custom-built projects; and 3) Commercial and/or institutional companies like restaurants, communications agencies, and government agencies.

FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
JO: I enjoy a lot designing in a parametric and/or associative environment, where we can set up geometrical associations between parts and wholes and the final outcome is almost a living creature, an animated object that is not fixed in space and time but rather may evolve within the environment and lets us explore many possible outcomes before entering into production phase.

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
JO: I want to travel the world, showcase my designs on international venues. Back home we have the idea of elevating our workshop to another level, establishing a creative design hub where an array of related design services are at our clients’s disposal under the same roof.

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
JO: I usually start running ideas by myself and then share them with my design and construction teams. Then I work upon the feedback generated through discussions. So it’s basically a healthy feedback loop between designers and fabricators.

FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
JO: We’re currently designing several proposals for various clients, mainly custom furniture. A wooden TV Unit/Wall partition for a loft apartment, a stainless steel/glass executive desk for a client’s home office, and furniture for a Tourism Information Center.

FS: How can people contact you?
JO: By email javi@constructodigital.com, through facebook: Javi Olmeda, through Instagram: constructopr, or by phone: +1-787-220-1242

FS: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
JO: Not at all.


FS: Thank you for providing us with this opportunity to interview you.

A’ Design Award and Competitions grants rights to press members and bloggers to use parts of this interview. This interview is provided as it is; DesignPRWire and A' Design Award and Competitions cannot be held responsible for the answers given by participating designers.


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