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Interview with Smallgran Team

Home > Designer Interviews > Smallgran Team

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

Interview with Smallgran Team at Friday 19th of May 2017

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?
ST: Since childhood, the three of us have been developing our sense of creativity, in addition to design, in fields such as music, dance, photography, computer science ... always working the self-taught spirit.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
ST: The studio was planned since we were in the same college class in Valencia, and we discovered our concerns and interests. Although before we founded it, we separated through Europe to finish our studies for returning with a better formation to Valencia, where we found it in 2015. And we are currently a design agency that offers services to companies, both nationally and internationally. And although we mainly focus on product design, we have also done everything from graphic design work to interior design and microarchitecture. As for the product design, sometimes we carry out the whole design process with all its phases, and other times we intervene in some specific aspect of product development that requires an improvement.

FS: What is "design" for you?
ST: A tool that optimizes the objects and processes that surround us and that we use to live better.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
ST: We feel very comfortable working with designs dedicated to leisure and daily life, because they end up being the most fun. But we also like to deal with technical problems of complex products, which sometimes require us to learn about some new discipline.

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
ST: We do not prefer any design, in general. We believe that each one is better or worse depending on the objective pursued.

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
ST: Our first job was graphic design, it was a logo for a new brand of volcanic water. But our first product design work was an adapted version of one of our existing products.

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
ST: We like material sincerity, but we do not have any preferred material, we like to use the solutions that work best for the purpose of each project. Although right now we are enjoying experimenting with 3D printing. We also have a special feelings to ceramics, a tradition rooted in our area, with which we work almost daily to make our Álsol pitcher.

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
ST: Francesc: In general, I'm more creative when I'm walking around, by far different from when I'm sitting. Luis: The more ideas I have, the more I am facing concrete problems in order to find the solution that is the best and the most optimal. Carles: I have moments in which I unleash my creativity thanks to social environments

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
ST: We focus on simplicity. We continually question whether our idea is the simplest and most efficient solution or whether it could be further optimized.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
ST: We usually feel amusingly euphoric when we solve the problem and get the solution. It is a very rewarding feeling.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
ST: We become euphoric and have a moment of nonsense. Sometimes we jump for joy.

FS: What makes a design successful?
ST: The fact that the business objectives of the company are met with the highest possible efficiency.

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
ST: In order to judge our designs, we only consider how it fulfills the previously defined objectives.

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
ST: We think that a designer should have his own principles and follow them when choosing a job. The ethical and ecological criteria of each designer may be different and we may all be wrong, but the important thing is that you have taken them into account to use your principles and make decisions that you sincerely believe are the correct ones.

FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
ST: It seems to be gaining presence additive manufacturing and the design aimed at it, which allows great adaptability and customization. Also, old techinques are being revalued because of the romanticism they imply. Apparently, people will have more and more reasons to feel a special attachment to their objects.

FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
ST: The last one was in the Russafart 2016, an open day of artists and designers of the city of Valencia. We had been on quite a few exhibits before, but from that one we concentrated on preparing new jobs.

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
ST: Depending on the nature of the project we look for inspiration on one site or another. So far we have been inspired by concepts such as Mediterranean culture, everyday life, craftwork ... Also in problems or desires that have marked us at some point.

FS: How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
ST: We define it as functional and close. We believe that the design has to be used to meet objectives efficiently and bluntly. Even aesthetics we understand as a function, if we have to work on it. We like people to perceive and understand the value of design.

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?
ST: The three of us live in Valencia. This place has clearly inspired many of our works, based on the Valencian and Mediterranean lifestyle in general. We have also influenced the processes and materials we have used for products and packagings: ceramics, jute...

FS: How do you work with companies?
ST: We invite everyone to come to our study to talk. In our study we chat and exchanged our ideas. We also invite them to see us work, and sometimes they do.

FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
ST: Let them take good care of their work and and not just their fame or reputation. And rationally decide if the designer's job fits your needs.

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
ST: We first study the company and its environment, its competence, its general objectives and what it intends to achieve with the design. We try to synthesize their need well before approaching and generating ideas. Then we use our knowledge and tools to evaluate and improve them in detail.

FS: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
ST: Those in which we have worked: the chair, the pitcher, the glass, and the shelf and whatever it contains.

FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
ST: We get up at 8 and meet in the basement of Luis's grandmother in l'Eliana, where we have installed our studio-workshop. First we catch up with the common work, we organize and finally get to work until we have met our daily goals, beyond going on a fixed day. To gather strength, in the middle of the morning we make a break at 11:30 to have sandwiches with a beer.

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
ST: We are still young, but we would tell them to talk to the experienced designers they know to try to avoid the mistakes they have made. We did it, and thanks to it we can now allow more advanced errors.

FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
ST: A positive thing about being a designer is to be able to face new and different problems in each job, avoiding routine or boredom. On the other hand, something frustrating in this work is to see how sometimes creativity is limited by the demand demands of time, which prevents to develop some good ideas as we would like. Although more than a negative aspect, we would say that this is part of the design challenge.

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
ST: Always start from the most basic and simple concept with which you can represent a solution, and after that, question all the improvements that are proposed. Increasing the complexity of a solution should be avoided if it is not well justified.

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
ST: Ability to observe the environment and people, to detect the key issues that lead to design opportunities. Also tolerance to error in generating ideas, but then you have to have a good rational judgment to filter them.

FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
ST: We use A1 sheets of paper where the three at the same time raise the problems and organize the ways of the solutions. Then, we make individual drawings on paper to develop them. And when the design is more advanced, we use the computer and software to optimize in detail and present the solution with the help of design programs, CAD tools and photorealistic images.

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
ST: When we start a project, we divide the work into phases and distribute responsibilities, so that each one ensures that his work meets the correct times within the project objective. Every Monday we meet and check the workload and times. And we catch up three times a week.

FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
ST: It is difficult to say exactly what is considered the beginning of the design process, because you have already started when you are seeing processes and objects every day. And it is also risky to say that a design has an end, since to do this you have to be absolutely sure that in the future it can not be improved when, for example, a new technology appears or the users have modified their needs.

FS: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
ST: So far, we have been asked many times about what exactly we are dedicated to.

FS: What was your most important job experience?
ST: Our first great client. He contacted us through a 3D printing service that we made and with which he was very satisfied. From this simple work emerged a series of works dedicated to his company.

FS: Who are some of your clients?
ST: A Philippine volcanic water mark, a Valencian rock music band, a local public high school, an international emerging chain of restaurants ...

FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
ST: We have enjoyed furniture and household products designed according to our own goals. Goals that we had set ourselves. With these designs we introduce ourselves to the world and demonstrate our design skills. Some of them have been brought into production and have been released by ourselves, like the Álsol picther.

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
ST: We expect to focus more exclusively on product design, catering to new companies that are looking for product design services of any kind.

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
ST: We work as a team. Ideas have the participation of all of us in almost equal parts, either generating or developing them.

FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
ST: We have a design ready to be published as an open design. We are also working on some designs focused on 3D printing.

FS: How can people contact you?
ST: By any means of those that appear in our web. Phone, mail, filling out the form ... although what we really like is to pay us a visit in our studio.


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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