Have you ever wondered what industrial designers do? First time I heard this term I literally imagined a person designing some kind of big industrial construction or manufactured tools, someone working on the construction site? I couldn´t be further from the truth.
According to foolproof Google,
Industrial designers develop concepts for manufactured products, such as cars, home appliances, and toys. They combine art, business, and engineering to make products that people use every day. Industrial designers focus on the user experience in creating style and function for a particular gadget or appliance.
Oh and the film to watch this weekend and realize how far we came is ¨Lotte am Bauhaus´, a German public television production, drawing inspiration from a figure of Alma Siedhoff- Buscher, who developed toys specially designed for children.
Meeting Alejandra is really like meeting someone you feel is just on their way of becoming a recognized artist/designer.
One, of course, shouldn't care about appearances, especially when meeting intellectuals but really you cannot help yourself from thinking she is just a beautiful person from inside out.
For those who don't know who you are, could you introduce yourself?
My name is Alejandra Perini, I am Italian Colombian and I currently live in Barcelona where I practice my profession as an industrial designer.
I'm not an artist, but I find that if I have any kind of creative project going I feel more alive.
Can you share a bit about your background and how you came to designing?
I grew up in a family of artisans, my mother is a ceramist and my father runs a metal casting workshop in Colombia. Thanks to them, since I was little I had direct contact with materials and I suppose that´s how my interest in design began.
At the age of 18, I travelled to Switzerland where I started training in industrial design at ECAL (Art University of Lausanne Switzerland).
After graduating, I decided to travel to Barcelona and continue my career in this city.
What is the best and worst thing about studying design in both Spain and Switzerland?
One of the best things about having studied in Switzerland were the people I met, the contacts I made and really everything that helped me to continuously learn from all of these people.
Also, the communication tools and the teaching tools that the university provides to the students.
It's really hard to think of the worst. I´d say the weather.
I can see the light of Barcelona—the pinks, light blue, orange, and the greens of the cacti and succulents—in your products. How does place inform your work? Do you think that Barcelona is a place where you can find the right artisans and industrial producers?
The place where I live or where I move greatly influences my work and is part of my day today. Barcelona is a perfect mix of urbanity, nature and cultural variety, therefore it directly influences all my work.
Regarding artisans and industry in the city, Barcelona and its surroundings have many good professionals. Sometimes it is not so easy to find them, especially since I am not from here, but you can always find them if you look close enough. I think that working with local artisans and professionals is the best exchange and enrichment between a designer and his/her environment.
How are objects born? Do you start by finding somebody or something - like the type of glass you work with, the methacrylate, that is quite specific- and then think of things to do with that, or is it the other way around?
I like to first think about the experience that the user may have with the object, or instead of a space with this product. I am interested in generating emotion through an object/piece.
For example, I designed this project with a friend and great designer Josep Duran.
What we were looking for was an object that could be transformed into space. Transform itself as an object and transform the space with the interaction between it and natural elements with natural light, time, colour. Therefore, transparency.
Hence the search for a resistant, durable material and finally a design that functionally and formally will generate the least possible waste and easy transport to have the least impact on the environment.
What is the most attractive stage or the one you enjoy the most: the search for references, when you have and develop the idea, the process itself, or see the finished piece?
I think that each stage has its beauty and charm, I enjoy the whole process.
But personally what I enjoy the most is the prototyping and the corrections that are applied to get the result I am looking for.
Does art have to be useful in terms of practicality? Do you think there are still barriers between design, art and photography?
For me, art does not have to be practical, but it can be.
I think that art, design and photography feed from each other.I don't think there are any barriers between them, opposite, they complement each other.
Each one can live separately but if they come together there is a great result.
It's like a pretty rich mix of utility, beauty, and communication.
You have faced multiple projects within product design: from BOLIA, Warm Nordic, Sebastian Alberdi Studio to Ox Gallery. What has contributed to you being able to cover such different projects? What do you do at Octaevo?
I find it very enriching to collaborate with artisans and professionals from other fields.
This has contributed a lot to me being flexible in different projects.
I like to get out of my comfort zone and experiment with new materials or new forming techniques, a different use, emotion or experience that I want to transmit, this has also contributed a lot when working with different clients.
At Octaevo I work as an in-house product designer with the creative director Marcel Baer.
It all starts with the brand's design department developing the creative part concepts, ideas, uses. After production and finally art direction and sale of products.
Octaevo is a brand in Barcelona that seeks to transmit the Mediterranean culture through its products, so it is important to know the history behind each object.
And finally, any new project in hand that you can tell us about? Where do you see yourself in a couple of years?
Right now I am collaborating with friends and other designers on different projects and competitions. I can still give many details but as soon as one of these projects comes out I will tell you.
In a couple of years with our current reality, it is a little difficult to plan, but I have the idea together with a friend in common, Camila, with whom I am currently doing a project, to start our "atelier/brand" supporting production in Colombia and promoting the crafts of our country with our designs and products.
Text by Marta Marszalek