The Barcelona based designer Valeria Vasi was born in Moscow and moved to Spain with her mother aged six. Valeria went on to work in fashion for years to then eventually transform into a designer.
Valeria lives with her partner interior designer in a cosy sixth-floor home-cum- studio apartment in Clot neighbourhood. They designed and fabricated much of their studio themselves, and it shows. The apartment is clean, open, organised but at the same time stuffed with details. Art, drawings, books, and furniture are all arrayed and densely layered.
As a summer heat rolled up and broke open over Barcelona, we sat down with Valeria to talk about her process, art, design, childhood memories.
Is there any artwork, that you would never give away?
My mom’s first works from college. They have an incredible emotional value
I´m curious to know what kind of house you grew up in.
My childhood was partly in the Soviet Union so it was a very humble apartment in a commune house. I remember it as a tough time but also very warm and with a big sense of community. During hard times we were all like a big family helping each other.
Do you have any visual memory of something in the house that got your attention?
In Russian homes there were always a heavy mix of wallpapers and rugs everywhere.
When would you consider that you encountered art for the first time?
My mom used to live out of her art when I was little, so I guess since an early age I unconsciously have it at home. She used to take me to all sorts of art exhibitions, theatre, ballets, etc. I guess she educated me in a way that art was like eating or sleeping...part of our lives.
Are you sometimes nostalgic about your childhood?
Yes, I’ve been raised between Moscow and Barcelona, my Dad still lives in Russia and it’s been difficult for me to live in between two different cultures. One of the things that I’m most nostalgic about is when I spend summers in the countryside with my grandparents. It was a small town surrounded by great forests and where they used to have beautiful orchards plenty of vegetables and fruits. They cooked for me the best dishes I ever had and taught me to be in tune with nature. They lived all-year-round out of what they seeded, how they preserved the food for the long winters and the dedication that they had was so inspiring.
Are you a workaholic?
I think when you have the chance to do what you really like and fullfils you then you don’t consider it as “work”. Even when there are challenging moments, you enjoy the ride and those long hours will ultimately pay off.
How many vases do you have?
Many! With my partner we’ve been collecting ceramics and other artisanal objects during all our trips, so we have quite a collection at home!
How long have you been living in Barcelona?
On and off about 20 years and after travelling so much I feel at home here.
Are you interested in any other living artist at all?
Yes, of course. There are many that I admire within different artistic expressions. The Mexican artist Jose Davila is one of my favorite sculptors, his pieces are harmoniously balanced and he uses industrial and raw materials. I also like the Japanese floral artist Azuma Makoto who creates botanical sculptures and takes flowers and plants into a whole new level or Nicholas Shurey who creates beautiful wooden sculptures.
What do you do when you are not working at your studio?
One of the things I like the most is to spend time in nature, feel rooted and linked to the essential, which is very necessary to renew the energy.
I also enjoy all kind of manual arts, like sculpture or pottery or the Japanese floral art, Ikebana. When you work with your hands with natural or raw materials it’s a meditative and a very enriching process.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m developing a new line and also a very special collaboration that will be out very soon!