Diego Ramos (Barcelona, 1978) is not only an industrial designer to keep in mind in this city, but also the name of his design studio through which he has worked with big names like Armand Basi or Eastpak. However, we are more into his more artistic work like the Geo Vases project, his COOL_umpio stool or the Cool Pets chairs (check out his your workhere). Ramos has drawn the attention of international audiences, with exhibitions in Mexico, Brazil, London or Tokyo. We have interviewed him about one of his latest projects, the curatorship of the highly recommended Demo ADI at DHUB.
Why did you create Demo? What did you miss? How did the current edition come up?
At ADI FAD we were interested in complementing the DELTA awards, which recognize the work of industrial designers and production companies, with a proposal that shows projects more consistent with the changes in existing creative structures. We were interested in giving prominence to proposals associated with new technologies, new materials or approaches half way between craft and industry.
You have curated Demo, a series of workshops, conferences, seminars and activities about industrial design and its creative process. Tell us something about the program, something to have an idea of what we can find there.
I think you can’t miss the conferences by Tomas Alonso and Peter Marigold at DHUB, or the ones by Kim Thome, Luis Eslava and Sander Wassink in different Universities. A good day to appreciate what’s the philosophy behind DEMO is February 28th at Design Hub Barcelona. The day starts with breakfast with chocolate and churros courtesy of Hand Creative Mornings; then there is a set of conferences by designers Peter Marigold, Ethel Barahona, Monika Rikic and Breaded Escalope. The afternoon will be devoted to workshops and the presentation of different projects. We will have workshops for young audiences to discover electronics, another one around SUGRU (a perfect material for repairing and customizing material) and a workshop to create an instrument with a pencil. We will end the day with presentations of what’s been done in the workshop ADI FAD + HANGAR, about the Internet of Things, and the presentation of the projectLove Me Blender, all this in the context of an architectural installation by the MAIO studio.
Demo ADI stresses the importance of avoiding endogamy. Do you think it is a common evil today? What steps have you taken to ensure that it doesn’t happen?
We understand design as a ubiquitous element of our daily lives, which is why we believe all activities have to appeal to the widest possible audience. At DEMO there’s material for designers but also for potential users. Collaborations with Universities, shops, restaurants or kids workshops allow to reach wider audience.
Do not want to be inbred: we propose content not only for designers but for all potential users
What did you learn from the first edition that is now present in this second one?
The first edition had a format that gave importance to the dissemination of content, but what really interested us was to create specific proposals through partnerships to create our own content. This approach is the DNA project.
What most caught my attention is the creation of content live, such as Love me Blender, a performance by the Breaded Escalope studio to work with wood with a makeshift steam engine. Can you tell us a little bit more about it and about other content we will see at DEMO?
In the first edition an exhibition at Vinçon showing how an exhibition was ‘created’ from scratch with 3D printers was very successful. This formula worked very well, as it allowed the audience to see the actual development of the project. Under this premise, we have invited the Austrian Breaded Escalope studio to present the project Love Me Bender, proposing the creation of products such as a machine to bend wood under the DIY philosophy. During the first week at DEMO, they will assemble a machine and fabricate parts live. The result is displayed on February 28 within the day DEMO. Apart from the Breaded Escalope proposal, we will also present a collaboration with Comaxurros and four design studios, an exhibition with what’s been don’t at the HANGAR + ADI FAD workshop and an installation by MAIO architectural studio.
As a curator, on what basis do you select participants?
Everything in DEMO shares an experimental vision in product design. They’re all demos, proposals in the making’. We don’t know if they will eventually be developed or incorporated in production structures, but they challenge creative processes and structures.
How do you see Barcelona from the rest of Europe in the field of industrial design?
I think Barcelona has a potential to become a reference city in any creative field. It is one of the European cities with more design schools, with more organizations to promote industrial design, and it has great capacity to welcome creative profiles, but there’s something that is not working. Maybe it’s the lack of industrial muscle to support these designers, or the short-term approach of institutions what is preventing Barcelona from becoming an international reference.
As an industrial designer you’ve worked for large companies such Armand Basi or Eastpak, but also for smaller projects like Assortment. Which one do you prefer?
The idea is for projects to provide feedback. The most experimental projects provide feedback to the most conventional ones. For me this duality is very important in the functioning of the studio because it keeps you fresh and active.
Most pilots feed to study more conventional projects
What are you working on right now?
Right now we are finishing the extension of the Union Switzerland jewelry shop and working on the creative direction of a new Barcelona-based contemporary luxury brand. I’m also teaching at Massana. From an experimental perspective, I am ‘playing’ with neons and conductive ceramics.
Your favourite hotspots in Barcelona?
You can’t stop listening to…
Radios on the beach
You never thought you’d end up…
Discovering things, enjoying the moment