Ana Mir (born in Valencia in 1969) and Emili Padrós (Barcelona, 1969) both did an MA in industrial design at Central St Martin’s in London. Since 1996, they’ve worked together under the name Emiliana Design Studio, creating products and furniture. They also curate and design exhibitions.
The majority of their designs, ideas and concepts have been displayed in international touring exhibitions (at MOMA in New York, in Milan, Paris, Tokyo and Sydney), while some are in the permanent collections of the Fonds National d´Art Contemporain (the National Fund for Contemporary Art) in Paris, the Indianapolis Museum of Art and Barcelona’s DHUB (Design Hub Barcelona).
Interiors from Spain hooked up with them to find out what really makes them tick
Interiors From Spain: Emiliana Design (which fuses the names Ana and Emili) sometimes work as a sudio and sometimes independently. How do you think you complement each other and what do you each bring to the business?
Emiliana Design: We’ve never given up doing personal projects – we’ll always continue to. And we like the idea that we can have also have separate but parallel careers. As for the creative process behind working collectively that happens pretty naturally. It’s the result of a great deal of thinking, collaboration and dialogue. Sometimes one of us initiates a project and the other adds things to it, questions it, suggests trying out other routes or solutions. We’re not saying it’s easy, but ultimately we’re happy with what we end up.
IFS: Throughout your career you’ve created various installations with a didactic quality. Are you particularly interested in this approach?
Emiliana Design: For many years, design has been associated with notions of exclusivity and glamour. And while people are gradually starting to appreciate design for such qualities as functionality, efficiency, sustainability etc, we think there’s still a lot of room for improvement. So, when we’ve curated such shows as Alehop, Diseños Ingenios y Remedios (Design, Clever Ideas and Solutions) and Happy End: 10 Design Processes, we’ve wanted to demonstrate to people what’s interesting about our profession, the social, economic and environmental repercussions of design and always in an accessible way.
IFS: Do you always have a similar method of working? What are the main inspirations and reference points in your work?
Emiliana Design: Yes, we always work in a similar way even though our clients are different. Each project demands something different from us and we consider ourselves fortunate to be able to work on such varied ones. With each project we devote a lot of time to thinking of and imagining scenarios, making models and experimenting with materials as well as observing how people actually use the staff that surrounds them.
IFS: Are there any types of product or space which you haven’t yet designed but would like to?
Emiliana Design: We’d love to design a school/ workshop for children. We’ve already designed various products for children. It would be interesting to see all our designs for children together.
IFS: Do you have a favourite everyday design? And is there one of your designs which you’re particularly proud of?
Emiliana Design: We like such basic and functional things as clothes pegs – they’re so clever – or simple coffee spoons. As for our designs, we can’t single one out, but it’s difficult for designers not to feel proud of their projects – both those which are commercially successful and those which have never seen the light of day.
IFS: What do you think are the latest trends in design? And what do you think users value more – an object’s functionality or its emotional impact?
Emiliana Design: Consumers have become more mature and exacting in their tastes, while the products on the market are becoming more and more varied, in terms of styles, prices and quality. So users simply need to learn to choose ones which they feel are most relevant to them.
IFS: What’s your view on the future of design in Spain and the new generations of young Spanish designers now launching their careers?
Emiliana Design: Design graduates are increasingly better prepared for the real world. There are lots of young designers who are very keen to create things and this is the most important quality for anyone to have when launching a career.
IFS: What future projects and new challenges await Emiliana Design?
Emiliana Design: In the future we want to carry on working with both Spanish and international companies – and putting the unmistakeable Emiliana stamp on our designs. We want to continue to be enthusiastic about what we do and create products which bring something new to the business as well as to users’ lives. We also want our products to have an enduring appeal, to transcend mere fashion and fleeting fads.