Industrial designer Jordi Ribaudí founded his company, Estudio Ribaudí, which specialises in creating products and lighting, in 1996. Since then, the studio, which is based in the town of Igualada near Barcelona, has designed pieces for such well-known firms as Estiluz, LEDS-C4, Lamp, Faro, Salvi and Indecasa, among others. And, as interior designers, the studio has dreamt up new retail concepts for such renowned fashion labels as Sita Murt and Munich.
The studio comes up with ideas, nurtures them and transforms them into objects and schemes. Headed up by Ribaudí, it’s made up of a team of designers and interior designers who combine creativity, innovative use of materials and technology to create objects and interiors with a strong identity.
We recently took the opportunity to have a conversation with Ribaudí about his career so far, the evolution of his work and his studio’s future projects.
Interiors From Spain: How did you set up your studio and how has it evolved since then?
Estudi Ribaudí: Having finished my studies and – after four years working in a product design studio in Barcelona – I felt I had enough experience to establish my own design company, even though this wasn’t the case! The studio was set up by a team of five of us working in a beautiful, spacious, former factory with terraces and intriguing spaces. Since founding the studio, I’ve met many interesting people and I now realise I made a good decision to become a designer.
But I prefer not to plan my life too much but be open to any opportunities that arise, provided these bring me personal satisfaction.
Interiors From Spain: Which area do you feel more at home in – product design or industrial design? What differences are there between the way you approach projects in each field?
Estudi Ribaudí: Since practically all our interior design work is for the commercial sector, our product design projects aren’t that dissimilar.
While a house’s interior is designed to fulfill very personal needs and doesn’t have to meet any commercial requirements, when designing commercial spaces or industrial design, we have to address certain issues, namely to innovate and seduce consumers into liking what we do.
Interiors From Spain: As an interior design studio, you’ve worked for well-known Spanish fashion labels like Sita Murt and Munich. What innovative retail design ideas have you brought these brands?
Estudi Ribaudí: Primarily, to meet the need I mentioned before to attract consumers. Brands need to make themselves known to customers, to communicate a message to them and to do so they first need to grab their attention. A shop’s interior design is one of the most powerful means by which to do this. Once this has brought the brand to the client’s attention, it can bring customers into much more intimate contact with the business.
We try to focus on this process and carry it out in a way that’s relevant. This need to attract attention sometimes entails surprising people and, to achieve this, the strategy we propose to each brand is to develop a concept in keeping with its DNA, which continuously evolves and updates itself with each new shop it opens. This is especially important in the fashion world where things change every six months. Overall, we need to think in terms of a story that’s coherent but keeps changing as the brand grows.
Interiors From Spain: How would you describe the ideas behind your industrial design? What do you try to communicate via these?
Estudi Ribaudí: Ideally, I’m interested in creating objects which simultaneously resolve issues of functionality and have aesthetic qualities – and also have a paradoxical side to them. This paradoxical element is usually to do with finding something unexpected in the concept behind the product.
This ability to surprise grabs people’s attention – and awakens that part of their consciousness that enhances their appreciation of life. That said, I like to set this process in motion gently. I don’t like aggressive tactics or to bombard people with showy effects. I prefer a restrained approach.
Interiors From Spain: Your lighting stands out most among your product designs. What qualities do you think you offer lighting firms that encourage them to invest in your designs?
Estudi Ribaudí: I’d say our experience in both interior and product design has opened doors for us. But more importantly I think our clients truly value our reputation for technical expertise which enables us to be innovative and give free rein to our creativity without taking unnecessary risks. This experience gives us the strength to propose utterly new designs. What’s more, as designers, we like to chat to all those involved in a project and pool all the knowledge that different people working in such areas as sales, technology and engineering bring to it.
Interiors From Spain: Have you had any contact yet with international clients? Do you have concrete plans to approach any in particular?
Estudi Ribaudí: Yes, in fact our work in the lighting sector is opening doors for us in China. We’ve been working for some years with Spanish manufacturers which have factories in China. And this has led to us to discuss designs with manufacturers there. But this wasn’t a premeditated move since after having done a couple of research trips to China in 2011 we were left with the impression that Chinese manufacturers weren’t prepared to invest in developing original designs. But this situation is changing fast.
Interiors From Spain: What projects are you planning for the future?
Estudi Ribaudí: I’d love to devote more time to developing purely experimental, creative ideas we’d initiate and which would give us limitless freedom to go down unexplored avenues. This year, we’ve been able to spend a bit of time on this, and this has resulted in the explosion of lights we displayed in the lighting shop Biosca & Botey during Barcelona Design Week.
I’m also keen to see the studio undertake projects in sectors we’ve never worked in before. I think this is not only essential but would also be very motivating for us.