Martí GuixéProduct + Graphic Designer (1964-)
Selector for 25/25 - Celebrating 25 Years of Design
29 March - 22 June 2007
Dedicated to inventing “brilliantly simple ideas of a curious seriousness”, MARTI GUIXE divides his time between his native Barcelona and Berlin. Dubbing himself an “ex-designer”, he designs products for Authentics and shoe shops for Camper as well as conceptual projects.
As a “product designer who hates objects” Martí Guixé faces something of a conundrum. He reconciles himself to his professional role of continuing to develop new products because “I need to use them” and by focusing on the functionality of his designs, rather than what they look like and the materials they are made from.
Born in Barcelona in 1964, Guíxé studied interior design there and then industrial design at Milan Polytechnic. After working as a design consultant in Seoul during the mid-1990s, he began a long collaboration with Camper, the Spanish shoe retailer, in 1998 by designing its store in London. He has since designed Camper stores all over the world developing a distinctive design for each one within the same visual language of anarchic illustrations and anti-materialistic slogans on its packaging such as “If you don’t need it, don’t buy it” on Camper’s bags.
The same anarchic humour is reflected in the rest of Guíxé’s work: from rolls of sticky tape printed with images of an ornate picture frame or of footballs so that the tape can be rolled up to form a ball, to the Key Brush he designed for Die Imaginäre Manufaktur in Berlin with the bristles dangling from the shape of a key.
See more of Martí Guíxé’s work at guixe.com
© Design Museum
Q. The tagline for your website is “Brilliantly simple and curiously serious”. What does it mean? And how is it expressed in your work?
A. It is something that somebody used to describe what the "something special" was in the products I was creating and developing.
Q. How do you define your role as a designer?
A. Problem solver and object stylist
Q. How has that definition changed as your career has evolved?
A. Me, as ex-designer, I am trying to work with contemporary parameters of consumerism.
Q. Can you identify the key experiences that have influenced the development of your work and career?
A. The key experience is trying to be and to think contemporary
Q. Looking back at your work so far, which projects are you most pleased with?
A. The ones that try not to look beautiful through shape and material.
Q. What are your objectives as a designer now?
A. As ex-designer, I am interested in systems.
Q. You were once quoted as saying: “I’ve been trying to eliminate the form of the project and to design it as pure function”, do you feel that you have successfully achieved this in your work. If so, how?
A. There are several products in which the shape is not important and the function is more important. I think the way to do that is working basically with ideas, so that the shapes and materials become anecdotic.
Q. How do you divide your time – and your work – between Barcelona and Berlin?
A. I have no physical infrastructure for my work. Instead it is based in a net of advisers and collaborators with whom I communicate through internet. If you work like that where you are isn’t important.
Q. Many of your projects deal with food, both its creation and consumption, why is this?
A. Contrary to what a lot of people think, I am not interested in gastronomy, eating, or food in general, and I cannot cook. I am interested in food, as I consider it is a mass consumption product and I like the fact that it is a product that disappears – by ingestion – and is transformed into energy.
For many years food has no longer been a necessity but a consumer product. As such it is possible to design food, yet few people seem to realise this. We have the chefs who in a very traditional way cook as a craftsmanship – by hand with hand tools – and we have the opposite extreme of highly industrialised food developed by engineers and marketers, which imitates the shape of traditional food. To make an analogy, it is as if we one chair made by hand in the traditional way - without ergonomics – and another chair made in cheap plastic in an imitation of the shape of the hand-made one. Who cares then about the parameters of the culture of the project, ergonomics, usability, aesthetics or function?
In my food projects, the edible products are based on the idea of developing food products that to fit a contemporary way of life. They have to meet the demands of a more complex lifestyle and are de-territorialised – to become meta-territorial – as part of the kitsch element of traditional food comes from the geographic-emotive location of each kind of product.
Q. Which of your food projects has proved most satisfying to you – and why?
A. Very few. Most of my food projects are not commercial, but are a way of defining a new perception of this kind of product. I think that the food industry is too conservative. Small companies which want to take a big step into the market – the global market - could take a advantage of this situation.
Q. Why did you create the Martí Guixé Cookbook?
A. The cookbook is produced by an art publisher and is a compilation of some of my edible products produced for the purpose of documentation. Note that I started in early 1997 and the design scene at that time did not take me seriously.
Q. What inspired the Foodball concept that you developed for Camper?
A. Foodball is by the idea that nowadays we have artificial junk food that looks home-made, but should be different. So we developed a new type of semi-industrialised natural food in a contemporary shape – the ball – which is easy to buy and to digest. It’s good food that can be eaten fast and helps us to live long.
© Design Museum
1964 Born in Barcelona
1983 Studies interior design at Elisava in Barcelona.
1986 Enrols on an industrial design course at Milan Polytechnic.
1994 Begins two years as a consultant in Seoul.
1998 Designs his first stores for Camper in London and Barcelona, and develops the Flamp (fosfor Lamp) which glows in the dark for 20 minutes unaided by electricity for H20 in Barcelona.
1999 Works on his first product for Authentics by designing an apron collection and starts a collaboration with Droog Design by participating in the Oranienbaum project.
2000 Designs the Football Tape and develops the concept for the FoodPack, a collection of pills chosen to get you through the working day.
2002 Continues to design for Camper and Authentics. Co-founds Indoor Publishers and starts to develop products for Cha-cha in Barcelona.
2003 Publishes the books Martí Guixé 1:1 with 010 Publishers in the Netherlands and Martí Guixé: Libre de Contexte with Birkhäuser in Germany. Designs the Christmas decorations for the city of Barcelona.
2004 Develops the Foodball concept of fast eating for Camper and publishes the Martí Guixé Cookbook. Creates Skip Furniture, a series of plastic chairs painted with statements – objects based on attitudes instead of shapes and materials.
2005 Involved in Wrappinghood project, using different kinds of packaging to wrap sites in Middlesbrough.
2006 Second Camper Foodball shop opens Berlin. Food Facility launches in Amsterdam.
2007 Selector for 25/25 - Celebrating 25 Years of Design at the Design Museum 29 March - 22 June.
© Design Museum
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