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INTERVIEW WITH JÚLIA ESQUÉ
It’s hard to concretely define the work of product designer Júlia Esqué, and perhaps that’s why we like it so much.
From her Barcelona studio, Júlia creates a design works that challenge preconceived forms and push the limits of the materials. Good examples are the knives that explore ergonomics for The Table Knife Project, the Hortensia armchair produced by Moooi or the glasses designed for the FAD Barcelona. Her designs bridges the gap between the functional and the conceptual, and remind us of all the beauty that can emerge from a reading between the lines.
N.: Could you define yourself briefly?
J.E.: I’m 34, I was born in Barcelona and I’m a product designer. A couple of years ago I stopped working for others and decided to start up on my own. Although it’s definitely not an easy route to take, slowly but surely I’m working on projects that excite me and make me happy.
N.: What inspired you to become a product designer? Was it something you always wanted to do or did you accidentally evolve towards this profession?
J.E.: I’ve always had a curiosity for objects, though when I was young I didn’t know this profession existed. My paternal grandfather was a metalworker and was always inventing things to make life easier and prettier. His workshop was under his house and every time we went to see him, he showed us some new object he’d made, so that’s probably something that stuck with me. When I decided I wanted to study product design, my family encouraged me to go for it.
N.: Explain your work process. Do you pour yourself more into the conceptual stage or the prototype stage? Is experimentation an integral part of the process for every single one of your projects?
J.E.: To tell the truth, I suffer quite a bit until I’ve completed the concept. Once I’ve got that clear, I begin to enjoy the project and let myself get carried away with experimentation and working with my hands, which helps me to progress with the project. I normally end up covering the table with models and prototypes and, based on those, I make decisions by looking at the differences between the iterations.
N.: Would you mind sharing a current project you’re excited about?
J.E.: In Catalan there’s a phrase that basically means don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched (no diguis blat fins que no sigui al sac i ben lligat). I feel something akin to that with the projects I’m working on, as if saying it out loud might bring me bad luck. But I can say that I’m working on a couple of projects I’ve been pursuing for some time and that I’m very excited about.
N.: You’ve lived in Barcelona, Lausanne and New York. Which one would you stick with and can you recommend a special or favourite spot in each of them?
J.E.: I’ll stick with Barcelona, I guess that’s why I’m here. Those experiences were incredible but we’re very lucky with the size and location of this city.
NY: “The Lot Radio”, an open-air radio station with an outdoor bar, where you can have a coffee in the morning or drink a glass of wine in the evening. It’s at a crossroads in Greenpoint, very close to McCarren Park. I don’t know what it’s like now, but at the time the atmosphere was brilliant.
Lausanne: I also have very fond memories of the “beaches” next to Lake Geneva. It has views of the French Alps and used to be the place we went to have a drink, have barbecues and go swimming.
N.: Is there something beyond your profession that draws your attention a lot or that you’re interested in learning more about?
J.E.: Yes! I’d love to know more about pattern design, to have a manual loom and to learn how to weld.