The Current Spanish Design Market

Interiors from Spain is an initiative of ICEX Spain Trade and Investment, The Spanish foreign trade body aimed at promoting design from Spain, including lighting and furniture to the international architectural and design community. The platform offers interior designers a showcase of the latest ideas, trends and product launches coming from the country.

darc got the chance to speak with Pablo Conde Diez del Corral, Director of Fashion, Habitat and Cultural Industries at ICEX and of Interiors from Spain, to discuss how the evolution of interior design has looked in Spain.

“Many design studios have adopted a multidisciplinary approach to encompass all aspects of design including ephemeral spaces, branding, interior and product design,” he says. “The new generation of Spanish interior designers are as likely to be as interested in graphics, industrial design or even event organising as they are in interior design. Another feature that characterises the Spanish design industry are the close ties between design and manufacturing. Spain has a rich manufacturing tradition that includes furniture, lighting and textiles, and there is real interest both from interior designers and clients on products with authentic provenance that have their roots in the artisanal tradition of our industry.”

When looking at the relationship between light within interior design, Conde claims that it is a “fundamental element in any interior design project in Spain”.

“A key characteristic of lighting design in Spain is connected to the weather,” he goes on to explain. “The sunnier climate in Spain, with more daylight hours than any other country in Europe, means that designing with natural light is commonplace. Designers often need to incorporate daylight into their designs, taking into account energy and climate factors.

“There is a strong tradition of industrial development and traditional craft workshops, with materials such as metal and wood, in certain areas of the country, which means that there is a plethora of lighting manufacturers capable of supplying luminaries in all sorts of styles: from the traditional brass chandeliers to  understated, sleek designs in metal, wood and recyclable materials,” he says.

Looking at trends appearing in the country at the moment, it appears Spain continues to be on par with global attitudes towards design, with Conde explaining that sustainability is at the heart of current influences.

“In recent years, the Spanish interior design industry has been increasingly working towards sustainability with more and more clients demanding eco-friendly materials and low-energy solutions.

“Also, due to the recent Covid-19 crisis, some of Spain’s most international interior designers are looking at the possibilities of incorporating cross-sectional design, that integrates versatility with health and wellbeing. In the lighting industry, this means luminaires that provide good, restful lighting, which are as functional as they are beautiful and well-proportioned.”

For the purpose of this article, Conde caught up with some Spanish interior designers to get a flavour of how the design industry is reacting to current changes. Ramón Esteve, of Ramón Esteve Éstudio, explains that space versatility is key: “Home design is going to have to respond to the needs for privacy and intimacy, taking into account all its inhabitants, especially with regard to teleworking, and terraces and balconies are going to be revalued.”

Designer Héctor Ruiz Velázquez stresses that, “on top of functional and aesthetic aspects, special attention should be paid to ergonomics implemented in our homes”.

Francesc Rifé explains that this crisis “encourages us to rethink the relationship between society and space. From now on, we believe that we will need to design interiors giving them a much more functional, optimal and healthy approach”.

Conde adds: “His studio has always designed around spatial order, but he thinks it will be crucial to reinforce this aspect to improve personal relationships; “Get the mess in order”.”

Héctor Ruiz Velázquez told Conde that “regulating the spaces we share after a health episode of such dimensions will require a multidisciplinary consensus by many experts from different areas, obviously, including essential health professionals as well.”

Conde adds: “Equipo Creativo told me that the design industry will emerge strengthened from the current situation since it provides products and services that can make people comfortable, protected and delighted. They hope that post-Covid-19, design will generate healthier socialising habits, “confinement has encouraged the idea that our homes can house disparate uses such as high-end restaurants, offices, nightclubs, or gyms. It is not unreasonable to think that home interior design should incorporate something of the design of such places, allowing inhabitants to transform their spaces according to how they want to use them. A very attractive challenge”.”

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