The Barcelona-based trio rethinks manufacturing as part of the design process, rather than an expense
Few creative teams are aware of the impact of design as Gauzak, the trio working on the basis that design is undeniably present in every object and every moment around them. Gauzak Design was born in January 2011 when three Spanish designers from very different backgrounds put their heads together in Barcelona. The trio met in school studying industrial design, but they each explored different tracks post-graduation. As interior and graphic designers, painters and photographers working in branding and packaging—even working with animation and CGI—Leire Pérez, Juan Tomás Carboneras and Arkaitz Arco had more than the necessary experience to reconvene, create a brainstorm and an entirely next-level design studio. To this day, they consider each of these former professions and hobbies critical to the gorgeous designs they currently produce.
Over the past two years, Gauzak has designed furniture, lighting and home accessories and dabbled in sleek, eco-friendly food packaging. With products in stores, others standing as models and a handful waiting for funding to hit the assembly line—their designs, no matter how substantial—are exquisitely simple. Their most successful line is currently produced and distributed by Quattria and made of wire with metallic and leather details. Marc, the magazine rack and coffee table; Camps, the umbrella holder; and Jorge, the book and magazine stand, are each crafted around a minimal steel wire frame taking on totally unconventional shapes. "We have a variety of expectations for our work," explains Arco, "Sometimes it's about reimagining interpretations of use, sometimes enjoyment with a functionality, aesthetic or emotional uniqueness. When possible, we try to give our products social values, like a long and useful life."
In the case of the Quattria designs, the client arrives with needs to be resolved, but other than that, the Gauzak team arrives at an idea themselves and seeks a producer from there. The Hutsik workspace is their most highly anticipated precedent. To achieve the ultimate drafting-style desk—thinking productivity and aesthetics—the designers streamlined to ameliorate the workplace, adjusting ambiance with introspective design. With high standards come high stakes, and the team has been considering crowd-funding to make the Hutsik a workspace reality, hoping for in-house production.
"We are a young studio," says Arco. "We hope to consolidate. We have encountered a difficult situation here, even in all of Europe, with de-localized manufacturing processes given the hard economic times. A lot of companies continue with the old fashioned way of thinking, paying only royalties and viewing the manufacturing as an expense rather than as a way to improve and innovate, approaching their products as the users." Fortunately for the design world, tides are changing and it's becoming increasingly common to see companies and designers reversing this outdated point of view, making the production process a part of the design process once more.
For Gauzak, no step is more or less important than the next. "Either way, we see three steps that determine the project. The briefing, the conceptual part and the final adjustments before the production." More often than not, during the briefing phase the trio plays a card game that helps generate disruptive ways of arriving at a solution. Sometimes, "The concepts get really crazy—we understand the fun as a potential." The conceptual process is the link between the briefing, the ideas and the production solutions, and finally the adjustment phase—the polished product.
But with all their varsity-level skills, the Gauzak team is hoping to reach even further, such as projects that pass and redefine the boundaries of physical design. "We see all kinds of potential in objects that can be controlled, with apps that could offer all new services for their users."
Images courtesy of Gauzak