Interview-Greg Peñate

Designing by conviction


QUESTION: Why did architecture become your objective?

ANSWER: I was aware very early on in my life that putting things together was an easy, enjoyable task for me. From dismantling my first bicycle at the age of six to building ramps and greasing my skateboard wheels in my early teens. I’ve never had family ties to the subject but the idea of building was somehow ingrained in me. I remember vividly making small camps on the beach in Las Canteras (Gran Canaria) from my mother and aunt’s towels and beach stools. It felt right to create these enclosures to sit in. I would help the 'hamacas' guy to set up in the morning and clear in the evening, which provided endless possibilities of assembling labyrinth like structures resembling a giant a 'meccano' set to play in. As I grew up these ideas constantly evolved, I’d rearrange my bedroom various times a month and built tree houses in the woods of Den Haag, Holland. As a teenager I spent a lot of time skateboarding the cities where I lived and would spend endless hours looking for ledges to grind and natural ramps form by the architecture of the time. My desire to find the best spots to skate took me through all the little back streets and squares in a way made me understand materials, spaces and forms from which I still draw inspiration. Today I love the to walk around London, the metropolis I now live in, simply looking up.

Q: What are the ideas that inspire you in architecture?

A: I've never been a great reader so I've always been about observing and trying to make my own understanding of what should be.  

Today's Zeitgeist I suppose.

Q: What are projects that inspire you.

A: A lot of piers have exited me in architecture. Mies Van de Rohe, Le Corbusier, Frank LLoyd Wright. The list is long. Other work includes: Castevecchio by Carlos Scarpa; Kimbell Art Museum &  Philip Exeter Academy Library by Louis Kahn; Leca Swimming Pool and interiors by Alvaro Siza; Museum of Roman Art, Bankinter and Kursall Auditorium & by Rafeal Moneo; César Manrique in general and his role in Lanzarote's, Canary Islands development in architecture and the early Gothic Cathedral of the country I live in. The list is long and it covers a diverse spectrum of ideas and inspiration

Q: Materials you like to work with?

A: I am a firm believer in vernacular architecture, allowing a building to be grounded in its context. Materials sourced from buildings surrounding that flow through its form, and enable its function is the only way in my mind. That doesn't mean you can't play with other materials, but they must be strategically tailored into your design accordingly.

Q: A place where you wish you could live?

A: There are so many places I have visited so it's a hard one to answer. At present I'm happy in this land that I call home but I would definitely love to move closer to South West coast where the landscape is lush and the inspiration endless. (Sorry RR) Also I have an affinity to Northern Spain. The food is better over on mother land!

Q: Where would you like to see yourself creatively in 5 years.

A: I would hope to have my own little thing started up. A little studio to paint and develop small projects would be great.

Interview- Amaia Zabala

Azabala Studio

Fashion designer

ANSWER #1: I've always been interested in people's faces. There was a time when I use to draw people, and that led me to dressing them and that made me pay attention to what they were wearing.

ANSWER #3: Be the master of my own time.

ANSWER# 5: I would like to take on portrait collages again.

Interview- Itziar Orbegozo

Itziar Orbegozo

Director & photographer

QUESTION: When do you decide to take on video and photo as a career?

ANSWER: What I really enjoyed as a child was to build sets and tell little stories. At home we had a chest full of costumes, and on Saturdays, while everyone slept, I went quite far in developing the stories of these imaginary characters I would dress up as!

When I studied Fine Arts in college, I reconnected. Somehow, I dug deep into what really interested me. Not only was I making up the characters, but also the stories of people who I saw on my day to day. People I didn't know inspired memories of past times and places.

Video ( photography came later on) was for me a place for all that content. The way of capturing in one big box all the stories and places. The same way a perfumist has different scents, I had video. And editing was the final glass bottle where I kept all my fantasies.

Q: A moment or place that you cherish in your memory? 

A: Garro, our 'caserío' (Basque traditional house), which my grandfather bought before we were born, and where we spend our childhood. Now as grown ups, we still go but it is not the same!

In the 'caserío' is where I have cared for cows, I've seen lamb being born, I have raised cats, we have been painters, and also landscape artists. On rainy days, we would collect clay from the puddles around the house, and make figures that would have hay in it and pebbles, and they would look a bit like monsters. We would spend 2 or 3 months there and the day we left we would sing in Basque:

“Oi baserritxo hartuko dezu bihotz barrenetikan mihin eskerrak mihirik ez dezun eta ezin dezun gaur hitzegin. zenbait famili hazi dituzun Jainkuak bakarrik jakin,

orain bakarrik uzten zaituzte, ondotik danak aldegin. “

(Oh little 'caserío', your heart deep insie is going to hurt. Thankfully you have no tongue, and you cannot speak today. How many families have cared for you, only God knows, now they leave you alone, they all escape run from your side)

Q: A dream project? 

A: To make a movie.

Q: Ideas that inspire you?

A: People and what I make up about them. Is inevitable. It is almost like breathing to me. Also the women that have achieved what they wanted.

When I read Louise Bourgeois or Miranda July I get very excited. I admire women who are able to do what moves them, because they have had to fight much more than a man to achieve it.

Q: Concepts or characters that influence your work? 

A: My first impact was the 'Nouvelle Vague' from directors such as Eric Rhomer or Truffaut. Also The Collector's film aesthetic, and the place where it takes place in the French countryside. The house in the film, reminds me of our 'caserío'. The sound of the pebbles on the road from the approaching cars leading to the house, which you hear from inside. I have felt all of this, and it becomes a mix of memory and imagination, and you do not want to stop remembering!

In that same period I also came across Michel Gondry's work. I acquired his concept of low cost and hand made. And also that in music videos everything is doable.

Nowadays, I use Instagram to get to know artists that are not well known and it would be very hard to know them any other way. I am fascinated lately by Isabella Killoran's work.

In general, any image if by its colors or shapes transports me far from every day life, it will be valid for inspiration to me.

Q: En qué momento decides dedicarte al video y foto?

A: En realidad lo que a mi me ha gustado desde pequeña ha sido montar escenarios y contar historietas, lo he hecho desde que tengo uso de razón. En casa teníamos un baúl lleno de disfraces, y cada sábado, mientras todos dormían, yo me dedicaba a crear personajes y situaciones. La verdad es que me iba bastante lejos en el desarrollo de la vida de estas imaginarias personas!

Cuando entré en la universidad de Bellas Artes, hubo una reconexión. De alguna manera, removí y rebusqué qué era lo que realmente me interesaba. Me fuí dando cuenta de que además de inventar personajes, me inventaba historias de personas que veía en el día a día, personas que no conocía pero que a mí me emulaban lugares o épocas pasadas.

El vídeo (la fotografía vino mas tarde), era para mí el continente de todo este contenido. La manera de atrapar y meter en una caja estas historias o lugares. Así como el que hace perfume tiene sus propios botes de cristal, yo tenía el video para estas historias.
El video y sobre todo el montaje son el frasco donde guardo mis fantasías.

Q: Un lugar o momento que guardes con cariño en tu memoria?

A: Garro, nuestro caserío, que mi abuelo compró antes de que nacieramos y el lugar donde hemos pasado nuestra infancia. Ahora siendo mayores seguimos yendo pero ya no es lo mismo!
En el caserío he cuidado vacas, he visto nacer ovejas, he criado gatos, hemos sido pintores de brocha gorda y pintores de paisajes. Los días de mal tiempo recogiamos el barro del alrededor y haciamos monigotes y como el barro era natural pues los monigotes tenian trozos de paja y piedras en la cara, lo cual los hacia un poco monstruosos.

Pasabamos dos o tres meses ahí hasta volver a la escuela. Y el dia que nos ibamos, con todo el coche lleno llenisimo (eramos 4 hermanas y mis padres, todos en un coche), cantabamos al caserio un bertso en euskera que decía;

“Oi baserritxo hartuko dezu bihotz barrenetikan mihin eskerrak mihirik ez dezun eta ezin dezun gaur hitzegin. zenbait famili hazi dituzun Jainkuak bakarrik jakin, orain bakarrik uzten zaituzte, ondotik danak aldegin. “

(Oh pequeño caserío
te va a doler el corazón muy adentro
menos mal que no tienes lengua
y no puedes hablar hoy.
Cuántas familias has criado
sólo Dios lo sabe
ahora te dejan solo todos escapan de tu lado. )

Q: Un proyecto que sueñas con realizar? 

A: Hacer una película.

Q: Ideas o temas que te inspiren?

A: Las personas y lo que me invento de ellas. Es inevitable esto que hago. Es como respirar casi. También las mujeres que han conseguido hacer lo que querían hacer.
Leo a Louise Bourgeois o a Miranda July y me vengo arriba. Admiro mucho a las mujeres que consiguen hacer lo que les mueve, porque han tenido que pelear mucho más que un hombre por ello.

Q: Conceptos o personajes que te influyan? 

A: Mi primer impacto fueron las películas de la nouvelle vague de directores como Eric Rhomer o Truffaut. La estética de La Coleccionista, el lugar donde ocurre, la campiña francesa... La casa donde se rodó esta película me recordaba mucho al caserío. El sonido que hacen los coches al llegar por el camino de piedritas en la película, que se oye mientras alguien esta dentro de la casa, esa sensación mezclada con el calor del verano y el salitre de después del baño matinal en el mar...Todo esto lo he vivido y si además el que llega en coche es un francés guapo y con estilo pues se convierte en una mezcla de recuerdo e imaginación en el que no quieres dejar de vivir!

En la misma época que la Nouvelle Vague conocí el trabajo de Michel Gondry.
De ahí me apropié la idea del low cost y de las cosas hechas a mano.
Y también de que en un videoclip, todo vale.
A día de hoy, utilizo mucho Instagram para conocer gente o artistas que no son muy conocidos y que de otra manera sería imposible.
Ultimamente me fascina mucho el trabajo de Isabella Killoran.
En general, cualquier imagen por los colores o formas que tenga y que me transporte lejos de la vida de a pie me vale para inspirarme. 

Interview- Siete Formas

Turning wood

wood artisans

QUESTION: How does the idea of Siete Formas conceptualize?

ANSWER: Siete Formas conceptualized little by little, as we improved working with the lathe, we were able to materialize ideas and designs, and it turned out to be something more than just a hobby.

Q: What are 5 materials that inspire you?

A: Generally we are inspired by materials of natural origin, especially wood and earth. Other three could be iron, glass and textile.

Q: One dream piece or object to still be made by you?

A: We still have many dream pieces to make. We are thrilled about designing a wooden and textile chair in collaboration with Ábbatte, on which we are working on now.

Q: One place that inspires you greatly, where you could live without limitations?

A: We love the country-side and we would love to live in places like Asturias, La Vera and Guadalajara, without losing our contact with Madrid.

Q: Where you would like to be in 5 years with this project?

A: We would love to have established ourselves financially, to have grown as designers, improving technically and having been able to expand projects and disciplines within the brand. In essence, to not stop learning.