José de la Guerra ( Santander 1779- Santa Barbara 1858)

A Spaniard settling in California

Don José de la Guerra y Noriega was born in Novales, Santander, Spain in 1779. At the age of 13 he went to Mexico, and later joined the army. First as an alférez Making his way up to lieutenant, commandant, deputy, etc… From 1815, De La Guerra served at Santa Barbara, becoming captain in 1817, he was popularly known as El Capitán.

Jose de la Guerra was a visionary in his time. He raised his thirteen children with his wife, Maria Antonia Carrillo, to straddle Hispanic and Anglo cultures. One of his sons, Pablo, achieved great prominence as a lawyer, statesman, and judge. An original signer of the California Constitution and one of the state’s first elected senators, Pablo was an outspoken supporter of Hispanic rights and an advocate for the suffrage of Native Americans. His home and family life remained in Santa Barbara County where he oversaw the running of the families vast properties including Rancho San Julian which he was granted in 1837. It has been lived on and run by his descendants ever since.

A profound love and respect for the land has been passed from generation to generation for over eight generations. In the early 1930’s, A. Dibblee Poett, Francisca’s grandson, became interested in the concepts of biodynamic farming in the country and began practicing integrated systems of raising livestock and growing produce.

Today, his nephew, James Poett, continues the business of raising cattle within a sustainable system on Rancho San Julian, now 14,000 acres of prime grazing land. The ranch, which is graced by forests of California Live Oak, also grows a variety of vegetables, grapes, and lavender, continues a tradition of environmental stewardship, and utilizes solar power in a watering system designed to protect its many creeks and arroyos. His daughter Elizabeth Partridge Poett, who was born and raised on the ranch, has recently joined the family business, focusing her attention on growing Rancho San Julian and

Interview -Såper

A  Dream Project

Organic Skincare

How did the idea of creating Såper came along?

It all started as a dream - a dream to be able to offer the best products to allow people to bring out the best in themselves, and to have a sensory experience, relax, enjoy, and feel good. It was a dream to create unique products, like tailor-made suits, hand-made by artisans, without any artificial components, and minimalist. We are on a path to exactly that.

Victoria graduated in art history, and specialized in restoration; maybe that is why her creations are so unique, and nurtured to the very last detail. She tests formulas for months, until she arrives at an extraordinary product that will inspire peace, and a love for life - a piece of art for the skin.

Her brother, Fernando, has always had a special interest in the environment. He graduated in science and environmental politics in the US and, after working for over 15 years as a corporate environmental consultant, has also discovered his passion - a commitment to offering the best possible products, searching for the best raw materials, and enjoying the clients' feedback.

We had ideas, now we have resources, and we are making it happen. These dreams were born out of the difficulty finding certified products that were also organic, made with 100% natural raw ingredients that were cold pressed. The goal is really to become accessible to all, to 'democratize' natural cosmetics.

What do you hope to achieve with your brand?

We are humbly walking the path according to our life principles, growing slowly and being connected to those principles. We cannot separate our professional life from our personal one. We are convinced that green is not just a trend, it’s here to stay, and one just has to try it to see that the results speak for themselves.

For us, the success is to be able to do what we like. We would like to continue growing like that, growing in our capabilities, and finding the formulas from the heart, while also maintaining quality and a social commitment, surrounding ourselves with good people, helping to achieve a better world, since there will be no future if it is not a green one.

What are the concepts behind your brand’s philosophy?

It is important that all of our products are exceptional. First, we have to understand that life is about enjoying what you do. We are pushed by clients who congratulate us because they feel it when they try our products, and that feeds our passion, and helps us keep producing the best quality organic products. Second, it's about transparency and quality. By using the best available raw ingredients of the highest quality, or Certification Category 1, we believe this is the only way of caring for the planet, and giving people's skin a chance to regenerate, to be able to breathe again, and to feel good. Third, it's about environmental sustainability. All our products are vegan, and none have been tested on animals. If we can we always use local ingredients, and green ingredients, we can protect the environment. Plastics are our enemy, and that is why we pack all our products in the best containers out there. We tried glass, and we fell in love with it. Last, it's about the best team and collaborators. We surround ourselves with brilliant people who share our philosophy, and the values we encourage at Såper.

Another dream?

We would love to have an information center with tools to help people learn about the bad ingredients found in the majority of cosmetics out there, and this way contribute to make the world a better place and more sustainable - making our health better, and that of the environment.


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.