How do you define yourself?
Well, I’d prefer to be something else, but I think what I am is an entrepreneur.
What is your philosophy?
Our aim is to make things which will be useful for people, which are useful in a way so that people interact, talk, chat, do things together.
One way of expressing our philosophy is to sum it up under three principles, which we always try to observe. The first is to reinvent continually, which is like asking an acquaintance “who are you?” every time you meet them. Secondly, always approach people so that they understand what we are doing and they will find a use for it. The third is to have a positive attitude, not only ask “who are you?”, not only be closer to people, but also do it all the time, give answers. Make a contribution, so to say.
What is your approach to work?
We have a two-fold approach to work. First, giving an answer to concrete requests from clients – they ask for a service and you give it to them. That’s what is expected of you, but we also adopt another strategy, to which we give the none-too-original name of LAB. This second approach refers to the place where we carry out research and try out solutions which sooner or later – or even never, why not say so – will be applied in part or intuitively to the projects which have a specific client and objective in mind.
What kind of professionals form part of LEQUIP+CLARAMUNT?
Basically, young professionals. With just the right experience so they don’t make foolish mistakes, but they are also fresh enough to make a real effort and accept challenges, from which they can emerge in one of two ways – either devastated or enriched.
What is the LAB?
A purpose. A work method.
As people often say, I’m glad we’ve asked that question. I’m very glad.
The LAB consists in working on a particular approach or on a particular product before an actual client appears. Normally we have somebody in mind, we know who it could be, that is to say, really we do have a client, but they don’t know it yet. This gives us the freedom to do research. It’s like taking part in a pre-season match before starting to play for actual league points. These are not theoretical projects. They follow a specific programme with set objectives and specified hypothetical clients. They produce a number of products or solutions which go on to form part of a catalogue. Thus when a client appears, or if we bend a client’s ear to such an extent they feel it’s made especially for them, we can show them products or solutions we have actually already tested.
Importance of team work.
I only need to tell you that our name is EQUIP, which is team in Catalan. It’s a concept which means you can take on new co-workers all the time. For instance, EQUIP BTV. We decide to do a documentary about projects throughout history which were considered to be foolhardy and ended up becoming an everyday reality. There are also other foolish ideas which became spectacular follies. Maybe these are more interesting for putting on television. Who knows.
Isn’t it slightly risky designing a Galactic Hotel?
Risky, well, what you could say is that it’s a venturous idea. Let’s say it’s the type of project which you can only expect to be financed by people who come from more dynamic economic and industrial backgrounds. But things don’t always have to stay the same, you should let nothing hold you back. You can think about doing things anywhere and afterwards you just have to search around for a way to make them a reality, to find suitable collaborators.
Does the future lie in being multidisciplinary?
The relationship between architecture, jewellery and industrial design?
The future lies in working without prejudice. This will lead to you becoming interested in other fields, which then end up becoming an essential part of your work. If you are open in the way you think, you sometimes end up working together with people you wouldn’t expect to. The relationship between architecture, jewellery – which we love to call ornamentation – and industrial design can be such that right now you could also add aeronautics or space technology to the mix.
Does functionality have to make way for design?
A clothes peg is a design and it is also functional. The contradiction between function and design doesn’t actually exist. Everything we use has to go through a design process. It has to be thought about, adapted and so on. Design is neutral. Something which is true, though, is that bad designs also exist.
What do you need to do to get to do what you want?
To put things very briefly, in my experience to get to do what you want you have to be as stubborn as a mule. We can also talk about believing in what you do, persevering and continually improving, searching for and finding suitable collaborators, taking difficult decisions, risky ones, trying to avoid those which are just plain suicidal … But I think it is best summed up by the idea of being as stubborn as a mule.
In what respect do you think you have been innovative in your work?
Breaking down barriers in the sense of making proposals outside the boundaries of traditional fields. Especially with regard to flexibility in giving answers, responding to any question any client may ask, looking for all the collaborators we need to provide such a response. And if that should be a priest, then so be it. No prejudices.
Requisites for being innovative.
Managing to contribute something original and above all – something which is forgotten a lot of the time – insisting and constructing enough context for such an original idea to become a reality. Let’s say, managing to get your idea into production.
What do you have to do to be constantly innovative?
Let’s see, maybe it’s not a question of being constantly innovative, only when it’s necessary. Well, maybe we need to be innovative a lot….
What would you like to do which haven’t yet done?
Have a child with all the women I’ve fallen in love with.
Do you have to take risks to do what you want to?
Yes, but not in the sense of climbing a sheer wall without any ropes. More often than not it’s a mental risk in setting yourself challenges, which can be achieved little by little.
Does Barcelona provide you with work?
Yes, certainly, of course it does, no doubt about it.
What does your ideal house need to have?
Yes, of course.
Your paradise? A place where you could lose yourself?
I’d lose myself with her in a city like Bandar Seri Begawan where I wouldn’t be carrying a map, nor a guide, nor money …you know what I mean.
Latest projects. What are you doing at the moment?
Housing in Montsià, Catalonia; hotels in Mallorca, Barcelona, Lisbon, Beijing. All sounds very grand, but it’s nothing special really. Just plastering ….
And the Galactic Suites.