Valentina Glez Wohlers or simply Val, is a young creative born in Mexico City, currently professing in London. Aside from being a designer, she is currently teaching creativity and design in several colleges. We find her dynamic spirit and so called “proactive craziness” charming and we think they mirror well in the creations below. Today’s interview is about emotions, boldness and an innate feel for art. Enjoy!
- Freshome: What determined your passion for design? Tell us about the moment when you decided this is the way to go.
- Val: Since I remember I always had a colour pencil and a piece of paper at hand. My mother nurtured me -from a very early age- with the greatest classical music composers, fine arts and literature. She will literally drag me into museums and made my attention focus in the art works, asking me what I like about the piece: colour, volume, shapes, materials, textures, and so on. On the other hand, my father was always building something from the scratch, sourcing and transforming materials by hand. I guess the combination of the appreciation of the Arts and design, together with the hands-on experience of actually making functional objects, triggered my passion for designing and making things.
Ghost of a Chair
- Freshome: Can you remember your first design project? Describe it a bit, whether it is a gizmo you worked at as a little kid or something that was sold at a large scale.
- Val: I think it came out of not finding a particular piece of furniture that we liked in the marked (this is like 20 years ago, when the furniture market back in Mexico was quite limited) So, instead of getting something we didn’t like that much and met our needs half-way, we decided to do it ourselves. I did some sketches, based in things we liked and according to what we were needing –function, dimensions, materials, finishes- and we passed it to a local carpenter. Three weeks later we got our amazing free-standing bookshelf/storage-unit/entertainment-centre! I was really proud, excited with the outcomes and looking forward to our next project: a bed side-table! Years later I decided to study Industrial Design with a major indoors architecture.
- Freshome: What field of design are you most interested in? Do your works have anything to do with it ? (We are asking this because not many designers do what they actually want)
- Val: I have a passion for spatial design and volumes. I guess is the relation between the human body and space that surrounds it. How people respond to the objects, environment and context around them. Based on this, the closest to the human body (garments aside) are the objects created to fulfil functions related with work, rest, leisure, etc. Furniture objects establish a dialogue, a link, between the human body and the spaces that accommodate them both. Hence, furniture and narrative environments are what interest me the most.
Abstract Low table
- Freshome: Chronologically describe what you are going through (feeling and thoughts) on your way to work.
- Val: I’m a ‘list’ person, I’m constantly writing down to-do lists in a mind-mapping kind of way. At work I think strategically, what to do next. When it comes to get things done and results, for me it’s about planning and efficiency. Every morning, at the time I’m sitting on my studio, I already know what I have to do and I just get on with it. 7am. I wake up and turn on my ipod in shuffle mode. It always get it right: good tunes to start the day! 7.30am. I do the bed and go to the kitchen: freshly squeeze grapefruit juice is the first thing I have in the morning. 8am. I get comfortably dressed (jeans & t-shirt) and head to my studio, 5 min walking from home, where I have a strong and large coffee with toast, while catching up with emails. 9am. My day starts with a clear head, positive attitude and hands-on spirit!
- Freshome: What is your favourite book/magazine on design? How about your favourite site?
- Val: I think I will go for Art World, Monocle, Creative Review, Art Review, and -as a guilty pleasure- the World of Interiors. However, I’m a huge fan of The Economist, Time Out and the cultural section of The Guardian online. For websites, I like Dezeen, Design Matters, “Would be nice if” blog, etc
Abstract Low table red
- Freshome: What inspires you?
- Val: Nature, architecture, sculpture. Fine Arts.
- Freshome: What is the most frustrating aspect of your job as a designer?
- Val: When one has to relay on third parties that are not as committed as one is. (pushing people around!) Is not always easy to find the right manufacturers/suppliers who share the same vision and are willing to experiment.
- Freshome: And the most rewarding one?
- Val: Turning thoughts into something tangible that actually works and is viable! When work brings joy and wonder to its user.
Erotica Cutouts (Tables)
- Freshome: From your point of view, is design an art or a science?
- Val: Design can be categorized as both, depending on what’s the subject to design upon. Design and science has an inherent function, Art’s aspiration is to fulfill the soul. I believe in emotional design, the one that meets needs through functions at the time it triggers higher feelings in its users.
- Freshome: Tell us something unusual that happened in your career.
- Val: I guess I’ve been blessed with a constant of random encounters with all sort of amazing people and situations that, in one way or another, contribute to my inner growth, which is directly related with the professional one.
- Freshome: Let’s say you entered a contest. You have to come up with a design for the first house on the Moon built for extra-terrestrial living. How would your project look like?
- Val: I’m a romantic, in love with the moon. I could not spoil the moon by building something on its surface! (…enough damage we have done to Mother Earth already, let’s focus in trying to revert this damage instead?)
- Freshome: If design were a product, what would it be and how would you design it?
- Val: I like design as a concept, as an intention, as a vision, as an approach to man-made creations. Design as a daily experience that’s acknowledge and understood individually, according to the personal experiences and backgrounds of its users. We already have enough products that -at the end- become meaningless to their users and turn into waste. Hence, I’ll rather keep Design as it is.
Prickly Pair Chairs
- Freshome: If you had no limits (money, resources), what would you create?
- Val: I would like to create a huge, massive, cabinet of curiosities with random found objects from all over the world, different cultures and periods in time. From a pebble to a rocket engine. An inspiring collection of objects and stories that remind us who we are and where we come from.
- Freshome: Share something you would like the world to know about you or your ideas.
- Val: People think I’m mad. I get that a lot. I believe being crazy is a good thing. There’s beautiful, creative, proactive craziness. There’s also darkness in craziness. When balanced, craziness can be a great creative driver.
- Freshome: What do you think of our site?
- Val: Fresh, contemporary, inspiring, smart, straight forward. A great source of ideas and boost.
- Freshome: What advice do you have for young designers or architects reading this interview?
- Val: “Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. For in boldness is genius, power and magic” Goethe