About Smallgran Team

Our story begins in the summer of 2014, when we returned to Valencia to found the studio, after having been learning around Europe. The three of us were partners in the university, where we realized that we agreed on values. So, our work is intended to making the design noticeable and understandable for the general public, ensuring the comprehension of its value, through functionality, closeness and our idealism.

Interview with Smallgran Team

Smallgran Team ("ST") interviewed on Tuesday, 20 March.

Could you please tell us about your experience as a designer, artist, architect or creator?

ST : As industrial designers, we come from the same university - the Polytechnic University of Valencia- and the design there is taught from an engineering perspective, that also explains why we give so much importance to function in our designs. Also, the three of us have a pretty artistic background either at music, painting, photography or dancing. We even keep on working on these aspects currently.

How did you become a designer?

ST : The studio was planned since we were in the same college class in Valencia, and we discovered our concerns and interests. Although before we founded it, we separated through Europe to finish our studies for returning with a better formation to Valencia, where we found it in 2015. And we are currently a design agency that offers services to companies, both nationally and internationally. And although we mainly focus on product design, we have also done everything from graphic design work to interior design and microarchitecture. As for the product design, sometimes we carry out the whole design process with all its phases, and other times we intervene in some specific aspect of product development that requires an improvement.

What are your priorities, technique and style when designing?

ST : We like material sincerity, but we do not have any preferred material, we like to use the solutions that work best for the purpose of each project. Although right now we are enjoying experimenting with 3D printing. We also have a special feelings to ceramics, a tradition rooted in our area, with which we work almost daily to make our Álsol pitcher.

Which emotions do you feel when designing?

ST : The thrill of creating something new while finding new ways to look at problems and paths to solve them. We usually feel amusingly euphoric when we solve the problem and get the solution. It is a very rewarding feeling.

What particular aspects of your background shaped you as a designer?

ST : Since childhood, the three of us have been developing our sense of creativity, in addition to design, in fields such as music, dance, photography, computer science ... always working the self-taught spirit.

What is your growth path? What are your future plans? What is your dream design project?

ST : Our dream project is the Smallgran studio itself. For us, it will mean to make a living out of our passion surrounded with the people we love, what else can we ask for?

What are your advices to designers who are at the beginning of their career?

ST : For us it was a game changer to learn how to manage projects in an efficient and effective way, that certainly made us better designers.We also think that in order to have a good creative brain is important not only developing it through design but through other artistic fields.

You are truly successful as a designer, what do you suggest to fellow designers, artists and architects?

ST : We are just getting started! Honestly, if they perceive us already as winners, we honestly don't know how we have accomplished this so we don't really have much to say to them apart from "believe in yourself, work hard and keep at it and you will accomplish whatever you want". Being asked this question and being able to answer it in a couple of dozens of years is what would really mean something for us!

What is your day to day look like?

ST : We get up at 8 and meet in the basement of Luis's grandmother in l'Eliana, where we have installed our studio-workshop. First we catch up with the common work, we organize and finally get to work until we have met our daily goals, beyond going on a fixed day. To gather strength, in the middle of the morning we make a break at 11:30 to have sandwiches with a beer.

How do you keep up with latest design trends? To what extent do design trends matter?

ST : Great design is atemporal, so it has to be the trend-setter. There are, however, lots of good designs that appear because of some trends. To be up-to-date, we each follow certain magazines, with the purpose of sharing the most outstanding news weekly.

How do you know if a product or project is well designed? How do you define good design?

ST : Good design meets the business objectives of the company with the highest possible efficiency.

How do you decide if your design is ready?

ST : We try to use criteria as logical as possible. For us, good design is the rationality reached when each attribute of the product has a functional justification that shapes its design. If you have a specific goal, logic will determine the path.

What is your biggest design work?

ST : We simply can't choose. We are a very young studio and every one of our designs is hugely important for us.Our Álsol pitcher was our first produced design and also the first one to get internation recognition, so maybe that one is just a tiny bit more important than the others. What makes it great, we think, is how it combines tradition with modernity getting the best out of these two worlds.On the other hand, we are in love with our Xanxan shelf, which we designed under objectives that we managed to achieve widely, it got the attention of the most important magazines and also won an award.

Who is your favourite designer?

ST : Bruno Munari and Mies van der Rohe are the most legendary designers we can think of that inspire us through their work. However, we also get inspired a lot by our local colleagues like "La Selva" or "La Mamba" studio!I (Carles) go for the Eames Lounge chair, it simply looks like comfort itself.Mamut by La Mamba or Loop by La Selva are also other great designs that explore flexibilty and adaptabilty in a very interesting manner.

Would you tell us a bit about your lifestyle and culture?

ST : The three of us live in Valencia. This place has clearly inspired many of our works, based on the Valencian and Mediterranean lifestyle in general. We have also influenced the processes and materials we have used for products and packagings: ceramics, jute...

Would you tell us more about your work culture and business philosophy?

ST : Family and friends ar what matters most. At the end what matters is the support of the people you love.

What are your philanthropic contributions to society as a designer, artist and architect?

ST : We do a design close to the user where we aim to make discernible and tangible the value of the design process behind it. We try to avoid the elitist view on design where the look is the maximum priority.Progress and human development. Design is about solving problem, just kind of like everything else, really. ¿Who wouldn't invest on this?

What positive experiences you had when you attend the A’ Design Award?

ST : It's the first award we receive and gave us confidence in ourselves, which is very important for a young studio like us.

Smallgran Team Profile

Xanxan Shelf

Xanxan Shelf design by Smallgran Team


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