Positioning oneself in the international product design market with a new brand focused mainly on the world of lighting, requires a great deal of strategic work from the outset. Above all, because it is necessary to perfectly define the parameters that will identify the brand, focusing efforts on manufacturing a fully competitive product and to present oneself as the most appropriate option with designs that differ in quality and design from the rest of what the market offers.
This is the case of Contain Mallorca, a Spanish studio with barely two years of operation. Its founders, Juan and Mauricio, have turned Slow Design into the paradigm to follow, and the business embraces high-quality materials, local resources and collaboration with the artisans from the area. Their completely timeless lamp models are clearly inspired by Art Deco, but with a modern and contemporary touch arising from the incorporation of 3D technology.
1. What is the philosophy of Contain Mallorca?
We’re seeking to use “Slow Design” to create quality pieces that last, that can be passed on from generation to generation and are aesthetically timeless. We have to buy less, buy better, choose well and let things remain. We also seek to create standardized design pieces, but with a handcrafted element, in which different types of stone, terrazzo, tile, blown glass, brass, iron and other noble materials can be combined with 3D technology.
2. What does Juan do and what does Mauricio do in the studio?
As an industrial designer, Mauricio is responsible for the design and production of lamps and furniture. Between the two of us we have delineated the visual and aesthetic part of both the brand and the collection. Juan, as a publicist, is in charge of the communication, graphics and visual design of the brand.
3. Simple and practical design are the hallmarks of Contain products…
Simple, long-lasting and personalized design. And this is not without its risks, because our designs combine local craftsmanship, hard materials and 3D printing technology. The truth is we didn’t know how it would work and how the reception would be for our ceiling lamps, which combine 3D techniques, based on thermoplastic made with starchy materials, with lumaquela stone with fossil remains. Previously these are materials that are used for other decorative objects.
4. How did you merge the two fields into such a concrete product?
The ideas arose from the need to work with local materials and artisans. We needed to create a synergy between both worlds, between the tradition that the island brought us through materials and resources, with the design, technology and vision that we had in mind. There was a natural way to do it, and both features coexist under a common harmony.
5. And in what way is the craftsmanship present?
One of our starting points was to highlight the materials of the island, products with which the local artisans had worked with and had great knowledge of. We have been pleasantly surprised by their degree of involvement in our designs. No one knows the limits and possibilities of these raw materials better than they do. They’ve often helped to complete our designs with their ideas. They bring their knowledge, and we bring innovation and design. The worst part for us all are the production times.
6. Contain Mallorca’s catalogue is based around lamps and tables. Will this collection be expanded?
The elements we use for their designs are present in both series and being able to combine both lines, as many customers do, is fantastic. We’ll soon be introducing a ceramic printer, so some parts will change with this new arrival, and we also want to incorporate surfaces made with recycled plastics.
7. You situate your work within the Slow Design trend. What does this quality give you compared to other similar products?
What makes them different is that they can be personalized. Each client can choose the composition of every stone in a table, to the finishes of a lamp.
8. Which is better, self-production or working for a big firm?
The original idea was to do everything ourselves. A Made-in-Mallorca company, but over time we realized that it was impossible. Now orders are placed with other companies and then assembled in our workshop.
9. Your career certainly seems to be unstoppable. How do you see the future?
The goal of Contain this year is to optimize times, open our first store, and be able to have stock. We also want to open up markets in the United States and Asia.
10. You’ve also dabbled in interior design. Is this another facet to the studio, or is it an exception?
It’s something that came about inevitably. There are those who want to just buy a lamp, and those who want us to take care of all the lighting in their house. We advise the client from a very personal place. We’re not interior designers, but we are designers and, although it’s not the same thing, we can take on that role a bit.
Photos: Julio Feroz.
This article is also available in Español