It is always comforting to find entrepreneurs with new ideas and an enthusiasm for work. Two people with plenty of experience in this field are Lucas Abajo and Laxmi Bazabal, the heads of MUKA Design Lab who met in England while studying for a Masters in Industrial Design. In 2011 they decided to combine forces to forge ahead with their entrepreneurial and working projects and they have managed to remain active ever since.
As part of the “Slow Design” movement, they believe in the importance of traditional materials without ruling out new production methods and environmentally friendly materials. “Designing involves innovation; there is no design without formal, material or technical innovation. Keeping up to date allows us to resolve problems more quickly and efficiently. However, we have a certain nostalgia for the past, we want to remember how things were done before and bring those methods back into the present with the affection and dedication that were lost, and with materials and techniques that have fallen into disuse. “It’s the Yin that would not exist without the Yan” they say in unison.
We can do what we feel like with the MUKA designs. They are an escape from commissioned work
Like other designers, artists and young people in Spain, they believe that there is a lack of commitment from institutions. “There is a very creative and modern ‘Made in Spain’ design but we notice a lack of support. We create really high quality work here, although it’s true that we lack an innovative culture and respect for creativity. It is really difficult to showcase the work”, says Laxmi.
They work well together as a team without being overly polite. Each knows exactly what the other is thinking without the need for words, but every project moves forward thanks to consensus. “Our work is complimentary and we always get started with a client brief, we gather information, we look for trends and competing products and then creativity emerges along with idea sharing and development. For example, that is how we created the Mykonos lamp for B. Lux or an iron for Electrolux”, they say.
The “auto-productions” are a different matter altogether. This is where Lucas and Laxmi enjoy the most freedom. These productions are a means of providing an outlet for ideas that appeal to them, which are more personal and use local materials and workshops for the production process. Projects created using this method include the “Revés” chair and the conference table, “X Table”, a collection of auxiliary tables and stools named “Balea” (from the Basque word for whale). “Producers work the way they do and have measures that are out of our control. We can do what we feel like with the MUKA designs. They are an escape from commissioned work”, says Lucas.
The best thing about it all is seeing how their work contains humour. Their “Tetaza” ceramic collection and the “Cloud” offer a cheeky wink to users, and Spaniards will understand it without further explanation.
The future looks bright for the design duo: over the next few months they will be busy designing a brand image, interior design for some premises in the United States, a new lighting range for B.Lux and a storage project made using cork.
This article is also available in Español