Spain born designer Tomás Alonso studied at the Royal College of Art and won the Swarovski Designers of the Future Award in 2015. He has run his own design studio in East London since 2007. He has collaborated with companies as large as IKEA, while continuing to produce smaller scale work for art galleries. Alonso’s designs are elegant, functional and above all, innovative. With his sharp focus on function, the refined aesthetic qualities of his objects reveal the expressive potential of each specific material.
D-Journal Interviewed Tomás Alonso while he was in Dubai for Downtown Design.
Why did you become a designer? Was it always your dream?
I can’t imagine being anything else; I’ve been drawing things all my life, and, after discovering product design as a young teenager, I knew that this was the path I wanted to take.
If you weren’t a designer, what would you have been?
I don’t know; maybe a forest keeper, a sailing yacht captain, or a doctor.
In design, as in life, every product should have purpose… What is your purpose in life, and how does it affect your creative process?
Learning, discovering new things and growing up. I feel that curiosity drives most of what I do and that makes me embark on new challenges, both in life and work.
My most ambitious project until now, my son and family, keep me constantly on my feet in this journey of discovery and learning.
Which do you prefer designing product or spaces?
Both. I enjoy the process of resolving a design brief and arriving at a relevant result, which applies to anything I do.
How does being a creative person influence your life? Do you have any rituals you like to start your day with, especially when starting a new project?
One of the things about working in the creative industries is that life and work are perhaps more intertwined than in other professions, and, therefore, the process of resolving a new project is sort of always happening, whether consciously or unconsciously. When starting a project, I try to spend as much time as possible soaking it all in, visiting the factory, workshop or location, and getting to fully understand the context. When starting my day, I often go for a swim and then ride my bike to the studio, stopping for coffee on the way.
If you could have a conversation with anyone dead or alive, who would that person be & what would you talk about?
I’d love to have met Bruno Munari and talked to him about projects.
What inspires you?
Everything around, from exhibitions and books to buildings, people, someone who loves what he/she does, walking in the forest, the process of making things, and discovering.
What do you dream about at night? Do you remember your dreams?
I pretty much never remember my dreams…
How do you like Dubai? Is this your first time here? Would you want to have your own studio here?
This was my first time in Dubai, and it was a very short visit of just 2 days! It is quite different from the places I have lived in, and precisely because of that, I found it interesting. I don’t know enough about it to say if I’d have a studio there. My personal life revolves around London, France and Spain at the moment, so I find it hard to think about elsewhere at this point in time.
Interview by Felwa AlHudaithy