We review the whole collection of “Icons of Valencian Design. From 1930 to 2022”
17 Dec 2021 /

We review the whole collection of “Icons of Valencian Design. From 1930 to 2022”

The collection “Icons of Valencian Design. From 1930 to 2022” produced by the newspaper Levante-EMV in collaboration with World Design Capital Valencia 2022 and the Valencian Design Archive, Arxiu Valencià del Disseny, is now complete: From 16 April until 17 December a print was published every Friday to illustrate icons of Valencian design over almost a hundred years, with a total of 30 publications. This carefully chosen selection traces the History of Valencian Design through some of its iconic pieces and authors, which have been, and remain, references for generations of designers.

With these prints, the reader has reviewed the History of Valencian Design including graphic, industrial, packaging and fashion design, dating back from the present day to the nineteen thirties, with the first references such as Segrelles and Renau. This is a complete collection of carefully chosen images, to be kept as a personal record or framed and shown with style. A perfect occasion to remember the election of Valencia as World Design Capital in 2022. A year full of activities aimed at presenting the past, present and future of design as a tool for transformation.

As a tribute and a reminder, here is a compilation of all the prints, taking a short look at each one of the authors and companies that have participated, including Andreu Word, Gandia Blasco, LZF Lamps, Expormim, Vondom, Point and Punt. Among the authors, we can highlight names such as Paco Bascuñán, Dani Nebot, Mario Ruiz, Vicent Martínez, Pepe Gimeno, Marisa Gallén, Sandra Figuerola, Inma Bermúdez, Dídac Ballester, Ibán Ramón, Ramón Esteve, Jaime Hayon and Malota.

The first print was dedicated to the poster that helped us win the title of World Design Capital 2022, designed by Iban Ramón.

The World Design Organization promotes the World Design Capital and selects the title city every two years. As Ibán Ramón himself explains, “A dossier of the bid was required for the selection process, to present a visual identity for the candidacy. The proposed design was based on a solution using a natural, simple and modular construction, offering great variability, which was constructed on a square grid, based on the geometric simplification of the initials VWDC.”

The Valencian designer chose geometry for this creation “as a universal, timeless and permanently modern language, for an image that must stay current for several years in today’s setting in which it is difficult for images to last, owing to the speed with which everything in graphic design expires.”

Read the Full article on the first print of the collection. 

The second print of the collection brings together two of our National Design Award winners with the greatest international relevance: Designer Mario Ruiz (National Design Award in 2016) and the company Point (National Design Award in 2019) both from Alicante. It is a study in form prepared by the designer for one of the new collections of the outdoor furniture company. A representation of a piece of furniture that will adorn the best hotels and restaurants around the world.

Discover more about Mario Ruiz and his work for Point in the following full article.

The third print represents the poster designed by Dídac Ballester for the Jazz Festival of the Palau de la Música in Valencia in 2018. Graphics that expertly combine expression and simplicity of form.

The inspiration for the image we know came to him from US designer Alvin Lustig or the graphic “forcefulness” of his compatriot Paul Rand. “Colour, organic forms, some say fish, I see wind instruments playing jazz, I like this duality in interpretation. During a process like this you are inspired and seek references in a lot of things,” explains the designer.

Consult the article in the Levante-EMV on Dídac Ballester and his poster included in the collection.

The next print given away with the Levante is an institutional image created in a “four handed” collaboration by Mar Hernández – “Malota” – and Jordi Ferrándiz – “Bestiola” – for the fiesta of 9 October 2017. The two creators prepared the image “based on a briefing given to us by the Valencian Government and in which, in outline, they asked us to use the number 9 as the protagonist. Furthermore, we were informed that, apart from the poster for the Government, three further posters were required to represent the three provinces that make up the Valencian Community,” remember the creators. “The challenge, therefore, was to offer four proposals for the institutional posters that, despite being different, should be seen and understood as part of the same institutional image of 9 October.”

Find out more about the history of this design in the following article.

A friendly luminous elephant is the star of the next print in the Levante-EMV collection. It is a creation by Isidro Ferrer for the Valencian firm, recipient of a National Design Award in 2020, LZF Lamps.

With a track record of almost three decades, LZF Lamps has become one of the most respected lighting companies in the sector, thanks to its good practices. Today’s print shows “Smelly Fant”, an elephant-lamp that, according to Mariví Calvo, co-founder of LZF Lamps together with Sandro Tothill, “is the history of a collaboration between LZF, artists, designers and great artisans. Teamwork, created with precision.” She goes on to add, “It is a tradition in LZF, when we present a product, to investigate the limits we can go to in order to conjugate the philosophy of LZF with that of the artist or designer that creates it.”

The sixth print in the series “Icons of Valencian Design” recalls the work of Lavernia & Cienfuegos for the graphic redesign of the famous Dermo-Suavina lip balm, with a history of over 140 years.

The resulting design provided the brand and the packaging with graphic and communicational attributes to enable it to be perceived as “a dynamic, modern company, but supported by a long history. The challenge, when you need to be loyal to an inherited image, consists of evaluating which aspects you need to maintain and which ones to discard or change,” says the designer.

Further information on this redesign work in this article of the Levante- EMV.

Can a helmet become a museum piece? The question may seem odd but, if we speak about the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) or the Guggenheim in New York, anything is possible. And a Valencian design has achieved it. The Closca helmet is on sale in the shops of both of these American art centres and since 2015 it has been seen on the heads of design-loving urbanites who seek safety and comfort for all. This 100% Valencian design, by the firm Closca and the studio CuldeSac, is the star of the next print of the collection.

Consult the full report by the Levante -EMV on the helmet by Closca.

The next print consists of a carbon drawing of the lamp “Follow me” by Inma Bermúdez, a design that is already an icon for the lighting company Marset.

The portable LED lamp “Follow me” stands out for its beauty and versatility. It provides light to dark rooms, character to light ones and can be taken from one to the other in an instant which is, in short, the intention with which it was created by Valencian designer Inma Bermúdez in 2014.

The Nautica swing is a hanging chair made from rattan, a natural material with a long tradition of craftsmanship in Valencia. It was designed by the Valencian studio Mut for the brand Expormim, and it is the star of this print in the collection.

The designers of Mut explain: “Our productions are impregnated with our culture, our way of life, our customs and language. We can take design to a universal sphere, where it can be understood and liked, it can be exported, but it will always speak of the place where it was born. Therefore, Nautica evokes the sea, but not just any sea, because for us the sea is the Mediterranean.”

Discover more about this swing in the report by the Levante-EMV.

The studio of National Award winner Marisa Gallén, Gallén+Ibañez, is behind the poster for the Ensems Fest of 2011, represented by this print of the collection.

“Having worked for festivals like Ensems, theatres or museums, in other words, working in so many important manifestations of the cultural life of Valencia, helps us to understand that culture is the soul of a city, that it is vital to create vibrant urban environments,” explains Marisa Gallén.

More on the inspiration for this poster in the following article of the Levante-EMV.

The Faz chair, by Ramón Esteve for Vondom, stars in the next print in the series of “Icons of Valencian design”.

Faz was the first collection of outdoor furniture designed by Ramón Esteve for Vondom. A collection that enabled the designer and architect to apply his knowledge on the crystallization of minerals, by applying in this chair polyethylene and polypropylene, materials that allow the configuration of an infinity of shapes, colours and textures. Innovation and design applied to new materials that marked the birth of a whole new form of production.

Find out more about this design in the following interview with Ramón Esteve.

The Guest, the mythical figure by Jaime Hayón for Lladró is without doubt one of the great “Icons of Valencian Design. From 1930 to 2022”. A design that represented two things: an artistic revolution in the classic firm Lladró and the arrival in Valencia of one of the most influential Spanish designers in the world: Jaime Hayón.

Since then, the Madrid-born designer has been one of our best ambassadors in the world and he loves life in Valencia, where he has lived ever since.

He tells us everything in this interview with Begoña Jorques.

The parasol Ensombra, by the Valencian studio Odosdesign for the firm Gandía Blasco, also Valencian, is featured in the next print of the collection.

This parasol was one of the small revolutions of Nude Generation, the young designers’ salon at the Feria Habitat Valencia. A product that is now an icon of Valencian design and which introduced the studio Odosdesign, which now works on both product design and artistic management for some of the most important companies of the sector.

The Maduresa wine bottle of Celler del Roure, designed by Dani Nebot, National Design Award winner in 1995, is featured in the next print of the collection.

Its label responds to a recent movement in the history of wine, at the end of the nineties, when a new generation of oenologists and young winegrowers fought to find their place in the market and trusted in design to achieve this.

Find out more about this design in the full interview by the Levante- EMV with Dani Nebot.

This print represents the Kokoro model of the series of designer plates that form part of the Malva.rossa collection by Porvasal. This tableware is a collaboration by Ximo Roca and Boke Bazan.

This is not the first iconic design by Ximo Roca: his long and prolific career provides us with more than 30 products that have filled our homes with that essence and Mediterranean design with which he infuses his pieces so well. Thanks to this, he has become one of the most widely recognized designers, in Valencia and elsewhere, and has been exporting talent around the world for many years.

The first print to be presented after the summer pause was the “RDL 1991 Chair”, designed by Alberto Lievore, National Design Award 1999, for Andreu World, National Design Award 2007, drawn by Antonio Solaz. This chair was manufactured using only solid oak and a curved strip of the same wood, with no metalwork or accessories. The minimum to achieve the maximum.

Jesus Llinares, CEO of Andreu World, explains that RDL is a design that reflects the identity of Andreu World. “RDL speaks of time. It is a solid design that adapts as the years pass to become an icon of the present.”

The next print offered represents the tray “Diablo” by Marisa Gallén and Sandra Figuerola, a piece designed for the Italian firm Alessi in 1990 when they were colleagues in the group La Nave.

Since 1990 this oven tray has become design icon: inspired by the figure of the devil, but “converted into a jolly character devoid of evil”. You can discover the full story in this report by the Levante-EMV.

The next print includes the characteristic image of the palm tree designed by Pepe Gimeno. A design that has been with us for more than 30 years, although receiving modifications that have adapted it to the changing times. Crucial to understanding the image of Tourism in the Valencian Community.

Regarding the long life of his work, Gimeno comments: “I would never have imagined the long and eventful life that awaited it. When you complete a project its survival depends on so many factors that it is very difficult to predict its future.”

Learn more about the history of this design in this interview by the Levante with Pepe Gimeno.

The famous Mosca chair by José Juan Belda is the star of the next print given away with the Levante-EMV. The Valencian designer, a key figure of national design in the eighties and nineties, was one of the founders of the studio La Nave, a breeding ground for Valencian designers and National Design Award winners. His career focused on furniture design, and this Mosca chair was one of his most celebrated creations. Twenty years specializing in the design of furniture and interiors, strongly aligned with the international movements of the end of the twentieth century and with a very particular and creative vision.

The sign for exit 65 of the A-7 highway is the star of the following print of “Icons of Valencian Design. From 1930 to 2022”. Designed by Daniel Nebot, Paco Bascuñán and Nacho Lavernia in 1986, it was part of a more complete commission for different signs along the Valencian stretch of the Mediterranean motorway, which are still maintained and characterize the overland route.

“Pressure, which is an indispensable driver to make the spark fly, made Dani draw what could be (and was) the sign for Benidorm. When Paco [Bascuñán] and I saw it we had no doubts, we said ‘That’s it.’ We knew what we had to do. But we had to do it in very little time,” remembers National Design Award winner Nacho Lavernia.

Consult the full article on the history of this print.

The next print of the Levante- EMV collection represents the image created by Quique Company for the ACTV disco. This design, with a brilliant artistic content, has been held in the shared imagery of more than one generation and has transcended beyond a mere advertisement for a night club and disco.

Lupe Martínez, widow of Paco Bascuñán – inseparable friend and partner in crime of Company – declares that “Quique was more a painter than a designer and this work helped him to obtain a certain discipline that he totally lacked and obliged him to produce artwork on the posters he made. And above all, it helped him to have a stable economy with which to live.”

Read the full article on the design of the ACTV logo on this link.

The fabric print Neptunalia is the next offering in the collection “Icons of Valencian Design. From 1930 to 2022”. The Neptunalia collection was created in 1985 by the designer and fashion designer Francis Montesinos and it has been reedited many times over the years, which confirms its status as an icon of Valencian fashion.

As Francis Montesinos himself recalls, the image he created in the year 1985 was inspired almost by coincidence. He was in Madrid, in his suite at the Palace hotel, where this collection was presented, and from his window the panorama was none other than the fountain of Neptune. In his head he created a print dedicated to the Roman god of the sea and dedicated the collection to him. “I loved this suite so I dedicated that print to it.” Today, “I believe it is one of my most emblematic prints.”

Find out more on the inspiration behind the Neptunalia collection in this article.

The sketch that Pedro Miralles made of his iconic 115 Armchair is featured in the next print of the collection.

The 115 Armchair was originally edited by the Valencian gallery owner Luis Adelantado and it is striking for its robustness, comfort and dynamism. The sketch reproduced in the print was shown in the Alfaro Hofmann Gallery in 1984.

The next print shows a young Pedrín Errando Mariscal. The photograph was taken in 1984 by Bárbara Allende (Ouka Leele), National Photography Award 2005. It was the image of one of the collections of Tráfico de Modas, the iconic clothing brand created by the Errando Mariscal brothers at the end of the seventies and which soon became the symbol of an era.

“At that time you wanted to contribute to changing everything via what you knew how to do. With rock and roll, cinema, fashion… Whatever. That was the air we breathed. Mariscal made very provocative, transgressive T-shirts, with very expressive faces… From selling in my brother Jorge’s shop we went on to have five shops in Spain. Within a short time, we were modelling at the Cibeles fashion shows. We inaugurated its first editions,” explains Pedrín.

Consult this article on Tráfico de Modas.

The Dúplex stool, designed by Javier Mariscal and Fernando Salas in 1980 and photographed by Elena Claverol, is featured in the next print of the collection “Icons of Valencian Design. From 1930 to 2022” in collaboration with World Design Capital Valencia 2022 and the Valencian Design Archive.

This design was originally intended for the Dúplex bar in Valencia, although it later became the first design mass produced by Mariscal, and it is an example of the characteristic style of this icon of Valencian design.

The print that continues the collection represents the bookcase “La Literatura” designed by Vicent Martínez in 1985 for Punt Mobles. Winner of awards and distinctions such as the ADI FAD selection of 1986, “La literatura” has been displayed in museums and it represented an undeniable contribution to the obtaining of the National Design Award in 1997.

“La Literatura represented the starting point for everything that an idea can incorporate in a professional career. It can be summarized as a way of understanding design and objects, from a reflexive and intuitive position, with a permanent search for utility and honesty,” explains Martínez.

Consult the full article on the history of this historic bookcase.

The brand Lois, founded by the Sáez Merino brothers in Valencia and a pioneer of denim production in Europe, is the star of this print of the collection “Icons of Valencian design. From 1930 to 2022” in collaboration with World Design Capital Valencia and the Valencian Design Archive.

The Sáez Merino Group, with its brands Lois, Caster, Cimarron and Caroche became highly positioned in the international market. “The success was due to the need of the European market at that time to have jeans. It was a demanding market, and those that had quality products and a brand became well known very quickly. The key was certainly having the right fits at the right time,” explain the current managers of the brand.

To find out more about the history and the context of this Valencian brand, consult the full article.

Valencian artist Josep Renau is the star of the penultimate print of the collection. It is a poster dedicated to the spa Las Arenas in Valencia, created by the artist in 1932, when Renau married Manuela Ballester and shortly before becoming professor of Fine Arts at the University of Valencia. He was on the threshold of beginning a very intensive era, both personally and professionally, since just four years later he would be appointed Director General of Fine Arts and, as such, organizer of the Spanish pavilion at the Paris Exposition.

Further information on the life and work of Josep Renau in this report by the Levante-EMV.

After 30 prints given each Friday with the Levante-EMV we reach the last one, a historic document since it is the first poster to promote the Fallas, designed by José Segrelles for the Sociedad Valenciana de Fomento del Turismo in 1929.

We are grateful for the collaboration of the Levante-EMV and the Valencian Design Archive in this project which enhances the appreciation of the fantastic design culture of Valencia. We hope that the history of Valencian design has only just begun.