Calamina: Experimental Design for Interiors
In a design market saturated with replica and mass-produced furniture, there is a new interior design consumer rising, and they’re craving one thing: a spoonful of creativity.
We are a market that has come to accept the veins in a mass produced marble coffee table as art. Customisation is often defined as a furniture piece that you can select in a different colour and masses of printed canvases of inspirational quotes continue to clad our walls.
Now this is not entirely a bad thing because it allows all consumers to be part of the design market. Many mass-produced items are affordable, they’re convenient, and aesthetically, they’re usually right on-trend.
However, I sometimes wonder whether we are choosing price over ethics and artistic integrity? Are we diluting the creativity in our industry when cookie-cutter designs fill our catalogues and social media feeds.
I miss real art. The merging of raw materials and dreamed up designs. Think untamed wood and iron, textural finishes, disruptive shapes. Art canvases that feature real oil paint or handsewn tapestries.
So today I’ve interviewed the lovely Marta Ramon from CALAMINA in Valencia, Spain whose products are handmade and developed by sculptor, Carlos Aucejo.
Aucejo creates CALAMINA’s designs from his studio in the Alboraia countryside surrounded by nature. Calamina is a reflection of his interests, obsessions and inspirations, a way of analysing his perception of art through a ground-breaking concept of the routine
This is a non-sponsored post as I do like to highlight global artists who demonstrate unique craftsmanship and was delighted to find CALAMINA on Instagram – a digital haven for design lovers!
Marta and I discuss the importance of retaining artful design in interiors and the much-needed work CALAMINA is bringing to the design market.
The world loves art. Millions of people will travel the world for it: To Florence to see Michaelangelo’s David, to The Louvre to linger and enjoy the Venus de Milo or visit Botticelli and Rembrandts at Manhattan’s The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Of course in CALAMINA’s country, Spain, to visit Gaudi’s architectural marvels.
However, this desire and love for art is not usually translated through design into the spaces where we live and work – something CALAMINA wants to change.
Marta reveals that the company’s philosophy lies in the idea of being unique. She describes the mass production of objects (furniture, clothes, utensils etc.) as missing the personal component or as she calls it the “soul” or “authors trace”.
“All our surroundings are missing the human touch which is needed to make something feel and look different,” she explained.
“In today’s design, the human contribution is limited to an idea put on a paper. Afterwards it is all about machines. In contrast to this trend, we conceive design through art. Because of this, the starting point of our creations is the experimentation, so by exploring possibilities of the material we work with, and looking at it as a sculptural body, we finally get to find a functional solution which sees art become handmade design.”
As their name suggests, CALAMINA’s favourite material to work with is iron. “Calamina is the black layer which covers iron when it comes out from the foundry,” Marta explains.
“This natural finish, which is usually seen as an imperfection, is something we try to respect in a few of our creations. Other materials we work with are bronze, copper glass and stones like marble.”
Marta reveals that the studio enjoys working metals as they allow exploration of both form and texture. “Each piece is different depending on the combination or resins, gums, lacquers and their exposure time on the material,” she said.
In the market itself, stones like marble continue to gain momentum. This has been prompted from people preferring natural and raw materials in their products.
CALAMINA are responding to the increasing desire for design lovers to own their own version of an item. Something bespoke, something designed just for them.In fact, the studio wants the industry to exercise a little imagination when it comes to viewing their products. CALAMINA are careful to feature their furniture and decor items on white backgrounds in a bid to encourage the industry decorator or design enthusiast to visualise the product placed in the planned space.
In fact, the studio wants the industry to exercise a little imagination when it comes to viewing their products. CALAMINA are careful to feature their furniture and decor items on white backgrounds in a bid to encourage the industry decorator or design enthusiast to visualise the product placed in the planned space.
Marta describes the aesthetic of their products as “eclectic” with the ability to completely personalise their dimension and shape.
“Most of the people interested in our designs are interior architects and decorators, people that visit art galleries who know that when purchasing they are acquiring an art piece, not just a table or a lamp.
All worthwhile things do take time so a final design for CALAMINA can take a few months to come to fruition with sculptor, Carlos experimenting with form, materials and texture.
“We work on the mockup and once we are sure the idea can work, we translate it to a real piece,” Marta explained.
“We usually work with big formats (for example one of our last pieces was 3.4m x 1.1m). Later on, we set the dimensions and proportions in order to be able to create the piece in different sizes. We produce upon request to make sure each piece adapts to the space and taste of the person who wants to acquire a CALAMINA piece, so depending on the work for each exclusive piece this can take around two or three weeks of work.”
“CALAMINA is a free spirit of the design ecosystem,” said Marta. This means that the design studio likes to give clients creative reign and enjoy suggestions to adapt designs to different environments and personalities.
“The most important thing for us is to create pieces which suit the space where they are going to be placed along with the ideal of the person who wants to have something unique.”
“Art has no limits, so take the pictures on our website as an ecstasy of possibilities,” encourages Marta.