Interview with Weco Windows S.L.

Winner of Building Components Design Awards

Award Winning Designer Weco Windows S.L. shares insights


Interview with Weco Windows S.L. at Thursday 20th of October 2016:

DL: Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?
ID : I come from a family of architects – my grandfather, my father and various uncles and cousins. And my mother is a painter. So design and architecture have been part of my basic formation since I was a child. I studied architecture in Madrid at the Escuela Superior de Arquitectura of the Polytechnical University (ETSAM), which included a year at the Venice School of Architecture. I have a Masters degree in Architecture and Sustainability from the Ecole nationale supérieure d'architecture de Paris la Villette. And I've worked as an architect for more than 20 years, opening my own studio in 2009.

DL: What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?
ID : In high school I took a course of study in the sciences, but when it came time to enter university I realized I wanted to be an architect. Maybe there was a youthful resistance there, perfectly logical, to not follow in the family tradition, but I finally realized that was what I really wanted to do.

DL: Did you choose to become a designer, or you were forced to become one?
ID : I did indeed choose the profession, and I am passionate about architecture. I learned a great deal from my father, but I have always marked my own path.

DL: What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?
ID : While Weco Windows continues to grow I am determined not to give up my architectural practice. I have a program of research and design for future windows and their applications that I am currently carrying out with my colleagues at Weco. And who knows what other inventions in the field of building products may occur to me? There is so much to do, so much to improve on!

DL: What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?
ID : If you are truly passionate and determined, you can achieve your goals. Remember that the design idea is only a small part in the development of a new product. And cast your net widely, be curious about everything. You need a vast field of reference to draw on to design creatively, it doesn't just happen in a vacuum. The context you create around yourself and the design problem is fundamental. And breakthroughs come not from just solving problems, but from formulating the right problem to solve, and asking the right questions. It might be worth pointing out as well that I have lived in Spain, France and Italy, and speak all three languages. And I've traveled all over the world, searching in each place for innovative and interesting architecture. To have familiarity with different cultures, to be cosmopolitan, adds a fundamental breadth of perspective. These factors may seem intangible, but they are in fact essential in having a broad context of reference to draw on.

DL: What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?
ID : Great designers have a unique take on things, a particular vision. You can see their hand in everything they touch. They are also, in general, remarkably curious, intelligent and open to everything.

DL: What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?
ID : A good design is not only visually appealing; you have to put it to the test, and discover all the problems it anticipates and solves.

DL: What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?
ID : Good design is a basic ingredient of a good quality of life, it raises life above the humdrum. For businesses, the producers of consumer goods, real estate developers and others responsible for the built environment, good design is a fundamental responsibility for the common good. It forms part of the basic ethics of being part of a community. Criteria of naked economic gain are not justification enough.

DL: What would you design and who would you design for if you had the time?
ID : Exactly what I am doing right now, developing the Weco Window and working as an independent architect in Madrid.

DL: What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?
ID : One thing to take into consideration is to count on the best technical advice. Consult the specialists, and learn from them. Our windows wouldn't have been possible without the expertise of specialists in glass, hardware, carpentry, extruded metals and so on.

DL: Who are some other design masters and legends you get inspired from?
ID : Many of the master architects of the 20th century were great inventors as well. One who inspires me most is the Swedish architect Sigurd Lewerentz.

DL: How could people improve themselves to be better designers, what did you do?
ID : Be curious, open, reach out. Read literature, philosophy, study the music, art and history of every culture.

DL: What’s your ultimate goal as a designer?
ID : To improve the quality of life of the people who use my designs.

DL: What is your life motto as a designer?
ID : I may think I've finished a design, this may be the hundred-and-tenth time I've profoundly revised it, but let's take another look in the morning.

DL: Do you think design sets the trends or trends set the designs?
ID : That depends if you are an innovator or a follower. Innovators don't look to trends, but they are very sensitive to the zeitgeist, the future that is already taking shape in the present, for those can sense it and give it form. At the same time, the best designers stand above trends. They may not even be completely understood or accepted in their lifetime, or their work may pass out of fashion, but time will finally decide in their favor.

DL: What is the role of technology when you design?
ID : Fundamental. Design without a full understanding of the underlying technology involved cannot offer anything truly innovative or of lasting value. Good design can even inform technological development: just look at the work of Steve Jobs.

DL: What kind of design software and equipment do you use in your work?
ID : We work with CAD and models. We hope to move into 3D printing to be able to increase our options and the speed of design development.

DL: What is the role of the color, materials and ambient in design?
ID : Factors such as color, material and ambience are fundamental. Tactile qualities, ergonomics, even senses such as smell – of oil, varnished wood, or metal- are important too. In the whole package of a design, every dimension counts.

DL: When you see a new great design or product what comes into your mind?
ID : Pleasure, and the urge to buy it – or buy the book.

DL: Who is your ideal design partner? Do you believe in co-design?
ID : I do like to design with a co-partner, though it can be hard to find the perfect match. Complimentary skills and personalities are what one should look for first, I suppose, as well as basic compatibility.

DL: Which people you interacted had the most influence on your design?
ID : Besides my colleagues at Weco Windows, the specialists in glass, hardware and carpentry that we've consulted, and with whom we work.

DL: Which books you read had the most effect on your design?
ID : Mechanization Takes Command, by Siegfried Giedion; Architecture and Utopia by Manfredo Tafuri; The Gutenburg Galxy, by Marshal McLuhan; Theory and Design in the First Machine Age, by Reynar Banham; Studies in Tectonic Culture by Kenneth Frampton; Delirious New York, by Rem Kookhaas, etc.

DL: How did you develop your skills as a master designer?
ID : Work, work, work. Demand greatly of oneself. And never stop thinking, questioning, challenging oneself.

DL: Irrelative of time and space, who you would want to meet, talk and discuss with?
ID : The great Swedish architect Sigurd Lewerentz for starters. He has some great window designs! And uniquely creative figures such as Hans Scharoun or Alvar Aalto.