Design Legends ("DL") had the distinct honour to interview legendary designer Fernando Abelleyro ("FA") for their original perspective and innovative approach to design as well as their creative lifestyle, we are very pleased to share our interview with our distinguished readers.

DL: Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?

FA : I formed in public education, in primary and secondary schools, and graduated as an architect from the Public University, from the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Urbanism of the University of Buenos Aires.

DL: What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?

FA : Fascination. I have always been fascinated by art and architecture.

DL: Did you choose to become a designer, or you were forced to become one?

FA : It was a choice.

DL: What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?

FA : Design, as a creative space, any design is relevant to me regardless of its scale, location, materiality.

DL: What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?

FA : Thank you !, May you live your profession with passion, each design is not just another fact, a resume photo, it is something that can transform your life and that of others forever.

DL: What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?

FA : A good designer is creative, a great designer teaches with his creativity.

DL: What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?

FA : A good design transcends it time and the horizons that the designer imagined

DL: What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?

FA : Good design teaches and transforms people's lives

DL: What would you design and who would you design for if you had the time?

FA : For those who need it and who value it.

DL: What is the dream project you haven’t yet had time to realize?

FA : I would be fascinated to develop a project for a museum or educational building in Europe.

DL: What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?

FA : Constancy. passion, awareness.

DL: Who are some other design masters and legends you get inspired from?

FA : The Masters of Architecture, le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe, Frank Lloyd Wright, Ralph Erskine, and my master teacher, the architect Mario Linder.

DL: What are your favorite designs by other designers, why do you like them?

FA : The Sagrada Familia and the Ville Saboye. The field of design evolves with technological-constructive developments, of that I have no doubts. I always tell my students how difficult it has been for Gaudi (even the Sagrada Familia is unfinished) and Le Corbusier; built Villa Saboye, - "the live machine" -, when both his thinking and his vision of architecture were so advanced and out of date with the technological and constructive solutions of the time.

DL: What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?

FA : It was certainly the work experience in Ireland, when I won with a partner the 1st prize in the international Father Collins Park competition in Dublin, Ireland, a project to design a public park on the outskirts of the city, organized by the city council and where 44 teams from all over the world participated. The process was extensive, from the moment we won the contest (in December 2003) until it was inaugurated (May 2009), with work marked by teleconferences, travel and the foundation of a company established in Ireland. Beautiful and complex process. That project gave us many satisfactions, we obtained numerous international awards. One of the superlative points was the environmental proposal, since we incorporated a lake and weetlands where the procreation of wild species was weighted, and we incorporated wind turbines whose energy generation served to power the lights and motors of the park.

DL: How could people improve themselves to be better designers, what did you do?

FA : That they live their profession with passion, each design is not just another fact, a photo of a CV, it is something that can transform your life and that of others forever. I always ask my students a question, when one begins to be an architect, when they obtain the degree or when they sit for the first time in a faculty classroom in front of a sheet, and throw their first drawings. I believe that one begins to be an architect from the moment they decide to study architecture, that is day zero and from that moment they must dedicate themselves to the profession with an avidity for knowledge and with passion.

DL: If you hadn’t become a designer, what would you have done?

FA : Plastic artist

DL: How do you define design, what is design for you?

FA : Design is the space where creativity transforms people's lives.

DL: Who helped you to reach these heights, who was your biggest supporter?

FA : My family, my colleagues, friends.

DL: What helped you to become a great designer?

FA : The academic space where I was trained

DL: What were the obstacles you faced before becoming a design master?

FA : Economic and opportunities. My country, in many cases, was moving away from my understanding of the architectural paradigms of the world. With brilliant architects, however, the national production did not always reflect that creative genius that many of my colleagues have. I suppose that this difficulty is revealed by the recurring economic fluctuations to which our profession is subjected. Environmental issues are also being incorporated, gradually.

DL: How do you think designers should present their work?

FA : The works must be presented with the highest possible degree of fidelity. Without generating false expectations, they must reflect what they will really be.

DL: What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?

FA : The future is uncertain, but I do know that I try to do the best.

DL: What’s your ultimate goal as a designer?

FA : Help people, and be recognized as someone who contributed valuable architecture to humanity.

DL: What people expect from an esteemed designer such as yourself?

FA : May I always do my best effort.

DL: How does design help create a better society?

FA : When it positively transforms people's lives.

DL: What are you currently working on that you are especially excited about?

FA : I am currently carrying out several projects, of multifamily housing in the city of Buenos Aires, of various scales, also preparing talks for students and works that have to do with new projects for the Faculty of Architecture, an architecture research laboratory.

DL: Which design projects gave you the most satisfaction, why?

FA : A colleague stated that his favorite design was always "the last". It seemed like a wise answer. Particularly my favorite projects were two: “La casa Santos” and “Father Coliins Park” (in Dublin, Ireland), a 16 hectareas public park that won first prize in an international competition. In both projects, what has most pleasantly surprised me is the projection they had, beyond the scope that I planned. These projects reached horizons that I never imagined.

DL: What would you like to see changed in design industry in the coming years?

FA : That the design industry is affordable to all human beings, regardless of their economic position.

DL: Where do you think the design field is headed next?

FA : Like life, design evolves, but must always accompany human needs in this evolution, leaving aside vain questions.

DL: How long does it take you to finalize a design project?

FA : It always depends of aspects like scale, program and scope. But I think a design never "freezes", never closes, even finalized and built, there is always something that can be improved.

DL: When you have a new design project, where do you start?

FA : I differentiate ideas of occurrences, a strong idea, persists and transcends its time and your own horizon, an occurrence no. It is based on previous experiences, sometimes own and sometimes foreign, the voice in my conscience of my master teacher as the self-criticism necessary to refine the idea and design the entire proposal. Figuratively without losing sight of "the forest", then come "the trees", although these are also outlined, I finish adjusting the leaves and branches. All the particular aspects necessarily come together to reinforce the first general idea.

DL: What is your life motto as a designer?

FA : Positively transform people's lives. Always ask me, what is the best I can design to respond to this program?

DL: Do you think design sets the trends or trends set the designs?

FA : Good designs transcend trends, they are timeless.

DL: What is the role of technology when you design?

FA : It is relevant because it represents the idea, but the most important thing is the idea

DL: What kind of design software and equipment do you use in your work?

FA : My resource box is a computer with i5 processor, cad and revit programs, photoshop and office, and internet search engines, sites like A´Design Award, Pinterest, Archdaily.

DL: What is the role of the color, materials and ambient in design?

FA : They are fundamental, act directly on people's mood

DL: What do you wish people to ask about your design?

FA : If it have exceeded my own expectations.

DL: When you see a new great design or product what comes into your mind?

FA : I wonder where so much inspiration has come from?

DL: Who is your ideal design partner? Do you believe in co-design?

FA : He is the architect Ariel Pradelli (my partner today) and I believe in co-design, as a simultaneous feeding of knowledge and ideas.

DL: Which people you interacted had the most influence on your design?

FA : It was a personal project, the architect whose collaborated with me was Pablo Coles, in the constructive process.

DL: Which books you read had the most effect on your design?

FA : The Faculty of Architecture, and a book by Ralph Erskine.

DL: How did you develop your skills as a master designer?

FA : With investigation, work, dedication and creative passion.

DL: Irrelative of time and space, who you would want to meet, talk and discuss with?

FA : I would love to have a personal meeting with Le Corbusier and ask him how he did to abstract himself in some sense of time and space, keeping his convictions.

DL: How do you feel about all the awards and recognition you had, is it hard to be famous?

FA : Successes as well as failures must be carried with humility.

DL: What is your favorite color, place, food, season, thing and brand?

FA : Colors all, place, my house, food pasta, spring season, favorite thing pen, brand montblanc

DL: Please tell us a little memoir, a funny thing you had experienced as a designer?

FA : Once I designed a project for a friend. He wanted a Californian style house, and I told him that I could not design trends, but what came out of me. Finally, he put my project in a drawer and made a house for himself as he wanted. One day a client appeared in his business, who wanted a wooden house. My friend took the project that I had done for him and the client loved it -from the drawer of his cabinet! -That house finally was made, which later won numerous awards and distinctions.

DL: What makes your day great as a designer, how do you motivate yourself?

FA : I like to design, any challenge that involves designing I'm passionate about it.

DL: When you were a little child, was it obvious that you would become a great designer?

FA : No, but I have always been fascinated by art and architecture. When I was a child I thought how someone could “out of nowhere” transform an idea, a thought, a sensation into a creative fact. At 18 years old, I asked my father if I should study architecture or fine arts, and my father, with his wisdom, told me "study architecture because you are going to be able to help and transform people's lives."

DL: What do you think about future; what do you see will happen in thousand years from now?

FA : I really don't know, I hope the world is still a place where you can live.

DL: Please tell us anything you wish your fans to know about you, your design and anything else?

FA : Positively transform people's lives, improve yourself, always, so you can grow.



Santos House

Santos House by Fernando Abelleyro

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