Meet Alex Fernàndez and Gonzalo Milà. These two designers have worked on several collections for Bover, a Barcelona-based leader in lighting design, bringing a fresh perspective to the craft. Each brings a subjective view about lighting that goes far beyond lamp design. In fact, it offers a new way to look at life.
Alex and Gonzalo's openness of mind and spirit is embodies in the three indoor/outdoor lamp designs they've created together for Bover: the Fora collection, the Amphora collection and the Garota collection. These designs are designed to open doors, in a literal and metaphorical sense. These three designs open up new production territories for Bover, and help connect interior and exterior spaces like a soft and pleasant conversation between friends, inviting you to move from one place to another naturally.
We visited Alex and Gonzalo in their respective studios in Barcelona so they could tell us how they lived the process of creating Fora, Amphora and Garota. The three designs (and their monikers) inspire us to think about the Mediterranean, its history and its flavor.
"There is clearly a Bover spirit and a Mediterranean part that we carry inside ourselves whether we want to or not," Alex said. "Here we are opening doors, connecting, which is the main novelty and contribution of these designs, connecting the inside with the outside. They are outdoor lamps but which extend in any given time into the interior. In this way the exterior is broad and the interior is spacious, both spaces are talked about."
Both designers are aware that the geographical area where they live is privileged in terms of an abundance of light. In the Mediterranean, there is a way to live in which the light is translated into everything they do.
Alex and Gonzalo understand the search for inspiration in a very personal way. They rarely talk about great design icons; instead they emphasize what they have lived, what they have just seen that day in the street, what they feel. There are hundreds of inspirational inputs coming from their own heads. These emotional inspirations drive their approach to lighting design. For them, it is not so much the light that is important, but the effect it creates: the sculpture of light and shadow; and the affection on people's mood.
That particular vision helped translate the designers’ memories in the Costa Brava into the Fora, Amphora and Garota lamp designs (Garota means sea urchin in Catalan). The designs reference garotas found in the coves of Calella during childhood expeditions, and Roman amphorae discovered on visits to the ruins of Ampurias. These intimate experiences are interwoven with a long time of working together.
The first lamp, Fora, took many hours of research for the braided fiber, as the material was new for both the designers and for Bover. Once they were comfortable with the rattan, Fernandez and Mila could create the curved shapes found in the three designs. That then paved the way for Amphora and Garota, which came much more easily.
The three major innovations in the design of these lamps are: connecting indoor and outdoor spaces, the braided fiber treatment and the flattening of the light source. Alex tells us the process of the latter: "By flattening the globe we realized that the screen and the light source create an harmonious whole, a key element in the three models. If we see the fully spherical globe, we are surprised by how different the sensation is, it gets a leading role and you only see the inside. With the solution that we found, the screen and the light source formed a compact whole."
But beyond the end result of these three lamps, the reality is that when Alex and Gonzalo are together, a perfect synergy is created and it leads them to create designs as incredible as Fora, Amphora and Garota. According to Alex: "I am very selective with my partners, I need to feel aligned and know it makes sense, and with Gonzalo it happens. It is very easy to find projects that end up with a coffee."
"It is true that is difficult to find good partners but I have collaborated a lot," Gonzalo added. "First with my father, with other partners, with Alex. I like working in a team, starting with a dialog to settle doubts and to take further steps."
Speaking of partners, Alex and Gonzalo have found a perfect one with Bover.
"At Bover, there is a very powerful energy that fills you," Alex said. "In design, it is very important to have a good client, and Bover has very high levels of quality and sensitivity."
Gonzalo agrees: "My moment of greatest satisfaction is when I go to fairs and see the whole sales team all excited and convinced about our lamps."
Together, Alex, Gonzalo and Bover, have made it possible to expand space and time thanks to these collections. A look from inside to outside and vice versa, where everything melts into a warm, family atmosphere and lighting plays a very certain role in our authentic life experiences.