LaSelva is a product design studio based in Valencia and Mexico City.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. We are Manuel Bañó and David Galvañ, designer and founders of LaSelva design studio, operating from Spain and Mexico.
We met at university in Valencia, Spain, while studying Industrial Design. When we finished the masters degree in furniture and lightning our paths separated and we spent a year working in different design studios in London and Valencia. About a year after we realized that it was positive working in different countries as we could find projects in both cities and let people know about us more quickly.
Currently we are working between México City and Valencia (Spain), cooperating with different companies in each country.
What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on? We just launched our first sofa for Missana in Valencia; we are about to publish our first encaustic tile collection for Mosaics Martí in Barcelona, and we are designing a collection of home accessories in concrete for a new company in Mexico City (321.5).
It is great to let people know what we do and it is great that there are companies that have faith in us in order to develop these new projects.
Whilst working on these projects we have also developed Loop, a wall hook which was successfully funded in Kickstarter and which we have taken to production.
What is one of the bigger challenges you and/or other designers are struggling with these days and how do you see it developing? Perhaps the biggest problem is getting companies to know about you and your product. It is difficult for companies to invest in new products and designs as they are sure bombarded with design concepts every day.
We have decided to try and build something by ourselves and, in some cases become manufacturers of our own designs. This is the case of our wall hook Loop. One we finish the design we decided to take the next step and look for the way to produced it at a large scale. We could have only done this thanks to the 178 people that backed our project on Kickstarter and help us fund our project, being able to invest in production and becoming design editors.
How did your interest in art or design begin? Many of our family members are architects, artists or designers. We have been inspired to express ourselves the way we liked the most and, in both cases, it has been design.
How has living in both Mexico and Spain affected your design practice? David – Living in Valencia, Spain, has increased our interest in design as it is a city full of creative people. There are many good design studios working from here and what is more important, many young design studios are being created which helps us grow together. With the design fair “Feria Habitat Valencia” and the young design platform “NUDE” taking place here, we have been able to show our designs at a national level but most importantly let people know about us at an international level.
Manuel – Living in México is so much different than in Spain; design is starting to grow and there is a lot to do and many opportunities. There are only a few product design companies as there is a big trend in self-production due to the low cost of labour force. Generally, design studios don’t have intermediaries, they design, produce and sell. There are very important promotion platforms like the Abierto Mexicano de Diseño, a design exhibition that takes place all around the city in the best showrooms, restaurants and buildings.
What products or companies are you interested in right now? We hope we could someday work with companies like Punt or Luzifer in Spain and HAY, Muji, or Joseph&Joseph internationally. All in due time!
What materials do you use in your work and what is your process like? We don’t have a material preference; we like to experiment with techniques and materials we haven’t used before. As we are a very young design studio—founded in 2013—every time we get to use a new material it is the first time we ever use it, so it feels nice to try new things and it always inspire us to keep on working. What we do like to do is to work on looking for the perfect material for each design; in the case of the wall hook, Loop, we tried bending every metal with every thickness we could find until we found one which could be bent easily but was strong, could be painted, could support weight without deformation and that could be easily handled for production.
What artists or designers are you interested in right now? We are constantly looking for inspiration and successfully finding many new emerging talented designers and new collections from established and renowned designers.
Design studios like Note Design, GamFratesi, StokkeAustad, postlerferguson, Lex Pott, Tokujin Yoshioka or Benjamin Hubert and artists like Donald Judd, Michael Heizer, Anish Kapoor, Jaehyo Lee, Markus Raetz always inspire us.
What’s your favorite thing about your city? David – I consider Valencia to be a more compact city rather than a small one as there is a lot to do and see in a reduced space. It is a city with a lot of design life, many small studios are always emerging, and there are new expositions and events all the time.
Manuel – In Mexico City there are food stalls in every corner at any time of day, if you want to have a taco at 4am you just have to go outside and have one.
What are you really excited about right now? We are really excited as we have been selected to be part of the Designboom Mart, taking place in Stockholm, and we will have the opportunity to let more people know about us and about the product we are taking to sell there, Loop.