In her master's project, designer Omayra Maymó collaborated with Danish brand New Works to find ways of bringing individuality and character to industrial production. We interviewed the Spanish designer to learn more about the demanding undertaking and the Pleat pitcher that resulted from it.
Hi Omayra! Firstly, could you tell us a bit about your background?
“I actually have a background in architecture. At some point, I realized how amazed I was by the smaller scale of design and decided to switch fields – I moved to Denmark to study design. After graduating I worked for three and a half years as a designer for Ferm Living, designing a vast array of products. During this time, I also developed some personal, more experimental projects.
Last year I felt I needed a change, so from the beginning of 2020 I have been dedicating myself fully to my own studio and my own projects. I am very happy with the beginning of this new chapter.”
Now you’ve teamed up with New Works with the Pleat pitcher. How did you end up collaborating with the brand?
“I approached New Works when working on the final project of my master’s degree in which I investigated ways to achieve individuality within industrial production. The Pleat pitcher was one of the objects that resulted from the project.
“My aim was to imbue industrially produced objects with the unique character that people have traditionally loved in hand-crafted pieces.”
I am very pleased we are presenting Pleat together; not only because New Works has seen the project grow from the beginning but also because it is a fantastic company that holds some great core values. New Works has achieved the perfect balance merging experimentation and innovation with tradition and artisanship.”
Could you tell us a bit more about the project and Pleat?
“The project was about questioning the aesthetic model based on the ‘perfect’ and the ‘uniform’. During a 5-month research and experimentation process, I developed my own tools and production techniques, aiming to imbue industrially produced objects with the unique character that people have traditionally loved in hand-crafted pieces. The ultimate purpose was to generate more meaningful objects, with character and soul, that would stimulate stronger emotional bonds with the user.
Rather than enforcing a form on the material, I let it behave in its own way and partially decide its own shape. The Pleat pitcher is shaped from a perfect steel cylinder with a simple alteration that generates its spout. This clear and powerful gesture gives the object its meaning, its function, and its expression, all at once. A ‘deformation’ is embraced to the point of becoming the most fundamental part of the design.”
Where do you seek inspiration for your designs?
“I often experiment hands-on with the materials. This process of trial and error is what I love the most about design work. I am also very influenced by art and architecture, so a lot of my work has a really architectural character.
I find a lot of inspiration just by observing everyday life. I enjoy questioning the established and rethinking the things around me in order to try and find new possibilities and meanings in our material world. I see design as a way to explore the narrative and expressive potential of objects.”
“In Pleat, a ‘deformation’ is embraced to the point of becoming the most fundamental part of the design.”
Do you have a favorite designer?
“For me, the all-time best designer was Hans J. Wegner. I’ve never rested in more comfortable pieces of furniture. His designs are so simple and functional yet so delicate, rich, and timeless. Through his work, I learned the value of craftsmanship and care for materials.
But, if I had to choose a favorite designer, that would be Hella Jongerius. I admire her work very much, and not only for being one of the most influential figures in contemporary design but especially for being a great thinker and theorist. I also love the work of Max Lamb. I am truly fascinated by the intense relationships he generates with the materials. He’s a genius.”
Pleat has now been launched. What can we expect in the future?
“I am still exploring the theme of giving freedom to the material. I’m currently working on some smaller objects made in different metals, investigating ways to minimally manipulate the material while encouraging it to shape itself and generate new aesthetics and identities.
I am also working on a couple of collaborations involving bigger furniture. I am very excited about them and hope they will be released soon.”
Text: Emmi Ratilainen Images: Manufacturers, Omayra Maymó