HOOK is the latest product to be launched by Faro Barcelona in collaboration with OiKo Design Office. It is the first time the studio and Faro Barcelona have worked together, and we would like to know a little more about how the process was and what your opinion is regarding the final product.
- What is OiKo Design Office?
OiKo is us: Jose López-Aguilar and Salva Codinach. First and foremost, we were friends before becoming partners; our personalities are radically different but it is in the middle ground we have built together where the key to our studio lies. The other day, we heard someone defining design as a combination of scientific thoughts and certain aspects of the artist’s personality and character; the truth is we could not agree more. We met while we were studying, but we did not use to work together in projects. In fact, we started collaborating more than ten years after finishing school; and although we had always maintained a personal relationship, each of us had gone our separate ways regarding our careers. José, being closer to research, teaching and the media, and Salva focusing on the industrial fabric and the business side of things. In the end, we see that what brought us together was our passion for having our work improve people’s lives.
- HOOK is your first work for Faro Barcelona. How did you live that experience?
It is always exciting to start working for a new client. With Faro Barcelona, since the beginning, we have had the feeling they believed in something we were proposing that broke the molds of what is usually seen. In our work, we are always very aware of the environmental and toxicological aspects of the materials and the manufacturing processes, which creates in many clients certain level of apprehension. With Faro Barcelona, though, we have felt extra motivated in that aspect and our effort to make possible everything we set out to do was greatly appreciated, something for which we are genuinely thankful. We are talking about trust, motivation and enthusiasm.
- What was your inspiration for creating HOOK?
We had always been interested in the idea of the working lamp, used by workers in workshops, construction, etc. A product that had already been discussed by Bruno Munari in the 1960s as an example of fine anonymous design, and later revised by the great Konstantin Grcic with the Mayday. We wanted to adapt its dimensions to the size of the hand, to the idea of a torch, to contact, etc. We wanted a lamp that invited people to interact with it, to relate to it, to pick it up and take it from here to there; a lamp that, without being a battery lamp, would be completely portable.
- HOOK is a lamp with a hook… In what sense?
First, in the obvious sense, it features a hook… does it not? It all started with the briefing in which we were asked for “a lamp with a hook”, obviously referring to a commercial hook, something that would hook people, a metaphorical hook. Therefore, almost as a joke, during that first meeting we decided it would be called HOOK and its design would revolve around an actual hook, that the lamp could be hung.
- HOOK follows the basic principles of sustainability: reducing, reusing and recycling. What do sustainability and ecodesign mean to you?
Sustainability should be design and not be considered a dogma or a basic principle that cannot be questioned. Design will question everything that currently exists because, precisely, it is what already exists what has been proven a failure, both in theory and in practice. If not, why, to this day, should we continue to build just another simple lamp? For us, the introduction of environmental parameters in the design process is the only way to face a product; in a normalized way, in the same manner that we consider ergonomic parameters when designing a chair or any other object. The day will come when we will not have to talk about ecodesign, the same way we do not talk about “ergodesign”, but in the meantime, we do believe communication to be very important. We must generate product culture and enable the public to have a basic sense of what their consumption implies. They must be able to regulate their purchasing decisions based on the environmental behavior of the companies. In this sense, Faro Barcelona has made a commendable transparency effort in issuing a sustainability report with HOOK.
- What influence does ecodesign have when creating a new lamp? Does it modify or limit the possibilities in any way?
It never limits possibilities. Being environmentally aware is just another of the designer’s obligations. Currently, it is only a moral obligation. However, we hope it quickly becomes a legal obligation or one imposed by the market. Would you not say it is senseless to consider making an uncomfortable chair or an unmanufacturable lamp? The same goes for a product that affects the environment negatively. In the end, nothing is impossible and Faro Barcelona has proven that. It all depends on people’s decisions, motivations and will. HOOK is a great example of that. It is the result of an adventurous journey initiated by a driven company and a responsible studio.
- A lamp should seduce you. Do you think HOOK is capable of achieving that?
The truth is we want HOOK to be understood and work properly. Not to be hopeless romantics but although seduction and falling in love is fun, we all know it ends at some point. More that seducing, we would like it to generate a feeling of affinity and kind of a friendship.
- What differentiates HOOK from the rest of the lamps in the market?
We could mention its multi-functionality, its versatility, etc., but what really differentiates it is that it is one of the first lamps built without PVC. It does not contain PVC in its wiring or even in its internal components. Its casing, the most visible part, is made from recycled plastics, without fear of its imperfections. In addition, it is a product manufactured entirely in Spain. All of this is a silent story that accompanies the product during its lifecycle.
- All objects have a soul. What is the soul of HOOK?
If by soul you mean the immortal essence of an object, in HOOK it would be its materiality; it not only comes from another life, it can also become so much more.
- How did the idea of the accessories come to be?
The idea came from trying to expand the functions of HOOK. We started adding “prosthetics” that would allow it to work in any corner of the house. That way, we blurred the lines between lamp and furniture.
- Surely, as the project advanced, you envisioned yourselves using HOOK. In what specific situations did you picture yourselves using it? Alone? With your friends? At a barbecue, maybe?
We did more than envisioning or imagining. From the day our first prototype was ready, we started using HOOK in our headquarters for many things. To illuminate a photo shoot, to finish a prototype late at night or as an extra lamp for a party.