A new movement in design is sweeping the globe - SLOW is the new best!
Everybody knows Slow Food. But Slow Design? Slow Design was inspired by the Slow Food– and Slow City-movements which started in southern Europe.
A slow design does not refer to the time needed to draft and create something. Similar to the gastronomy sector it´s about the time you take for the whole process, using local materials, and as few machines as possible.
Interior designers Nicoletta Mantoan & Alejandro Dumon
The designer Alastair Fuad-Luke, a professor at the Finnish Aalto-University, developed the modern term of Slow Design in 2002 as a creative, sustainable design which respects the environment and resources of our planet. Instead of producing rapidly for the market, the Slow Designers work following the specific wishes of the client.
Nicoletta Mantoan (38) and her partner Alejandro Dumon (33) live and work on a finca close to Sa Ràpita. Nicoletta is an architect from Italy whereas Alejandro has French/Mallorcan roots and studied fine arts and statuary. Under the name 2monos the couple designs furniture and home accessories. Their handcrafted pieces are made to last for life – in contrast to industrial design and series production.
Their last project was a kitchen for a city house in Palma. They built the structure from blackened iron and all elements with solid wood which came from an ancient finca.
“Used materials increase the emotional value of a designer piece,” Alejandro says.
As Slow Designers they also take care of details, manufacture door handles themselves, and apply old Japanese techniques which are chemical free in order to make the wood harder and resistant to insects. They let the iron oxidize outside and then work the material with oil and heat. For example, the iron bars can be used to make shelves for firewood, which can also be used as book shelves or benches if you turn them by 45 degrees. “When your living requirements change, the furniture has to adapt,” Nicoletta believes. Friends from London want to convince the couple to move to the metropolis. But they both know that “Mallorca has a big influence on our ideas, and the materials and textures of nature inspire us.”
Glass Artist Raquel Pou
The insect colony of glass artist Raquel Pou (44) also seems to have marched into her gallery straight from the ‘campo’. The Mallorcan from Campos opened the Hot Glass Studio three years ago on the town´s perimeter. Her home and the workshop are only a few minutes apart (on foot).
“Short distances are important to me,” says Raquel,
who visited Palma’s glassmaking school and learned in the glass factory Gordiola.
She works exclusively with sustainable and recyclable raw materials from the area, recycles iron from the scrap yard, and window glass from the glazier´s workshop in Campos. She buys her drinking water in glass bottles rather than plastic ones and then melts them in the furnace. The oven is not running on a daily basis, but only on workshop days – then up to 14 hours at a stretch.
The artist loves to transform everyday things into unique pieces. If not it would feel like a pointless repetition of the same to her. In the studio there are oil bottles with lids that are bigger than the bottles themselves – a reversal of meaning. Oil containers which were not sold, Raquel melted again and created a new installation: nine long-stretched bubbles are hanging from the ceiling like a huge mobile. Underneath crawls a colony of ants and beetles. With their shiny, turquoise and crystal bodies, and heads made from old bed springs, the little beasts look really amusing.
Fashion Designer Maria Trepat
Maria Trepat (34) already knew during her fashion studies in Barcelona that she would have her own ‘eco-line’ one day. Instead of designing according to the rules of the summer and winter collections of the fashion market, she produces around 30 pieces per year which do not have an expiry date. Her unpretentious and straightforward styles don´t follow trends but serve as long-lasting basics in your wardrobe.
This fits in with Maria´s philosophy of consuming consciously and using resources economically. This does not mean that her fashion is boring; she likes to play with details such as the length of a skirt, different-coloured trouser cuffs and added sleeves on dresses.
The collection Suite 13 is produced in collaboration with workshops in Barcelona; the collection Heaven Lab, Maria commissioned to India – not because it´s cheaper but because in South Asia they produce according to internationally valid eco standards which are still lacking in Spain. Marta established the contact with the Indian factories during an NGO project in 2008 and also sources her fabrics made from eco cotton from there. In her Boutique Suite 13 she sells her creations along with jewellery and fashion of different eco labels from London, Madrid and Berlin.