Spanish-born designer Vicente García Jiménez has studied textures, colors, light, and shadow throughout his life. After graduating from the University of Experimental Sciences in Castellon de la Plana, Spain, with a major in industrial design engineering, he moved to Barcelona to collaborate with furniture and lighting company Santa & Cole. Jiménez later moved to Udine, Italy, where he developed a new line of lighting fixtures for Italian manufacturer Karboxx. In 2005, he became art director for the Spanish lighting company Fambuena. Jiménez currently lives and works in Udine where he is creating lighting fixtures, furniture, and exhibition spaces.
CREATING EMOTION AND LIFE THROUGH ART
MSC: Your work reflects an interest in objects and forms that create life and emotions through lighting. What inspired or brought about this idea that light can create emotion and life, and how do you create it in your own pieces?
VGJ: If you think from the beginning of time, everything started with a big impact, a big light; it is all about life. Every single light creates an atmosphere. Form, lights, and shadows are channels that can make you feel emotion. Soft diffusing light, layers of light, or a simple candle can make you feel free, relaxed, and comfortable. Of course, it also depends on the place and the people you are with and what you are doing at that moment.
INSPIRATION AND FORM
MCS: Your work is often geometric in form. What influences these forms?
VGJ: I begin with a concept. Then I start developing it into more detail, thinking about the union of materials and shapes. You never know where an idea will come from. Sometimes I start thinking about the packaging and shipping of a product and the design emerges from that. In the end it is about proportion. I love geometric shapes that are primitive in their simplicity or when you use them in a repetitive way. In the case of the light fixture Fields, it has a lot of versatility in terms of where it can be installed and how. It is one object, but when several are grouped together it becomes a field of overlapping planes of light.
MSC: You often work with layers of light, color, and texture within one piece. How do you successfully combine all of these elements?
VGJ: There are different types of light and shadows. To blend different types of light in the same object is for me as if I were painting with tones of gray or dark blue. I look for a way to satisfy the function of the object, but I also want to express myself through each piece.
MSC: Do you envision your pieces becoming a portion of the surrounding environment, or are they best served as focal points and stand-alone objects?
VGJ: Some of them have a strong personality such as Big Bang, Fields, and Bizarre. I find it more interesting to play with simpleobjects like a Saarinen table or Thonet chairs and very clean spaces.
I do not like to insert too many objects into a space as it can become too chaotic. The personality of the individual object should also relate to the personality of the space it occupies, yet at the same time an object can have multiple functions.
BACKGROUND AND FUTURE
MSC: It seems that most designers who are sensitive to light have a moment, or several moments, where light has made a powerful impression on their memory; a time when light created a mood or atmosphere so strong that it left an impact on the individual and shaped that moment. Is there a defining moment for you?
VGJ: I remember when I was once flying from Madrid to Valencia. For a moment we were over La Mancha, the area where I spentmy childhood and where my parents were born. I looked down at the landscape and saw the earth as this series of rectangular pieces of colors. It had a huge impact on me and was the inspiration to create Fields; I was trying to recreate what I had seen from the plane.
Another moment was three years ago when I went into the kitchen late one night when it was extremely hot. When I opened the refrigerator the light from inside hit the wall in such a way that it created this composition of points. It was completely unexpected. I stood there just trying to understand the pattern and the experience of it.
MSC: Where do you hope to take your work in the future?
VGJ: Like every designer or artist, each day I wonder about what Iam doing. Over time your personal definition of what you are doing changes. I am trying to resolve problems by bringing experiences together and making a human connection. The end result ofthe design is an expression of all this thought. No matter whether I am working on a custom project or a light fixture or piece of furniture that will be mass-produced, I still want there to be a connection between me and the person using the object.
Meghan Smith-Campbell is a graduate student in the MFA LightingDesign program at Parsons the New School for Design in NewYork City.