Design For Manufacturing

Isabel Alonso

Isabel Alonso graduated in Industrial Design Engineering at the Polytechnic University of Valencia, Spain. There, she was awarded 1st of her class among 146 students and received the National Award for Excellence in Academic Performance. She subsequently took a Master's Degree in Graphic Arts at the same university. After being awarded the “La Caixa” scholarship, she went on to complement her studies with the MA Design Products at the Royal College of Art. During her time at the RCA, she was part of the course coordination team for Milan Design Week 2019, where she also exhibited with the Defocus project.

Other recognitions include the National Award Valencia Crea as well as participation in several exhibitions at the Illustration and Modernity Museum of Valencia, Spain. She gained work experience as a designer in Cartonlab, Spain, focusing on furniture and exhibition sustainable design, and at Monica Förster Design Studio, in Sweden.

Contact

isaalo.isabel@gmail.com

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For Isabel, design is multidisciplinary and collaborative in essence. Her work begins with comprehensive research into a specific context that could be opened up to a wider audience. She understands objects as communication tools for a craft, culture or aspect of human behaviour. Furthermore, she believes objects are, as parts of systems, a powerful medium for positive social or environmental impact. She cares about the process as much as the end result and believes aesthetics is a valuable agent for a message to reach an audience.

She is currently interested in finding a job or collaboration to share her design values while taking part in creatively and technically challenging design projects.

Picture: Isabel with a bobbin lace piece made by her great-grandmother.

Lamp for rotatory movement

Lamp for rotatory movement (on)

Lamp for zig-zag movement in glass mould

Lamp for zig-zag movement in glass mould (on)

Lamp for back-forward movement on bench

Lamp for back-forward movement on bench (on)

Similes lamps blue detail

Similes lamp white detail

Interaction with the lights: mimicking the glassblower's movements

Documentary about Juan Alcántara glassblower

Similes is a collection of lights that aims to give voice to tacit knowledge and communicate the craft of glassblowing in a different way. Based on an artisan-designer collaboration and knowledge exchange, the glassblower’s actions and tools were reinterpreted and captured in three lights.

During the last few decades, increasingly more glassblowing workshops have closed down in Spain. This project sets its focus on one of the few remaining in the southeast of the country, which has experienced a slump in the demand for its work, especially from local consumers. This is an unsettling scenario for the craft, which is at risk of disappearing, but even more so for the artisans who cannot enjoy, harness, and transmit their skills.

Challenging the perception of crafted glass as static pieces, each one of the lights is switched on/off by mimicking one of the three main movements that glassblowers perform in their making. These pieces work as communication tools. Through them, the user is expected to better understand the craft, start a conversation about it and, ultimately, stimulate further interest around it.

The whole design process has been carried out along with the glassblower, in order to provide him with new thinking tools. Hence, adapting his work to new audiences, while giving him room for experimentation.

This project works as a case study of a new intervention system for traditional crafts. The system aims to generate a long-lasting and stable status for the crafts through the concept of ‘object-conveyors’. The term refers to objects that are made based on the observations and collaborations of artisan, designer and consumer, and try to convey and reveal elements of the craft that are not normally perceived. Such a system should foster a similar perception of value for artisan and consumer in order to create meaningful and durable bonds through unique handmade objects.

Medium:

Glass and steel

Size:

9 months
Communication
Community
Craft
Craftsmanship
Glass
Glass blowing
Interaction
Light Design
Lighting
social design
Tools
tradition

Defocus collection

Defocus detail

Defocus detail

Defocus detail

Defocus clothes rack pieces

Defocus clamps

Research book: abandoned furniture

Research book: visits to woodworkers

Defocus is a collection of flat-packed craft furniture resulting from the study of and collaboration with woodworkers. As a renewed dialogue, the user finishes the artisan’s work by assembling the furniture with a system that resembles traditional carpentry clamps. The furniture, ideal for nomadic lives, is particularly easy to disassemble.

Mass manufactured furniture is frequently represented by affordable and easy to assemble detached pieces; while crafted furniture tends to be one-off, high-priced items coming in one piece. Neither of them are easy to disassemble, encouraging a short life period or restraining the enthusiasm for acquiring an artisan piece.

Defocus embraces the most common way in which society understands furniture nowadays: flat packing. It also carries craftspeople's values: local and traditional business, authenticity and quality. This project highlights artisan’s principles such as the use of local wood (London cherry), the wood grain alignment in every piece, and the detailed finishing presented as a gradual edge rounding. These features, exclusive to craftsmanship, create meaningful and long-lasting unique pieces while reconciling efficient manufacturing that minimises time and material waste.

The joining system, made of solid aluminium, creates highly stable pieces. Furthermore, it does not need any tools to be set up or dismantled, which generates a seamless user experience. Clamps, used by woodworkers since ancient times, become a conversational piece about the craftsmanship process.

This project works as a case study of a new intervention system for traditional crafts. The system aims to generate a long-lasting and stable status for the crafts through the concept of ‘object-conveyors’. The term refers to objects that are made based on the observations and collaborations of artisan, designer and consumer, and try to convey and reveal elements of the craft that are not normally perceived. Such a system should foster a similar perception of value for artisan and consumer in order to create meaningful and durable bonds through unique handmade objects.

Medium:

Wood (London cherry) and aluminium

Size:

6 months

"La Caixa" Foundation

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