David Galvañ and Manu Bañó are based across the world from each other: Mexico City and Valencia, Spain. A long-distance creative partnership which gave way to their globally-minded design studio, LaSelva. For them, collaborating at a distance works. It gives them the ability to look at problems from “two different perspectives. What results are sleek and attractive objects set apart by a “twist.” Functional and adaptable, their work ranges from pieces like “Natural,” faux-vintage interlocking flooring, to “Tenue,” surprisingly thin and elegantly simple concrete dinner plates, to LXCX, a lopsided light fixture with sure lines somehow well balanced.
Particularly special is “Atlas,” LeSelva’s collection of colorful hexagon tiles. Their website explains that when installed together, they create a pattern with colorful lines following “finite” routes while paths of others are “indefinite.” “Atlas” has proven noteworthy, winning Interior Design’s “Best of the Year,” and the Korean “K Design Award.” On the other side of their design spectrum is the sofa dubbed “Surf.” It is a dual-function object: a sofa with a table-like surface attached to the back. The piece is daydream-inducing. After getting fully horizontal, sprawling across its cushions, and placing a wine glass on the back surface, you can finally pick up an issue of FLAUNT from its smart resting place. A design as functional and sharp as this magazine.
How do you balance form and function in your approach to design?
David & Manu: Our first approach to the design philosophy of the studio was to give each product a twist; mainly on the use the customer could give the product and making his experience different. There are some examples like “Loop,” that involves the user on the creation of their wall hook as they have to intervene the metal sheet to assemble it. “Faro,” which is a different approach to a regular adjustable table lamp, using a magnet and a heavy base to rotate the lamp around. “Cosmo” adds a customization process for the client to form part of the design process, offering an armrest table and two different backrest supports that can be organized to adapt to the space.
As we met new clients and new design challenges we adapted to them. Sometimes it was not what we could offer but what we could learn from a company’s know-how and how to benefit from this, like in the case of “Atlas” or “Delta”–two design collections for a very artisan-centered company that produces every piece one by one. It gave us a new kind of liberty to create something that the final user could customize to their needs.
What does designing mean to you and how have you seen that definition applied in your creations and burgeoning designs?
David: I have always been interested in fine arts and have always been drawing, painting, or making stuff with my hands. Industrial design was a way of putting together all these abilities. Designing for me is a process that involves many steps and it is really important to check all the boxes in order to create the final product. I spend all day with papers on the table full of sketches and notes, and I love it when one of those scribbles stand out from the rest. Quickly I’ll go to my work table and start making a paper or cardboard model of the product. This is super useful in order to validate the design and it is one of the processes I enjoy the most.
What about you thrives after dark?
David: Even though I am more of a day person it is true that creativity thrives after dark. I am more productive during the day and I can work on overlapping projects and get ahead, but the creative part of the designing process works better with dimmer light.