Reflections on light – Inma Bermúdez – part two

Objects have a soul

– We all have memories associated with life. Tell us one of yours.

I live in Valencia, a city by the sea, and when I was a little girl I didn’t have a village to go to on the weekends, and in the summer we used to go to the beach by car. We would get there in the morning, and the reflection of the sun on the sea and the enthusiasm you have when you’re a child and you go to spend a day at the beach is a really happy memory of mine. In addition it is also associated with the sea, and the sea is very important in my life.

-You are Mediterranean…

Yes, I’m very Mediterranean, plus I would fight tooth and nail to defend being Mediterranean. I like it. I think we’re sensitive, outgoing people. I love the Mediterranean diet, olive oil, tomatoes. I really defend everything Mediterranean.

-What are the values of being Mediterranean?

Subjectively, it’s being a joyful person, a person with light, fun…

-Do you think that the place you grew up, the Mediterranean, has affected the way you design?

More than that, I think that the most important thing is to put yourself in the shoes of the user. Designing also means thinking about the role of the user, identifying the problem and trying to provide a solution. More than thinking about the origin of the designer’s culture, you have to determine the experience with this object, the psychology of the object.

-What do your designs say about you?

That depends on for whom you make things. For Ikea, my designs are very practical – they’re smart. For Marset, the FollowMe lamp says a lot about who I am. I am quite an expressive, spontaneous person, and people like the lamp; they smile when they see it.

I am functional for Ikea, I am the more romantic or floral Inma for Lladró, and for Marset I might be the more emotional Inma.

-Do the things you design have a soul?

Yes, objects have a soul, they convey something to you, they speak to you, they are made to be touched and used. In fact, when you create them you have to think about this soul, about this language, which is what they are going to do, or how they are going to interact.

-What is an optimistic lamp like?

A lamp that makes you smile, that draws a smile from you, that gives you a light that makes your eyes shine. A lamp that you love – to me this is the kind of design I like. It is not always possible, but I think that we’ve achieved it with the FollowMe. Ultimately everyone likes it. After that it’s a question of price, but everyone who sees it smiles and likes it. And that’s really difficult, to get a product that almost everyone responds well to. We human beings have different tastes, and each one is the son or daughter of different parents, so it’s difficult to reach everyone…

-Tell me about the FollowMe.

Follow me, follow the light. I love its name – it’s like a treat. Its name is part of the product’s essence. The FollowMe is a portable, wireless lamp with batteries. You carry it with you so it’s like a gadget.

-How did you come up with it?

I like to dig into the company’s past, and I asked Marset for information on old designs from 20 or 30 years ago. So Javier Marset sent me a catalogue and I discovered a lamp from the 1970s which was called the Flash. It was a table lamp and I really liked the way the top was attached. That was my point of departure. With the sketch in hand, Javier gave me his marketing perspective and talked about a market niche: battery-powered lamps. Usually they have a more camping-style aesthetic, more practical, so I began to work to make it really attractive. And in conjunction with Marset’s technical department we managed to create this delight.

-Is design a lifestyle?

Design is more a way of thinking. A designer is a curious person. You like to know the reason behind things, and ultimately it is a way of seeing life. When you travel, you see things differently. You think: How was that made? What material is it made of?

-Where do your ideas come from?

Mainly from working… ideas come by thinking of them!

-What is the perfect lamp like?

I think that everyone has their own definition of perfection. To me, it is a lamp that I want to have, that gives good light, a lamp that I like having wherever it is.

-And perfect light?

That’s difficult because it depends on what it’s for, what mood – depending on the action you’re doing, you need a different kind of light. My favourite light far and away is firelight.

-What remains for you to do?

Lots of things. I want to be happy, travel, have a family… My most important goal is happiness, and to find it is it important to be near the people you love, my family and my dogs.

The best reward with FollowMe is having created something that makes people smile, that they like as much as I do. It means that it’s a job well done.