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    Young Spanish Designers on the Rise

    Energy surged at the Feria Hábitat Valencia last week when visitors entered NUDE 2012, a special annual exhibit devoted to promising young designers from Spain and its autonomous regions in countries such as France and Italy. The exhibit, aka the “New Design Show,” proved to be Hábitat’s creative epicenter and a unique opportunity to discover the nation’s emerging talent. Local design is often stereotyped as quirky, but these youths tempered the unique with thoughtful editing for the newest flavors in Spanish design.

    For the 11th edition, 25 design studios were selected to exhibit by a jury comprising Fernando Amat, director of Vinçon; journalist Tachy Mora; Ester Castaño, executive director of Sancal; Juan Mellen, executive director of RED-AEDE, the Association of Spanish Design Companies; and Carlos Tiscar, industrial designer and chairman of the ADCV, the Comunitat Valenciana Association of Designers.

    Students from Universitat Jaume I presented the results of their Mystery Clients workshop, a three-month course that provided tutoring and direction on exhibiting at the country’s singular trade show. Working as a team of professionals commissioned by ghost companies, the students created a lamp with LED panels that illuminate separately via pressure, an ottoman topped with a cushion that unfolds to create play area for children, and a bedside console that stashes electronics and unfolds to provide a work surface perfect for iPads.

    Nearby, Pensando en Blanco had it’s own story. Riffing off a flour bag from a bakery established in 1913, the Panaderia St. Martinez, the studio has created a line of seating resembling its inspiration, each one stitched together by hand from hand woven cotton and linen, adorned with a unique label telling a bakery anecdote, and shipped in a charming paper sack. “We developed all concepts for the product from the idea of the flour bag,” says designer Borja Garmendia. “The shape is very easy and adaptable tothat of the human, because this is the shape of your body when you’re resting – it’s perfect.” Inside, EPS micro-pearls combine with foam in recycled and biodegradable materials to provide a shape that aligns naturally with our spines.

    studio displayed a range of water-cut birch furniture kits laminated in solid colors – they’re flat-packed and shipped without any screws or tools so that clients can simply fit the panels together to transform the Barcelona-made kits into lighting, seating, and tables. Meanwhile, Maria Baldo Benac presented the unexpected Thea chair for Menut Estudio. The handy children’s seat is equipped with sliding container for toys in its base, while the back features a curtain-shaped cut-out that invites puppetry.