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Rafael Moneo Designer

Rafael Moneo

Juli Capella, architect, design critic, exhibition curator, founder in 1984 of De Diseño, the first Spanish specialist design magazine, Editor of Ardi (1988 - 1994), design editor for Domus (1995 - 2000), curator of the famed Primavera del Desseny fair (1992), is the author of a book on designer Rafael Moneo published in 2005 by ESTAB (Escola Tecnica Superior d’Arquitectura de Barcelona) with the support of Santa&Cole (1*). For Capella, it was an opportunity to reflect on how design and architecture relate, the benefits of an inter-disciplinary approach compared to work in parallel, the different creative processes, and the basic prerequisites of design.
Although Rafael Moneo calls himself an amateur designer, he has many works to his name. He started while still a student in 1959, entering a competition with a deliberately period-style set of cutlery. And he continues designing today. Not because design has anything to do with architecture - they are two very different trades, he says - nor because he is sought out to create designer pieces, but because furnishings are an integral part of any interior, in no way secondary to good architecture. “My design”, Moneo continues, “provides the setting that explains the intentions of my architectures. I designed the handrails of the Atocha station (Madrid 1984) down to the last detail, not because I think industrial production is not good but because none fitted that particular architecture”. For handrails give an immediate perception of a place, and so cannot be estranged from the rest of the architectural concept. Moneo’s wooden handrail in the San Sebastian Kursaal (1990-1999) is a case in point. With a cross-section showing the natural wood grain, it reveals much about the “intentions” of that superb architecture, highlighting the atmosphere reminiscent of Alvar Aalto, one of the masters to whom Moneo feels greatly indebted.
At the book presentation in Santa&Cole’s Milan showroom, Moneo declared...

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