Consuelo Keller and Victor Castanera: code generated jewels and natural materials

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Today we are proud to introduce a new column “Pot-Pettas: where Switzerland meets Spain”. It is a brand new project born from the collaboration between The design pot and Polpettas. Starting with this “double interview” to Consuelo Keller (from Switzerland) and Victor Castanera (from Spain) we would like to launch a new way to talk about design.

Our aim is to compare designers coming from the two countries where we live in order to better understand different approaches to one of our beloved topic: design. We hope that you will find some inspiration and we hope to hear from you soon for any feedback or comment.

So…let’s go!

1. Introduce yourself: could you talk about your education and your professional experience?

Consuelo: I have a Master Degree in Classical Archeology and I spent some years in doing excavations in different countries from Switzerland to Jordan. This experience allowed me to appreciate ancient artifacts and their production techniques, discovering an interest for contemporary objects. So that I decided to study Digital Design and Management in Lucerne and, later, Interaction Design in Lugano together with Massimo Banzi, co-founder of the Arduino Project. That is why I started to explore the fascinating world of open source programming and its unlimited possibilities.

Victor: First I studied Technology, and then I had my Bachelor’s degree in Product Design. After the university, I graduated from the Elisava School of Design in Barcelona. In Elisava they tried to give us a sort of value, based on the assume that everything you do should be born from an idea, a concept, and that everything should have a meaning, starting from that very concept. The point is that the final product must have a story, and I like that because I think a good creation should be endowed with strong personality and a precise identity.

2. Tell us something about your fascinating project

Consuelo: [ Digimorphé ] is the synthetis of my passions and interests. It is a kind of platform where I am free to experiment and to combine creative coding and 3D printing with traditional materials and handmade techniques. [ Digimorphé ] is also a virtual place where you can find unique 3D printed bracelets and rings.

Victor: Areniscos is an experiment, a starting point to try to create a production system that involves both craft and nature in it. I started to observe the different physical phenomena that we can find in nature and then I managed to get to the final object. These are pieces born in nature and created by nature: every piece is different and unique, they have a precise identity and a poetic value as surplus.

3. What is exactly your production system?

Consuelo: there is always something random in my works. I am a digital artisan which means that shapes and appearences of my objects can be always (and quickly) modified by experimenting during the production process. If I choose a different value in the software that I use to design accessories, they change in a significant way and I have a lot of different options to evaluate before selecting the right one. In a few words I learn by doing, in a sort of dialogue between me and materials. 

Victor: Areniscos project is a criticism of the industrial production system: everything is too fast nowadays, people don’t care of where we are now, of how we’ve got here. For this reason Areniscos are objects actually made of sand. I wanted to experiment a differentdesign process, work with different materials, ecological above all, and create a new kind of object that reflects my interests and myself. It is a simple production system, first I shape sand molds pouring just some water, and then I have the chance to choose the most interesting and unique ones. The sand turns into a 100% natural mold, with no need of additional tools, just a resin composite, with final properties very similar to ceramics, to extract the sand mold.  

4. Where do you find your inspiration?

Consuelo: I don’t know exactly where my inspiration comes from. Sometimes it is a song, sometimes it is a simply shape…inputs are so many and, often, so diverse.

Victor: Everything that can make me feeling a sensation, songs, words, images… I decided to create Areniscos that actually is a sensation and an experience, the experience to be closer to natural environment.

5. Facing the sustainability issues is one of the most important challenges for contemporary design. How much and why your production process and materials involved are sustainable?

Consuelo: I only produce on demand or in small quantities: I don’t have any surplus. In most of the cases I use Polylactide (PLA) for my prototypes, a biodegradable and recyclable material derived from renewable sources. I can also print my jewels on site: my environmental impact is very small.

6. Do you think that design future will be more compatible with your production system or with an industrial one?

Victor: Nowadays there are so many designers experimenting with different kind of methods, and the boundaries between the individual disciplines are disappearing because designers feel free to mix up much more in their works. I think the future of design will be based right in this kind of mixture of experiences, including new materials and new technologies.

7. Where we can find your creations? What about your future plans?

Consuelo: Through my official website you can make an order or request for special creations. But my bracelets and rings are also available into two different stores (and countries): Gris, a very brand new concept store in Zürich and Oh my Blue, a contemporary jewels place in Venice. In regard to the last question I am currently attending a goldsmith course because I really like to combine traditional techniques and digital design. Jewels allow you to play with materials and with aesthetics. 

Victor: I would like to keep on experimenting with this kind of process and materials but right now I want also to keep growing up and trying to understand how to combine my creating process with the commercial world. I think, for example, natural composites are advancing very fast now in the design field and can surely contribute with new interesting properties in the creation of design objects.

Interviews by Valeria Crescenzi & Margherita Visentini. Zürich-Madrid, June 2014.

Consuelo Keller website:

Victor Castanera website:

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  1. firava

    I love the new column will be following it:)

    1. The design pot

      Thank you Firava! I am really glad that you like it. It will be a monthly column but we will continue after summer.

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