“I design to enjoy the pleasures in life”. This is the motto of Lina Giraldo, an industrial designer who, after working for top restaurants such as elBulli, decided to make the most of her experience to design new gastronomy experiences by means of functional and highly durable products.
Co.lecció, her thesis project, is made up of a series of unique artisan cement pieces that offer a different and attractive aesthetics for tableware. An original proposal for those seeking to stand out, with an environmental awareness that reached Gastón Acurio, one of the most relevant chefs worldwide, with whom Lina has just embarked on a joint project.
We spoke with her to ask her about the details of the successful evolution of Co.lecció:
After your time in the world of haute cuisine, what led you to take an MA in product design?
I wanted to combine my two greatest professional passions: design and cooking.
I am an industrial designer and a professional chef. When I decided to train as a chef my aim was to create a specialised brand focusing on new gastronomic proposals with design at their core. While at elBulli I was able to witness the close relationship between my two disciplines, where cooking is designing.
For this reason, and after several years working in the gastronomy world, I took the Master of Product Design Labs at the IED Madrid, focusing on the world of cooking and food, with the aim of establishing the foundation to develop my own brand of innovative products.
Your designs are aimed at gastronomy. Do you feel it is important for designers to specialise in a certain field?
Yes, absolutely. The world of design is infinite, and anything can be design, so if you don’t focus you can get lost in the immensity of that space.
Also, to be a good designer, you must understand the user, the context and sector. Or, as in my case, it’s even better if you have experienced them directly, having been on the other side, as the user.
I think this applies to any area of design and to life in general. It is a matter of empathy, of putting yourself in another’s position and knowing what they feel or think. By specializing you increase your ability to empathise.
What led to your work with Gastón Acurio? Can you tell us about the project you are carrying out for him?
This collaboration emerged through my contacts at the Masters of Design and Innovation, who are wonderful people and great professionals, and, above all, lifelong friends.
I am developing a collection of exclusive tableware using a new material, UHPC concrete, for his project in Peru, on the basis of unique needs and requirements he and his team have proposed.
It has been a joint project. The idea is that once the product is designed we will also be in charge of producing any pieces they need.
What kind of professional outlook have you gained at the Master of Product Design Labs del IED Madrid? Why would you recommend it?
The MA provided me with a professional approach to networking. I was able to experience the way in which you can build new relationships and be professional and work toward excellence, and how that will help you establish contacts that will help promote your work.
I also gained an understanding of self-production, of the figure of the designer –producer, which strengthened by entrepreneurial spirit and motivated me to develop my own brand and to set up my company.
I recommend the MA because of its international approach, its faculty and context. At the IED Madrid you make friends and get to meet people from all over the world, and students enjoy almost personalised guidance, as well as the necessary facilities and tools.
Madrid’s international character rounds off the design training, with its social, cultural and entertainment options. It is a world capital with a very special charm, a cosmopolitan place that complements the training students receive.
What projects are you preparing for the future?
In the short term, I want to finish consolidating my company in a formal way, as there is a lot of work to be done, anywhere in the world.
I also plan to take part in gastronomy and design fairs, such as the upcoming fair in
Mistura in Lima (Peru), the most important gastronomy fair in Latin America. I hope to make lots of new contacts and meet future clients, and to carry on showing the world this fusion of my two passions, which I developed in the MA.
In parallel, I am finishing another design project for one of the most important new restaurants in Madrid: Punto MX. I have been designing three exclusive pieces for their second season.
In the medium term, I want to control the entire design process and get to be in charge of the entire production of my designs, as well as consolidating my design and production company.
Lastly, in the long term, I dream to have a brand that is known for generating a movement which, through design, recues the sacred and meaningful value of food as an element integrating family and society.