Joan Pedragosa :: “A good design allows to live better”

“A good design allows to live better”

Ricard Ruiz

He receives us in his studio, which is spacious, clean and bright, as if he had arranged it in order to be able to stand up to the strictest inspection. Joan Pedragosa, born in Badalona and resident in Barcelona, has decorated the ceiling of his workplace with his mobiles, which fill the space with movements that are slow and harmonious, like a melody by Erik Satie. As Pedragosa puts it, the mobile structures that he has been making are capable by themselves of breaking the monotony of the most empty, rectilinear spaces. Caressed by the almost imperceptible movement of pieces with a touch of Cubism or a certain echo of Miró, hung on rods and wires, Pedragosa confronts the interview with the same polish and meticulousness with which he has been working and creating for a long time.

Do you define yourself as a designer or as an artist?
I’m going through a period of transition. We could say that I am still playing in both fields. I haven’t definitively committed myself to either one.

Does it seem correct to you to consider design as the eighth art?
Categorically, yes. Good design has created a way of living. It has made it possible for people to live better and better all the time.

What role would you attribute to design in the plastic arts?
The main thing is to create the functional, to serve a purpose. Design has a specific function, to serve and provide well-being. In any case, if a visual or decorative object is designed, the act of looking at it should also provide satisfaction.

What did your stay in Lausanne meant to you?
It was there that I acquired my future professional personality with regard to graphic synthesis, to the application of new elements… In Lausanne I worked as head of creation for a prestigious design studio. That time in Switzerland permitted me to go beyond what was being done here. It provided me with a crucial speed-up in my professional life.

More than your trip to Alaska?
Well, that was important too, though in terms of sensitivity. In Alaska I was captivated by the immensity. There I began to understand just how big an open space could be.

Does your art have a relationship with nature?
Yes. I try to explain synthesis and nature.

Creator of mobiles
What trends influence the Joan Pedragosa of 1996?
Above all, I’m a constructivist. This is the fundamental trend in the stylisation of the lines. Talking about constructivism is talking about architecture, about functionalism.

Is your art more appropriate for interior spaces or exteriors?
At this moment I create more interior mobiles, though in what I produce there are also works for exteriors.

Does this correspond to any special reason?
It seems that today interior mobiles are much more feasible when it comes to producing and selling them.

What is the difference between an interior mobile and one meant for the exterior?
Mainly the materials. The exterior mobile has to be made with much sturdier materials that can withstand the inclemency of the weather.

What do you try to express with your production of mobiles?
I look for a feeling of calm. Mobiles relax people when they look at them. In a room that is totally empty, for example, a mobile offers an important point of strength.

Have you created a school with your work?
I only wish! Though in reality, kinetic art is very new. It was in 1985 when I began working with mobiles.

You are a founder member of the Association of Graphic Designers for the Promotion of the Decorative Arts. Does that still seem to you to be an interesting tool?
Yes, absolutely. I think its work has been magnificent and it has brought prestige to a profession that did not have it before. It has totally consolidated the work of designers in Catalonia.

And how would you qualify your work in the FAD?
Totally satisfactory. In addition, the FAD award that I was given encouraged me to do my work with more enthusiasm.

At 65, don’t you see yourself being passed by as a result of the evolution of new trends?
Not at all. Right now I find myself in full creative maturity, much more prepared than at any other moment in my professional life. My portfolio is full of projects, and my one ambition is to go on creating and experimenting. A non-conformist creative artist obsessed with not resigning himself Joan Pedragosa i Domènech was born in 1930 in Badalona, though for reasons of work he moved his residence and professional studio to Barcelona.

He has been a professor of advertising plastic arts at the Massana School and of knowledge of volume at the Elisava School. He is a founder member of the Association of Graphic Designers for the Promotion of the Decorative Arts (FAD), with which he has worked together closely. In 1968 the FAD awarded him their maximum distinction, the “Delta de plata”, for one of his industrial designs. He has worked in plastic arts with Joan Perucho, and has done poster work, like the poster for the 28th International Trade Fair of Barcelona and the 4th International Joan Miró Drawing Award. He has exhibited his work together with Giralt-Miracle, Pla-Narbona and Gervasi Gallardo at the Sala Gaspar in Barcelona.