Ten pieces of different materials challenge the laws of equilibrium. Making use of the same typology and different scales, the collection shows in each composition, the balance between the technique, the people and the ideas that inspire us. Each piece was produced using different traditional trades, craft techniques and Mexican industrial technologies that Joel has explored at different points in his career.
Joel has managed to understand the state of the industry in the country and its dialogue with design thanks to its broad horizon and extensive experience, which have allowed him to experiment with different techniques and work with various workshops and industries in the country. Thus, Balance is a sample of the capacity of the Mexican industry as well as a portfolio of Joel's own work as a designer.
Balance refers to the diversity that can be generated in creation parting from the same concept: the pewter piece, for example, was produced in the vitrifying facilities of CINSA in Saltillo, Coahuila, where thousands of pots and pans are manufactured daily; The silver piece was made in the high precision and quality factory of TANE in Mexico City, where the raw material is silver law .99. The glass piece, on the other hand, is the result of the craftmanship blown glass, technique that is learned from generation to generation in NOUVEL Studio in the State of Mexico; from a simple sheet of copper, molded by hammering in the hands of the craftsman Napoleon in Michoacan, resulted the piece of such material; and some others were made in a workshop in Teotihuacan where obsidian, lava stone and other minerals were of great inspiration and usefulness for pre-Columbian cultures in Mexico.
Balance represents a creative high point in Joel's career as it is the result of a constant search for balance between the idea and the process, the comfort of the known and the uncertainty of the new, stability and constant movement.
“All my life I had been looking for balance failing miserably. Balance between love and apathy, between my friends and my family, between disinterest and obsession, between what I want and what I really need. Obsessed with the search for balance in my life, I unexpectedly found it in my passion: creation.”
— Joel Escalona
Designing with silver for TANE is the closest thing we have done to fashion design. It is interesting to work with a rigorous calendar of seasons and precise brand guidelines to create everyday luxury. Even if we have designed jewelry and accessories for them for years, it is always exciting to go to their production facilities to see how our ideas are transformed into a precious material that will be sold in the most exclusive stores.
To witness how one of our designs is manufactured in NOUVEL Studio is quite the experience. To make a single piece of blown glass it is necessary the ability of several specialists, sometimes three, another six. However, everyone has a specific task: who removes the red-hot glass from the oven, who blows through the metal cane to mold the material, who heats up the piece with the blowtorch so that it does not cool down, who cuts the surplus, who manipulates the mold, who directs everything inside the workshop. For us, every time we make new designs with them, it means participating with that initial idea that is being shaped by all the hands that contribute in the process.
Marble is perhaps one of the most passionate materials there is; dramatic, ethereal and opulent. We use it when we want to express luxury in spaces, and melodrama in a monument. In the university we teach that marble is also a key piece of the Renaissance, which represents openness and change, but a change that does not forget its origins, but takes brings them back and transforms them with a new language.
Obsidian is a material extremely rich in history and tradition; It is a natural glass of volcanic origin that was used for manufacturing spiritual objects in pre-Columbian cultures. However, working with obsidian is a trade that has been handed down from generation to generation; and so, we are collaborating with the third generation of a family in Teotihuacan, where the grandfather started with the technique, the father perfected it and the children are in the process of modernization, working with designers like us to innovate the tradition.
We met Napoleon in Santa Clara del Cobre due to a project we carried out for the Museum of Popular Art (Museo de Arte Popular), where designers are invited to work with artisans to create new products with craft techniques. Sometimes traditions are seen as something that should be placed on a pedestal behind a glass only to be admired. On the contrary, we believe that preserving knowledge (in this case artisanal) is achieved through being understood, used and evolved.
Wood is the material with which designers lose their virginity, because when they stop making paper things and get into a workshop at the university for the first time, it is the first material they use. From the tradition of wood in Mexico there is much to say, it is used in crafts, traditional toys, kitchen utensils, decorative accessories and contemporary furniture. For all this, carpentry is more than an everyday trade, it is one of the noblest processes to design and for that reason, we wanted to break with that comfort and challenge this material.
If in a history museum we pay attention to pre-Columbian objects, we will notice the curious ambivalence of the volcanic stone. Formerly, it was used both in utilitarian objects as containers and utensils, as well as in symbolic figures with a deep value and religious significance. How important has the presence of this material been for our history, since aside from covering the entire spectrum of needs ranging from the practical to the spiritual, it has managed to become a timeless and highly effective element for design and contemporary art.
A material, a process and a company that is present practically in all Mexican homes. CINSA is one of our great triumphs in terms of scale, as collections and concepts we have made for them have been manufactured in millions of pieces, that almost anyone can acquire and enjoy. Having achieved innovation on such a large scale is our legacy in design.
The challenge of clay paste is not only found in the form and composition, but also in the history behind the finish. In 2013 master ceramist Rubén began the process of developing a glace, in an attempt to emulate traditional clay with ceramic properties: soft to the touch, resistant to moisture and eye-catching. Attracted by the innovative material, we decided to work with him, not only to make a piece that emulates something longstanding, but to give form and function to a new material.
Ceramic is one of the most capricious and charming materials at the same time. Usually it requires great patience in its conception and manufacture, especially for forms or compositions that border on the impossible. Trying new configurations requires experts with an adventurous spirit and their experienced hands, as is the case of an ingenious workshop in Mexico City, where father and son put knowledge and skill to do something they had never tried before.
From the computer to reality, as if the object materialized out of thin air, usually the prelude to production. In the studio we integrated 3D printing into our design process with the aim of reducing time and making better decisions for different design proposals. It is not the same to see a piece in the distance of a monitor, as to have it in your hand, to slide your fingers over each of its surfaces and to truly feel it. In this way, we took the time to analyze the relevance of this manufacturing process, which due to the experience it generates, is a piece in itself. 3D printing is like freezing a story in the most dynamic part of the narrative, to appreciate it as it is.