Viewing Victor Castanera’s portfolio, you might imagine you’re looking at the work of two different people: some items reflect the precise thinking of a skilled technician; others, the gentle hand of an artist.
But the 26 year old designer has always been equally interested in both the technical and creative sides of design.
Look more closely at his work and its obvious that each of his projects combines these impulses: items with an organic, naturalistic look are underpinned by painstaking research and experimentation, while those with an overtly scientific aesthetic actually employ technology to make life more intuitive or wondrous.
This combination of interests can be traced back several years. Barcelona born and based, Castanera briefly considered studying architecture, but eventually opted for product design because of the relative freedom and immediacy it offered.
His Areniscos bowls, launched in 2012, are an example of the former, stemming from dreamy reminiscences of a youth spent by the ocean. Created on the beach, they incorporate nature into the making process.
He poured water into sand to fashion natural moulds, then filled these with a non toxic acrylic resin to create a unique set of vessels caked in the sand on which they were conceived. He used the same technique for the limited edition Costa Brava series, made on different beaches with a variety of sand colours.
Last year’s Undae cups, vases, tables and boards were also inspired by the beach – specifically, the patterns that waves and wind create on sand.
Achieving this involved building precise moulds, then pouring resin into them vertically from suspended pipes. For the lighter Sand series, wood flour and sawdust are mixed into the resin, while the Sea collection is coloured by blue and black pigment.