Time Bomb

Textures Purpose, Video, ProductAlicia VelazquezComment

We now nothing is there forever. We change, objetcs change, the landscape changes. Our mood changes. Our body changes.

Made out of a material that disintegrates with time, Time-Bomb Dear bracelet is a temporary piece of jewelry. 

Wether you choose it for a loved one or for yourself, TBD changes as your love changes, as you change. TBD knows that your love fades along time. She understands. She has been designed for that. It is also her nature to change, and accompany you as you change.

TBD does the job for you. No need to think you need to keep it for good. No need to confront the guilt of getting rid of it. No need to apply the KonMari method. TBD dies.

TBD comes in a beautiful package, expiration date included. You may choose the desired length of your affection. We offer 3 types, with 3 different price ranges:

  • fast & furious
  • mild & mighty, and
  • long & luminous.

How dear is your love? Or how dare?

Drop me some love (or hate, or both), on the comment lines below. 

"Just" Decoration

Textures PurposeAlicia VelazquezComment

While working in restaurant Fortissimo interior design concept, I proposed two material installations to be part of its spatial branding. One of them was a double "SS" (from the restaurant's name) made out of cutlery to appear on two of the entrance walls. 

While my client Paula Rosales is very open to creating an emotional design experience for our customers, I have heard a few times during our meetings - both with her team and our client - "yes it's nice, but what is that for? It's just decoration."

Our client didn't want to do it. "Just decoration" didn't speak to them. And, honestly, it seldom speaks to architects either. 

Why not? Why are we so reluctant to incorporate visual bliss? Isn't that enough "function"? 

Don't we put flowers on our table? Wear a necklace or ring? We don't really say we are "just decorating" our bodies. Because those things helps us express our personality, colorfulness (or lack of it) and a sense of being. Beyond what our body needs to "function"

I choose to decorate. Decoration is just. It's just to have soulful information. Just to own identity. Just to experience visual and tactile information that my intelligence - physical and mental - justly needs to survive. 

Do you also get the chills thinking about "just" decoration? What kind of reactions does it arise for you? O perhaps have you been in a situation like mine, being yourself "just decoration" promoter - or antagonist?

I'd love to hear about it in the comments below. 

Purpose is the new Function

Textures PurposeAlicia VelazquezComment

Function is over(rated). Not that we don't need to think about it or prepare to respond to needs, but, making (or consuming) design responding to function feels like such a lost opportunity. Defending that a design is only beautiful and meaningful when it follows function (a.k.a. smart, reasonable, content) results in forgettable objects and environments, susceptible to not last.

I propose that form follows purpose.

Our responsibility as designers is to create objects and environments which connect, create, enhance, stir, invite, shake, unveil, surprise, change lives. Beautiful, meaningful, purposeful objects. And, function? Function is a given, not a purpose. Of course it functions.

Design like you want to eat. Do you want to feed fuel? or feed surprise, sameness, sensuality, story?

Designing for function gave us an easy-ish escape to create from the mind. Sorry, not enough. Bring as much purpose into design (that you do, that you consume) as you possibly can. Then you will really change lives, starting with your own

Why I want to Design Peacocks

Alicia VelazquezComment

As Stefan Sagmeister states, "everything is designed".

Instead of bringing back the old chicken and egg question, which design approach moves you? Chicken or peacock?

Do simplicity and functionality make your day, everyday?
Or... why not having functionality AND a yummy skin?

The reality is that we get tired of seeing the same thing every day. We get used to striking beauty. It is a human flaw. But if I am to get tired both of seeing chicken and peacocks around, let me choose to feed my eyes and soul with capturing beauty. 

Long live form and color! Thanks for stimulating my eyes, for bringing a smile to my face. Thanks for stirring me up and causing some reaction, perhaps rejection, but leaving me wondering and totally aware. Certain vibrations are worth to try to generate. 
One feeds my body, the other feeds my soul.

Which one do you choose?

FAQ you

Alicia VelazquezComment

dear designer: are you questioning enough?

photo © Timothy Soar

photo © Timothy Soar

I realized through years of practice that there is often a dissociation between how architects believe design affects people, and how people actually feel, and end up reacting to it. 

Do you stop to realize how different it feels standing in a doctor's waiting room or in nature? What are the material elements that compose each particular atmosphere? How and why do they arouse distinct feelings? Even though they are difficult to verbalize, materiality brings huge differences in how we perceive, receive and welcome - or not - being in the place. 

Is it the combination of materials? Their color? Texture? Scent? Can one "killer" material make the experience pleasurable or unbearable?

Here are some basic questions to test your sense-ability as designer

  • Do you try enough?

Do you record how each material, color and form affects your own body? How often are you accepting preconceived ideas on materiality perception?
(Here's my invitation to) 
Action: touch everything you encounter: hug walls and posts, touch textures, expand your sensorial recording beyond the visual. Observe, experience, collect, record and document how materials and textures make you feel.

  • Do you repeat yourself?

Do you dare to test new material combinations? It is not just about knowing what are the newest materials in the market, as sometimes engaging textures come from very familiar objects. 
Action: be playful with your material samples, and go "material hunting". Try mixing, pairing, manipulating, shifting, twisting, allow materials to "speak".

  • Do you test? 

Do you wonder why the materiality of a certain place seems to engage while others don't? How much time do you spend testing the places you design (or others design), to understand the effects in your own person, body and perception? 
Action: move around with eager eyes, open your ears and your skin. Identify (soft) differences.

  • Who do you design for? 

Are you designing for yourself, for your users or for your peers? Is your ego pushing for solutions?  
Action: when posting an idea, stop shortly to ask yourself: whom is this for?

  • Do you ask?

Do you ever ask people how do they feel in the places that you design, and why? How often do you observe how people react to places? 
Action: if you know your (future) user, ask, listen, talk to him/her. if you don't, you may study similar personalities, position yourself in their skin, try to feel what they would like to feel when being there.


Questioning is a first step to understanding our current reality, and pursuing a new, expanded reality.


Feeling Food in the heart of Madrid

NewsAlicia VelazquezComment

"El Huerto de Lucas" (Lucas's Vegetable Garden) opens! 

It is an ecological market and cantina. Paula Rosales and her team more&co have completed the interior renovation of an old bread factory using biohealthy design, architecture and construction. I have complemented their project from the emotions, creating an interior experience for the brand which invites to feel good

What is biohealthy design? And how is it related to emotions?

We understand biohealthy as the combination of health and balance. The market is built using toxic-free, natural materials. Healthier for our body, plus better for the environment. The "Huerto" is more than a commercial space: a place to learn how to live healthier, and an inviting meeting point.

My contribution to the design has been to take our client's brief - their emotional goal- of building a familiar atmosphere, like a living room or flea market. And, hand in hand with the architecture team, select each material and detail to meet that experience. Simultaneously responding to the biohealthy and economical conditions. 

At every scale, each decision taken and each material selected seeks to create a warmhonest and welcoming market, as the products you can buy and consume. A contemporary space with a quotidian flavor which we like to call "supernormal".

Next to sensations, each design decision responds to various functions. For example, each stall is covered with a fabric awning. We chose fabric because it gives the feeling of a flea market and it's a gentle material. And it has an excellent acoustic behavior, both outside and inside the stall, it serves as hot/cold air diffuser, it provides a human scale, and it the turns into a giant lamp at night.

One of our first decisions when we visited the space was to liberate the center of the market. It feels like a public square, able to hold any setting both for daily stay and for eventful evenings. In this center hangs a plant installation by artist Jerónimo Hagerman. We loved from the beginning how it performs both the functional and emotional, which we have searched for in every scale of the project. This type of plants (malas madres or "bad mothers") are air purifiers, they bring freshness and humidity, shade on sunny days, they break sound bouncing and can be moved up and down: each day the market features a different garden.

Our client is especially demanding with physical health. We carefully chose toxic-free and scent-free materials. Paula Rosales incorporated the company D-fine to our team, specialized in sustainability strategies. D-fine studied each material using three criteria: economy, chemical composition (before and after its placement) and environmental impact. If you are interested in knowing more about this part, You can read Paula's post (in Spanish) by clicking here.

I'd love to hear from you: have you been in a biohealthy space? Or designed one? What are the main things which made you feel good in it? What are the three things that, in your opinion, mark the difference of being in emotionally healthy space? Let me know in the comments below.

a sentir(se) bien en Madrid

NewsAlicia Velazquez1 Comment

Inauguramos El Huerto de Lucas: un espacio de mercado y cantina biológica. Paula Rosales y su equipo more-co han realizado la reforma interior de una antigua panificadora con criterios de arquitectura y construcción biosaludables. Y he complementado su proyecto desde las emociones: buscando una experiencia interior que además de sana y con sentido, invita a sentirse bien

¿Qué es el diseño biosaludable? Y qué tiene que ver con las emociones?
Entendemos biosaludable como bienestar + salud. Está hecho con materiales libres de tóxicos (por tanto mejor para nuestra salud), y nos aporta bienestar, pues además de dar sensaciones placenteras, sabemos que son sanos para nuestro cuerpo y mejores para el medio ambiente.

El espacio del mercado es el "envoltorio" de los productos que se venden y consumen en él. A todas las escalas, hemos tomado cada decisión y elegido cada objeto para que el mercado sea acogedor y honesto, un espacio contemporáneo de gusto cotidiano. Lo hemos llamado "supernormal": queremos que sea un mercado familiar, como el salón de tu casa o el mercadillo de la plaza del pueblo, un lugar cariñoso y amable. Era el deseo de nuestro cliente que el mercado no sea solamente un espacio comercial sino un lugar en el que se aprenda a vivir de forma saludable, un punto de encuentro que invite a quedarse.

Además de buscar y cuidar las sensaciones, cada decisión de diseño cumple varias funciones. Por ejemplo, cada puesto se ha cubierto con un toldo de tela, pues además de dar sensación de mercado a pie de calle y ser un material blando y amable, funciona muy bien acústicamente tanto fuera como dentro del puesto, nos sirve de difusor de aire frío y caliente, protege e ilumina cada puesto y es una lámpara gigante por la noche.

En el centro del Huerto cuelga una instalación de plantas del artista Jerónimo Hagerman. Nos encantó desde el principio cómo nos da tanto los niveles de funcionalidad como emocionabilidad que hemos buscado en cada parte del proyecto. Usa plantas, que, además de aportar frescor visual y humedad, purifican el aire, dan sombra en días soleados, rompen la reverberación del sonido, y se pueden mover, por tanto cambiando el aspecto del mercado cada día.

Nuestro cliente es especialmente exigente en la salubridad física, y nuestro diseño ha sido especialmente cuidadoso en que todos los materiales utilizados sean libres de tóxicos. Paula Rosales incorporó al equipo a la empresa d-fine, especializada en estrategias para la sostenibilidad. Cada material se ha estudiado desde tres criterios: economía, composición química e impacto medioambiental. Si te interesa leer más sobre ello, Paula ha publicado en su blog un artículo dedicado a este tema, que puedes leer pinchando aquí.

¿Has conocido algún espacio biosaludable? ¿Y que te haga sentir bien? Cuéntame abajo, en los comentarios, las tres cosas que en tu opinión hacen que un lugar sea biosaludable y pensado desde las emociones