M. Angel Garcia Belmonte


Interview - Miguel Ángel García Belmonte

Where did the idea of founding POTTPROJECT come from?

As a result of my personal relationship with the environment and my cultural heritage, I decided to start developing timeless design products based on natural materials and traditional techniques. It was a beautiful way to honor and preserve the local history and culture. From the beginning I wanted to transform an ancestral craft, taking advantage of its materiality, to give shape to functional and contemporary objects combining the use of ancestral techniques and new processes.

 Looking back, how do you think the brand has evolved?

Pott is an honest brand, both in terms of the natural materials we use and the processes we use. However, we like to challenge our craftsmen to realize the designer’s vision, closer to new contemporary rituals.

The brand has constantly evolved as new processes have been developed and experimented with different materials. This improves the quality of the product and makes it more attractive to consumers. The evolution lies in creating an attractive project for any designer. On the one hand, a designer gives added value to the product and, on the other, brings visibility to the brand. As brand, Pott will continue to create its own objects, gradually incorporating projects by other designers.

Do you believe that craftsmanship contributes to a better world because….

Craftsmanship is a form of cultural expression, in addition to preserving local traditions and customs, it helps to protect skills and knowledge that have been passed down from generation to generation. Handicrafts in small workshops are often produced in a sustainable way, using natural materials and environmentally friendly processes. 

“For me as a designer it’s has been a challenge to think like a craftsman and for the craftsman to think like a designer”.

How do you describe your creative/reflective design process?

The designs are planned according to specific premises. Both myself and the other designers start from a briefing, so that everything the brand presents has coherence. We start from the premise that everything can be done. Once the function is defined, we try to solve the possible inconveniences involved in working with a medium such as clay. Sometimes they are limited by the material and the processes used. Although this was not always the case, Sponge, our first product, was born from experimentation: its qualities gave the object its function, and the manufacturing process its form. Thus, the function was determined by solving the process.

What inspires you when designing and creating?

On the one hand, my relationship with the environment and the sensory perception of it, and on the other hand, the qualities of the material and its formal language.

Where does the idea for the product come from? In this case: Flame, Candela, Sponge (Up, Oh, Ro) and Caló. 

I will order the products chronologically, first Sponge was born, the result of three years of work and development of new processes, determined its peculiar texture so it was evident both the name and the typology of the product.

The Flame collection emerged from my relationship with the wheel, a piece turned by hand by exceptional beings, capable of transforming a terracotta earthenware into a contemporary object.

Caló, is a tribute to the craft and local tradition, a product reinterpreted to give another function to the “botijo” (earthenware jug).

Candela, a redesigned oil lamp.

What is the message / intention of the piece? (A couple of lines minimum per product)

The Sponge family was the result of new processes, it is totally different from anything that had been done before, its peculiar structure and its unique morphology gave rise to its function.

The collection of three Flame lamps, turned out to be a tribute to the craft and the wheel (potter’s wheel), as well as a challenge for the craftsman, who gives it a unique character with his hands.

With the Caló lamp I wanted to give a second life to the botijo, an element used and highly valued in rural areas, besides being a representative piece of local culture and tradition.

Candela is inspired by oil lamps, which were appreciated for their aesthetic and cultural value. They are a reminder of a time when electricity was not an available energy source, and their design and materials can be a sign of ingenuity and craftsmanship.

What would you highlight about craftsmanship?

The objects are usually unique and unrepeatable, each piece is created by hand which gives the object a unique and human character, they are the result of the use of a particular technique coupled with a knowledge transmitted from generation to generation, which means that each piece has a connection with the past and local culture. Another remarkable quality is the human value that is given to each piece with the handling of the product as the artisan invests his time and skill in its creation.

What aspects and characteristics would you highlight about working with a material such as ceramics?

Working with ceramics is a unique and enriching experience, as this material offers properties that make it special. It is a versatile, resistant and durable material that can be used to create a wide variety of products, but beyond these qualities, its unique texture and feel seem to connect with nature.

What have been the challenges you have faced during the process?

For me as an industrial designer it has been a challenge to think like a craftsman and for the craftsman to think like a designer, we usually produce pieces that need very precise dimensions, which in the past was not necessary due to the type of product. Moreover, in order to achieve this, we have been forced to develop new processes and tools with which the craftsman has never worked.

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