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Luis Eslava: A Farmer of Ideas

Luis Eslava has a talent for finding the extraordinary in the very ordinary, as Owen Lynch finds out

Luis Eslava: A Farmer of Ideas


August 2nd, 2012

Luis Eslava credits his success as a multi-disciplinary designer to fervent experimentation and a period of personal growth. Clichéd? Not quite.

The young Spaniard has carved for himself a reputation as one of the country’s up-and-coming design wild cards, in the tradition of Jaime Hayon and even Dali before him, the body of Eslava’s work is a diverse and delightfully contradictory catalogue of lighting, interiors, furniture and techy gadgets.

To distil an aesthetic commonality that binds these pieces to their creator could prove a perplexing task.

100% Paper Lamps for Fedrigoni, Italy

“Oh Maria Keep My Data Safe” USB Drive

Amid the modular plush “Party” sofa for Sancal, irreverent USB drive “Oh Maria Keep My Data Safe”, and the elegant timber work for Lzf Lamps, it would seem that an overarching trend here is a fascination with the ’new’: new challenges, new materials and a zeal for re-interpreting their essential properties. That is not to say this diversity comes at the cost of excellence or innovation, on the contrary.

“What was first the egg or the chicken…?” questions Eslava when pressed on whether the material or the concept informs his design process. “As a designer I am constantly seeking new, humble materials that have been used in our ordinary lives and using the properties that made them the main characters of that scene… this is the starting point.”

Face to Face Velcro Lamps for Almerich

This is no more evident than in his 2006 “Face to Face” suspension lamp for Almerich – essentially a massed dome of Velcro strips. What makes this such a triumph in simplicity is that the light is at once editable, tactile, attractive and perhaps most importantly: familiar.

There is a playfulness in the creation of his designs that carries through, quite charmingly, into the functionality of the end product.


Paisley Screen for Lzf Lamps

Eslava Studio’s first collaboration with Lzf Lamps was an investigational one. His brief was to create a product that would make best use of the timber veneer offcuts that are characteristic of all Lzf’s designs. “Paisley” is a decorative architectural element that earned Eslava and co a swag of design awards from Spain to Chicago since it was released in 2009. Where Lzf and designers had previously explored dyed timber veneer for its translucent qualities in lighting, Eslava set about “designing shadows”. The screening project continued into an additional retro-inspired piece: “Groovy”.

Armadillo for Lzf Lamps at HD Expo, Las Vegas

It was in Milan this year that Eslava Studio’s “Party” Sofa for SANCAL was released, amid great hype, alongside Karim Rashid’s “Float” Sofa.

Briefed simply to produce a “modular” collection, Eslava set about revisiting the way our use of sofas has evolved in the face of technological and entertainment advancements:

“we start using sofas, big ones, in an static position when families were listening to the radio. Then TV…. an evolution to less static sitting, family members started to move and sit around the sofas, but still static.” Addressing the current trends he continues: “Nowadays people have their own laptop or iPad, and although they share the space, its more an individual use, each member finds their own way of sitting. So the act of sitting is more dynamic and dimensional.”

Party Armchair for Sancal

Party Modular Sofa for Sancal

Clearly, tangential thinking, and a healthy sense of humour have nurtured many of Eslava’s most successful works. A self-professed “Farmer of Ideas” he claims there is no inside-secret to a good “crop”.

” I think like all the farmers do, I care for the orchard throughout the whole process, from the moment the seeds are dropped… to the harvesting.” Reflecting for a moment, he concedes: “Maybe the key is just to find the proper soil – ready for action!”

In Eslava’s case: fertile soils indeed!


Luis Eslava Studio


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