Alejandra Gandia-Blasco at Madrid Design Festival 2022: Capturing the Intangible with Photography, Fine Art and Product Design
The Madrid Design Festival takes over downtown Madrid each year during February and March. Among the countless exhibits, showrooms and events within the festival, the Gandia Blasco Group is a showroom that feels more like an art gallery than most. Upon our visit during MDF 2022, we were shown a variety of wonderful and impactful works by different designers currently working in Spain.
Highlights include a very delightful and practical patio chair made from recycled detergent bottles by Oiko Design Offices, and Plastic Rivers, a truly inspiring series of area rugs created by Alvaro Catalan De Ocon. The rugs are made from plastic removed from the most polluted rivers in the world, and depict those same rivers as seen in Google maps.
In addition to those pieces, I was truly captured by a series of prints and carpets by Alejandra Gandia-Blasco, all inspired by the colors found in sunsets and sunrises across Europe.
Light and color are two of the most essential elements of any visual work, whether that is photography, painting or design. They communicate so much to us, in such a direct way, enchanting and intriguing us. The intangibility of color and light give them a magical quality, something so important and real to us that just barely escapes our grasp.
With an education in Fine Arts and working as the Director of Design for the Gandia Blasco Group, both Alejandra Gandia-Blasco’s career and her creative work are exceptional in how seamlessly they marry the worlds of art and design.
Gandia Blasco uses photography, art and design to investigate our world and perception of it in truly captivating and exciting ways.
Using only her mobile phone, a tool most of us have in-pocket at all times, she captures the ethereal light show the sun provides us at the beginning and end of each day. She captures sunsets and sunrises from various cities, on beaches and from the windows of airplanes.
Since 2015, she’s amassed upwards of 6000 images of particular color and light compositions. She then edits the images and prints them on matte textured cotton paper – resulting in pieces that feel more like a Rothko than a typical photograph.
Within multiple rooms of the showroom, you can find a variety of groupings of these images in different color sets: orange, pink, blues – each doing its duty to project an emotion to the viewer. The transcendent power of color used by Abstract Expressionists is alive and well in these stunning prints.
Taking this project one step further into the design realm, Gandia-Blasco has also created a series of unique and beautiful rugs.
She breaks down the composition of color methodically, matching each variant to a chromatone – a system used to organize colors of wool. The rug is then hand-knotted, the only method that can handle the intricacies needed for so faithful of a replication.
The result is much like the Gandia-Blasco showroom itself, a refreshing combination of art and design. Something as practical as a rug becomes so much more than just an object with color. It questions the tools we use to make art, and how we might capture the most fleeting moments in our lives and interpret those through an unexpected variety of media. The process of distilling the intangible nature of a specific sunset to create an object as tactile as a carpet is as unexpected as it is beautiful.
Madrid Design Festival continues through March 15, 2022. You can see Gandia-Blasco’s work and others at their showroom in Madrid, located at Calle de José Ortega y Gasset, 28.