NextLevel Galerie, Paris exhibited Variations on a Tube and Tomás Alonso’s V&A chair, both in 2009.
“At the age of 13 I felt that I was ready to launch my career as a designer,” Spanish born designer Tomás Alonso explains in an interview at the London Design Museum. ”I prepared my first portfolio and sent it to Peugeot’s Spain headquarters, my favourite car brand at the time. I heard back from the managing director C.M. Ballini, a week later. Señor Ballini explained that although the market wasn’t quite ready for my space age designs, it was definitely worth following my dream to become a designer.” And that is exactly what Alonso did. After abandoning his engineering studies after three months realising , Alonso upped sticks from his hometown to move to the States where his design career began with an Italian company specialising in manufacturing aluminium wheels for high-end cars whilst studying Industrial Design at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale in Florida. After working his way up the food chain from an enthusiastic apprentice to seasoned design director in the US and Italy, Alonso made the trans Atlantic migration to Australia and set up his first studio. Now based in London following another stint of study, this time gaining a Masters in Design Products at the Royal College of Art, Alonso is steadily carving out a niche for himself on the European design scene. Alonso is a designer who possesses the stellar combination of a solid technical understanding of design and eye-catching conceptual art.
Banding together with five other fellow RCA graduates (now a total of 13), Alonso established Okay Studio in Hackney in 2006. While this melting pot of young designers have diverse approaches to design, they all agreed on having a studio which allowed for desks as well as workshop space for them to produce their prototypes. In an interview with Dezeen here Alonso explains that the idea to collaborate with other designers under one roof was not only a financial imperative, but perhaps most importantly, as a means of support to battle the hurdles young designs face.
Building on his Variations on a Tube furniture series and the V&A chair (top images), Alonso incorporated these linear designs into his interior concepts for Camper. Geneva was the first Camper store to benefit from Alonso’s striking designs. Using a 10 x 10 pattern with three variations, these tile combinations create illusionary three dimensional geometrical shapes to stunning effect which complement the existing marble floors and staircase. In his third store in Glasgow (images directly above), we can see how Alonso pushes his own concept even further by integrating shelves, mirrors and doors with these ’3D’ tiled shapes. Next on Alonso’s hit list for making his mark on Camper stores is St Petersburg.
Visit Tomás Alonso to view more of his work, including his beautiful product designs and other interesting projects.
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