Rebellion—in different periods and eras, across disciplines and generations—begets innovation, brings change. It is perhaps for this reason that many children deemed infamous for their unruliness go on to build and innovate by subverting conventions. This results, often, in an array of creations that either solve prominent yet ignored issues or birth traditions and movements that make a mark in their respective fields. Ana Milena Hernández Palacios and Christophe Penasse, founders of the Spanish design studio Masquespacio and its more experimental counterpart Mas Creations, were rebels as kids, too. Channelling their urge to not conform, the designer and manager duo built a safe space in their studio, where colours could be splurged, furniture upturned and spaces configured to transpose visitors. From traditional Greek architecture and Mediterranean style to the metaverse, from the flow of water to the shape of an eye, the Spanish practice derives inspiration from diverse sources to manufacture experiences through interior design, product design, and exhibition design. Their latest experimental foray led to the creation of the 3 Characters furniture and lighting collection.
“3 Characters connects very well with our world of forms, textures, materials, and colours that we want to represent through the Mas Creations collections, without any search towards a commercial product. It’s us having fun, researching the boundaries of our creativity,” the studio shares. The 3 Characters collection, inspired by a get-together of three friends, comprises the Say Hi lounge chair, the Trencadis chair, and the Dumbbell lamp. The three objects, distinctive in their shapes, colours, and materialities, represent the divergent yet harmonious personalities of friends that come together to form close-knit groups.
Palacios and Penasse imagined a scenario where three friends with different, almost opposite attributes, come together to build a condensed world, a microcosm that is complete and balanced. In this space, each individual comes with different qualities and experiences. They teach each other and learn from each other. While Say Hi embodies a cheerful disposition, Trencadis comes with the experience of encountering and motoring through various life obstacles, and Dumbbell keeps the environment light with silliness. “The interesting background about the evolution of the collection is that we used three different production techniques that are part of our habitual production processes in our interior design projects. The Say Hi stool is made with 3D machining, the Dumbbell lamp with fabric and a wooden structure, and the Trencadis chair is completely handmade,” says Penasse, explaining how they interpreted the personas of the three characters through different materials.
Say Hi, who always looks at the positive side of things, is cheerful and greets everyone, and is effortlessly popular, is a lounge chair that mimics the expression of a smiling face. With the backrest bearing a semblance to a person's face, the extruded arc, affixed as a seat, is like a greeting arm. The soft edges and pastel colour further enhances the cheeriness of the chair. The chair design, brought to life with 3-D printing technique, can be produced easily and efficiently.
Trencadis’s lofty life struggles are impersonated through the composition of broken ceramic pieces that cover the chair. The piece is built using Antoni Gaudi’s classical trencadis technique, which is the usage of broken chinaware and ceramic tiles to build mosaics. The ceramic bits, assembled to encrust the chair, serve as a metaphor for the impact of obstacles on Trencadis. These broken pieces, united upon one object, reflect the strength that comes from navigating a tough life that breaks and makes you. “The Trencadis chair was built after a very long and slow process of trials. It stands out in its beauty in this sense because of its human handmade imperfections. While its process is a bit more frustrating, the result is delightful,” explains Penasse.
Lastly, the Dumbbell lamp, based on a silly character that infuses fun in every interaction, is crafted out of fabric, wood, and glass. One of its ends appears to levitate, almost as a challenge to gravity. The three materials used to build the lamp reflect the character's zany personality. While the glass light balls on the two ends reference fragility and warmness, the crust in the centre reflects strength. This combination represents a gleeful person who is also dependable.
Together, the three pieces making up the collection come together as a mix of different personalities, materials, building techniques, and usages. They carry the essence that guides Masquespacio and Mas Creations–to build and design instinctually, to experiment with new ways of creating, and combining atypical entities and building techniques.