Wood lamps are the new trend. Beyond the vintage, retro or industrial design, they are already a clear example of the slow-made movement and eco-sustainable production. At Labois we wanted to know more about this product and how it is made. For this reason, we interviewed one of the best artisans in this sector: Victor García Aguado.
His life is an example of inspiration – and passion – for the handcraft. In fact, this story begins with a man of Madrid who moves to El Bierzo (León) to start a new life. There he creates the BRZ Wood Design project, in a self-taught way, where he combines his passion for design and wood. The result: these fabulous wood lamps, well recognized by the media and nowadays present in Labois.
Interview to Víctor García Aguado – BRZ Wood Design:
How did you discover your passion for wood?
In 2012 I am out of work in an office in Madrid, and I decide to leave the city and start a new life in the field. A year earlier I had started experimenting with wood to make some didgeridoos. Thanks to these tests, I realized that I loved working with my hands. I could also take advantage of the experience and workshops of my father and uncle, who have been working with wood since I can remember.
The design came a long time before, I remember reading all the books that my father bought about design and architecture (he is an architect). Now that he had decided to do things with wood he had to design them first, it was not a very conscious decision but something that had to be done; a necessary step before starting to cut the wood, the good thing is that I also liked a lot.
Where did you learn to create wood lamps?
I started making lamps self-taught, the truth is that I always start with what seems to me simpler. He wanted to create a project based on sustainability, the search for a product and an ecological process, so in the place of going to buy wood decided to recycle it. In the Bierzo there is a lot of wood to recycle.
A few months after starting work I found a course of 6 months of woodworking. I signed up and learned a lot of things about machinery, although I had decided to keep a more artisanal production: all the lamps of the unique pieces, each one have its history, mainly by the origin of the wood.
What inspires you to do your works?
The original idea of my wood lamps is the Wabi-Sabi: a Japanese philosophical and aesthetic current that values the passing of time and the beauty of imperfection. When I work with wood I always start by finding the knots, holes and any feature that makes that piece unique. All subsequent work is only aimed at keeping those features in the foreground. I do not want my lamps to stand out because of my skill with the wood, but because of the beauty of its details. The curious thing is that those details are usually discarded from the perspective of the traditional woodworker.
What was your first creation?
One day I met a woodworker from the area and went to visit his workshop. It was all full of modern machines but I spent several hours in a bunker where I kept the cutouts, all the small pieces that had been cut to eliminate the imperfections of the wood. He gave me all the ones I could carry in the trunk. I really liked the mix of colors and textures. I put a small bomb, which goes in the fridges and I also used a cloth lined cable. That retro touch is still in my creations, and I created more that 500 lamps!
Where can we find or buy your creations?
In Madrid I work with three stores: El Afilador, R14 and A-Cero and also with the gallery-bar Kikekeller; Barcelona with Gray Street; Málaga with Matraca, and Vigo with Dada. Also at Christmas I always hit the road and I do all the markets I can, and on my website I sell all year round.
What is your goal or purpose for this year?
I am waiting for the license to start building my own house in the country, which is going to be made of wood (of course) and straw. I know it does not seem like a professional objective, but as a craftsman and entrepreneur the separation between the personal and the professional practically does not exist.
How do you see the handmade market at the present time?
I think the boom in design markets has already passed. The public still does not value the quality of the handmade and thinks it is too expensive. But thanks to the large number of markets and fairs that have been the last three years many people have been able to speak for the first time with the creators of what they bought. I think that’s very important. Overall I’m not pessimistic because I enjoy doing my job and showing the differences with a product made in series, so I do not mind continuing to do so in the future.
A tip for young entrepreneurs / artisans:
Make them very persistent, almost restless at least for the first few years. Not letting their illusion prevent them from listening to constructive criticism. When in a market a person comes to tell you that you like your work you have to thank every word, sometimes they tell you things that you already know, but almost never their advice is useless.
From Labois we want to thank Víctor for his participation and collaboration. It has been a pleasure to know more about him and his fantastic wood lamps
For our part, we leave it here. See you in the next post!