Helena Rohner, jury of 14th GANDIABLASCO Contest

Helena Rohner, member of jury of the 14th GANDIABLASCO Contest.

This year we celebrate the XIV edition of the GANDIABLASCO International Outdoor Furniture Design Contest. The challenge that we launch to emerging talents around the world is the design of an outdoor lamp or luminaire collection. Our purpose is clear, to reward the most creative, innovative and functional outdoor luminaire, capable of integrating into any outdoor environment.

José A. Gandía-Blasco Canales joins a jury of professionals specialized in different fields to reward the best projects.
We now introduce you to Helena Rohner.

Hi Helena, we are delighted that you will be a judge in the 14th edition of our International Outdoor Furniture Design Competition. Thank you! We admire your work.

Stability and colour are what inspire me. Emphatic pieces, with a clear and honest message. Simultaneously fresh in character and very natural. Extremely Mediterranean but at the same time global.

Who suggested Gandia Blasco to you?

I have always created my own forms in various materials; wood, carved stones, porcelain, and of course the metal that holds them together. 3D is a new way of to project that world of forms – in this case in a PLA (polylactic acid) which is derived from carbohydrates such as potato and agave and is therefore biodegradable. The use of this biopolymer, also allows me to create larger and lighter pieces.

You have been a pioneer in your field, for the elegance of your designs as well as the use of materials and processes. An example is the 3D printing; can you tell us what advantages this method has and how you apply it to your work?

I would love to! For me, jewellery is effectively a shy sculpture, and the aesthetic vision is projected to new sizes. Making objects/furniture for daily use is a challenge that I would like to take in the future.

For us, your designs are small-scale sculptures; we see forms that could become furniture. Have you ever thought about giving them another dimension?

I admire craftsmanship and working with materials by hand. I firmly believe that that craft adds humanity and soul to the pieces. I always work from the respect to the materials, hoping to put them in value by contrast with each other. Curiosity leads me to know more about them and to take them to the limit of their possibilities, even in ways that have not been normally used – and thus giving them a possible new reading. Porcelain in jewels, thread bracelets, 3D necklaces, and stones set on wood…

It has been observed that you have a very sensitive relationship with the materials you work with. Can you tell us a bit more?

Jewellery is a way of bringing personality to what you wear and today only respect for difference and individuality can save us – not individualism. We live in society and we want to be honest with ourselves, to be people with value. What we consider as precious is such, not how others define it. The emotional value of any object ends up being much more important than the economic value.

Noble materials, precious stones, no longer symbolise status, do you think that today the style and way of wearing accessories is more important?

Jewellery is a way of bringing personality to what you wear and today only respect for difference and individuality can save us – not individualism. We live in society and we want to be honest with ourselves, to be people with value. What we consider as precious is such, not how others define it. The emotional value of any object ends up being much more important than the economic value.

The concept of luxury is not what it used to be. What is it for you right now? And jewellery? Is it an ornament or an accessory?

Time is a luxury; contemplation, growth, good relationships and quality of life. Jewellery is an object and almost an amulet that accompanies you in that process. For this reason it is a challenge to create a piece for day to day use, that is used and is kept on – that becomes part of you. Of all household objects, it is the lamp that accompanies you in the best corners of the house or your favourite cup of morning coffee.

Helena Rohner is a brand with lots of personality. How do you see yourself from when you started to now?

Now I’m smiling! Its small but it’s true that I’ve been very tenacious in defending my ideas at all times, and when I’ve strayed I’ve felt very uncomfortable. So I listened to my gut again. I began my career just twenty five years ago, and they have been years full of adventure and learning.

Do you think that Luis XIV would wear your jewellery?

Hahaha. I don’t think so. My style is much more minimal and practical – but you never know!

About the contest, this year the theme is the design of an outdoor lamp, if you had to turn one of your jewels into a lamp, which would it be?

A ring with a translucent stone would be a hollow sculpture with light at the top. Small and robust. An outdoor sculpture.

And your favourite memory of enjoying the outdoors?

There are many, but my favourite, when I get out of the sea and the day cools down and I tuck in a towel while I look at the horizon. I am from the Canary Islands and, living in Madrid, I really miss the sea…

And to finish: what advice would you give to emerging designers across the world?

That they listen to each other, that they defend their instincts and that only what comes from within will differentiate them from others. That’s the winning card.