Marisa Santamaria, jury of the 15th GANDIABLASCO Contest

September 5, 2022 | Contest / Contest /

The jury of the GANDIABLASCO International Outdoor Furniture Design Contest is made up of leading professionals from the fields of culture, design and the industrial furniture sector. In its fifteenth edition we spoke with Marisa Santamaría, one of the members of the Jury:


What are the most important design trends today in terms of outdoor spaces?
Any window in the house means thinking outside, from tiny balconies to integrated gardens, roof terraces or any kind of patios.
The elements that accompany life outdoors are the ones that have been transformed the most after the pandemic, this need to adapt has created the urge for designers and brands to take these public or private spaces further.

The core is in the new materials, the relationship of craftsmanship with high technology and integrated sustainability.

The sun loungers, new fabrics, auxiliary work tables, marquees, flower pots, heat or cool diffusers, mobile support elements…, surprise us with the new versions and types designed for this new era of outdoor work or leisure spaces.


What challenges do you think face workspace design?
The first challenge is constant change, we are gradually getting used to uncertainty, which entails a constant concern to accommodate new trends and advances in design at the speed of transformation of labour needs. Resolving the tension between working at home, traditional work and the new office concept is the challenge for design brands in the present and in the evolution towards the future.

Brands and designers must focus on evocative and worker-friendly offices, they must seduce the worker and employee, generate parallel actions of connection between professionals, coexistence and experience, and education.



The theme of the XV Gandiablasco International Outdoor Furniture Design Contest is “design an office for your terrace”, and it takes on special importance due to the current context. How do you think an outdoor space contributes to well-being at work?
Being outside is being connected with nature, even if it is just a glimpse of the sky. The human being has a critical need to have this sensation continuously. The design elements that accompany comfort and well-being have to do with innovation, the quality of the materials, fighting climate change, durability, and an aesthetic evolution in accordance with the context of each period.
Working outdoors has been shown to improve performance and efficiency, these new scopes must be taken into account to create dynamic, flexible and adaptable elements. Nomadic and multipurpose designs that can change position and create different environments for different times of the day or different types of activity.


4. As a researcher into international trends and an expert in design, how can professionals and firms in the industry deal with this complex balance between short-cycle trends, often ephemeral, and macro trends of a more global and long-term nature?
The analysis of global trends is increasingly important, this knowledge provides us with a preview of the early signs of change. The sophistication of information channels, their quantity and speed, promotes the figure of the experienced investigator, so that they provide truthful and effective information to brands.

The macro trends and the long term are increasingly discredited, they are not correct. The nebula of the future is becoming more closed, hence the uncertainty permanently installed in the spirit of those of us who live in the 21st century.

In the face of uncertainty, day to day, the immediate future that is founded out of the present, is the heart of our continued evolution.
Only through analysts and researchers, those who dedicate themselves exclusively to it, such as some experts, architects and designers, but above all anthropologists, sociologists, psychologists, scientists of all kinds, provide some key information.

Those of us who dedicate ourselves to studying the forces of change through design know that spreading information and training is basic, beyond conventional communication. Brands and professionals, more than ever, must be up to date with what is happening in different global scenarios.



The GANDIABLASCO contest has been launched to support emerging talent throughout the world. How can the new generations of the design world contribute to a positive legacy?
Today design is one of the keys to global positive change and designers are agents for change that improves the present and the future.
Social gratitude to brands that support talent is always utmost, not only towards the new generations, but creators of any age and experience.


Do you think that young men and women, who are taking their first steps into the world of design in this age, find themselves in more equal conditions than in the past? Which female designers to you particularly look up to?
Conditions for both in the Western World have never been better.
Ellen van Loon, Sejima, Patricia Urquiola, Li Edelkoort, Paola Antonelli, Alice Rawsthorne, Rossana Orlandi, Nero Oxman, Saskia Sassen, Carme Pinós, Marisa Gallén, Amanda Levete, Sabine Marcelis, Miuccia Prada, Rossana Hu, Belén Moneo and many others; committed, brave, flexible design professionals with a realistic vision, but who also undertake positive action towards the future.



What quality do you appreciate most in a designer?
Research, innovation, commitment, sensitivity and constant analysis of the changing environment.
Simplicity, practicality and beauty.


GANDIABLASCO is one of the companies promoting World Design Capital Valencia 2022 and they supported it from its official candidacy. We know that you are also actively involved in this event and participate in various projects within its intense program. In your opinion, is there any decisive factor that has led Valencia to become the world capital of design today?
The action of a group of leaders who have not been installed in a sense of negativity. They have dreamed and they have acted, in the end the fulfilment of dreams inevitably passes through a functioning sense of positivity.
In Spain, we have seen avant-garde gastronomy, the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona and a series of pioneering entrepreneurs in the design industry, who have built companies and brands that today, despite being largely unknown nationally, are valued and admired throughout the world.


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