Thought for food

Nicky Apostolis interviewed Marti Guixé after his lecture at Design Indaba. But after one question, they drew pictures instead.

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These are a few of the manifestations of Marti Guixé's sense of humour that is subtly reminding designers that what the world needs right now is practical solutions to common problems; not simply design for its own sake.

Fascinated by consumption, Guixé says designers can no longer ignore the radical changes affecting the way people live, work and eat in the 21st century. While many of his peers create objects that prioritise form rather than function, he himself concentrates simply on how things work and many of his designs propose inventive and humorous solutions that simplify modern life. Look at the brilliantly practical tripod lollipop. Try Techno Tapas, a new expression of traditional Spanish food that can be eaten anywhere, anytime (you'll find the bread inside the tomato for easy eating). Or his chairs for the H20 Gallery, Barcelona, which have incredibly low seats that the sitter adjusts to the preferred height using piles of magazines.

While his design is practical, Guixé also uses it to comment on design itself. Sometimes very explicitly.

His Gin & Tonic Puddle, for example, is a wink at 'serious' design. The puddles bear resemblance to tables designed by Ron Arad, which are aesthetically perfect but too delicate to touch. Along with the G&T puddle, the purchaser receives a Guixé-signed certificate that grants permission to reproduce the puddle in any given spot. This, the creator says, is a design with all the earmarks of a bona fide status symbol.

With a wealth of ideas, drawings, objects and installations, Marti Guixé proves he's a visual artist; but never strays far from his roots, which are deeply embedded in product design. "For designers I am an artist and for artists I am a designer. I find myself in a place where I am more or less alone; where I can do anything and everything I want," explains Guixé.

Judging by his vast body of diverse work, he pretty much does and it's all based on a simple formula: (

"It means context, then something magic. Then fun multiplied by an iconographic element through three, plus function and you get a 'mandorla'," explains Guixé. "I don't believe in inspiration. Only the formula."

Lollipops on tripods so that they don't get dirty when you unexpectedly have to put them aside between licks. Coffee pills that suggest you "drink water" when swallowing so that the coffee is literally made in your mouth. Sponsored food that enables designers to get their names on the most consumed substances on earth (suggestions include a FUJI omelette, cK tortillas and IBM sushi), while consumers get to enjoy a free lunch.

Watch the Talk with Martí Guixé