Interview with Emmanuel Babled: A Sit-Down About Ancient Crafts ⇒ Best Design Guides brings you an exclusive interview with Emmanuel Babled. The designer shares an amazing academic background in Milan, through his graduation in Industrial Design, at the European Institute of Design. Emmanuel Babled started as a designer in Paris, but moved to Milan to create his own studio in 1992, where he worked for 18 years, before moving to Lisbon in 2016. He has established many collaborations with Venini, Baccarat, Rosenthal, and many other recognized brands. We unveil an exclusive interview with the innovative designer, in partnership with CovetED Magazine, that took place at the Luxury Design Craftsmanship Summit 2019, in Porto.
How’s it working in Lisbon, in comparison to Milan and Amsterdam?
Emmanuel Babled: The work in Lisbon, in comparison to other countries like Italy, for me, is still young, it’s only been three years since I’m here. I will say that my method is still the same, immersion inside the craft and capacity. So, I don’t see so much difference in my attitude, it’s a long process to get to a country, and to get into a deeper aspect of knowledge and capacity of a country, I’m working on it.
Your work involves collaborations with Bvlgari, Rosenthal and Baccarat. How would you describe the experience of working with such brands?
Emmanuel Babled: You mention brands that have to have a defending knowledge such as Crystal or Baccarat. It’s always a big challenge because it’s working on both sides, with market target and human capacity. I think it’s really exciting to work with these both hands in one activity.
You’ve been working closely with the Murano Glass technique. What’s so attractive about it?
Emmanuel Babled: Well, working with glass is the most incredible experience for a designer. Glass is a liquid in movement, and you have to design inside this movement. And this is something that never happens in other material. Nowadays, I am developing new projects with Vista Alegre and Atlantis, to try to margin my experience of Italian glass, also with a Portuguese capacity.
One of Portugal’s biggest heritage is the ancient technique of Glass Work from Marinha Grande. Did you have the opportunity to work with these craftsmen, from this region?
Emmanuel Babled: I am starting to do a bit of scouting thanks to Vista Alegre and a company nearby in Alcobaça, Atlantis. So I’m starting to work with the masters of hand-blowing, we’re talking about free hand-blowing and being creative. It’s really exciting, I’m starting to be able to bring my experience from Murano, to mix it with the capacity of crystal of Atlantis, and to find a new path, to create a new process possibility. I am afraid Marinha Grande will lose a lot of the artistic glass that we had in Murano, and I prefer to be more in the industry of Glass. But, I’m sure there’s a lot to do, to restart this tradition.
Do you think that we can actually compare Marinha Grande with Murano, in the Glass Work technique?
Emmanuel Babled: I think we can compare the material, we can compare the attitude to be an artisan, we cannot compare the same situation in an island, in the Laguna, in Murano, from the 6th Century. 20,000 walk in the fortress, so concentrated on one island. You cannot already compare these two things, but of course, we’re talking about the same language, same instrument and same tool, the tools are exactly the same.
You created the project called “Third Floor”, can you explain a little bit about it?
Emmanuel Babled: Thank you for this question. So, the Third Floor is an effort I did with my office to create another floor, the Third Floor. It’s not my office but it’s a space where we can host different activities, connected to craft production and craft process. Craft is not only about the tradition, but it’s also about the handmade, it’s not a massification, it’s a specialization. So, inside the Third Floor, I try to create a place for change. Everyone is independent but everyone can exchange with the other, and I think this sharing nowadays is so important. We are also in Portugal to make an effort in trying not to be afraid of our neighbour, our competitor. Work hand in hand, to reach results.
What do you think is the role of communication in both design and craftsmanship?
Emmanuel Babled: The role of communication in craftsmanship is fundamental. Communication is many things, but it’s about relating authenticity, and when I talked about communication in the past conference I did, I really think it’s important for the consumer to understand what he’s buying, because it’s not only an object, it’s a history of humankind. This content cannot only be communicated with a static object, but it also has to be communicated relating how this object is born.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our interview with Emmanuel Babled!