May 14, 2024
4 min read

Into the mind of designer & architect Federico Babina

We first discovered Federico Babina's work through his Zoo Lamp project, a clever play on iconic lamp designs from history. We quickly fell in love with the rest of his work, and were curious to know more about the mind behind the designs.

What’s the best compliment you received recently?

Was not just one but a series of compliments of a group of children from a kindergarten in La Jolla, California. They did a series of artistic activities inspired by my work.

Every day I try to rediscover a way to observe the world as through the eyes of a child, so I enjoy knowing how children see my world. When I was a child I wanted to be an architect, and now that I am an architect I would sometimes like to be a child again.

What’s the last thing you read?

The last book I read was “Grande Meraviglia" which is a novel by Italian author Viola Ardone.

I like books that are able to accommodate you within them by building a different world like the one of the protagonist of this novel. It is a book that constructs its own language, a musical language full of melancholic fantasy.

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What do you want to read next?

I just started “Beautiful World, Where Are You,” which is a novel by Irish author Sally Rooney. I realized that I have been reading mostly female writers lately. I probably need to feed my feminine side, or maybe it's just a coincidence.

A quote that’s meaningful to you?

There are many that fascinate me. I am not good at ranking and choosing just one thing. If I think of a few quotes I always like, there will be at least one by Groucho Marx to spice up life with a pinch of humor. Today for example I would choose this one:

"Those are my principles, and if you don't like them… well, I have others."

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Best gift you’ve ever given?

A series of postcards that I drew and sent daily for two months. It was a daily gift. It was like a unique gift, but I would deliver a piece every day to complete the puzzle. Gifts should give pleasure to the giver and the receiver, and this one I think succeeded. Every day I thought of a different design as a new gift that was a daily surprise for the person receiving the card.

Where do you want to travel to next?

For some time now, I have enjoyed travelling to normal, almost anonymous destinations. If I go abroad I try to choose destinations with few things to see where the interesting thing is the life of the people who live there. Now the real tourist attraction for me is a normal place without mass tourism where I can breathe normality.

What would you buy, if money weren’t an issue?

The things I want most cannot normally be bought with money. Things that have a price are normally non-fundamental things that we can do without. I would probably buy various things to make more people happy. Basically I would buy some generosity…

What hobby would you take up, if you had the time?

Music. I would definitely like to study music and piano. It's something I started as a child and abandoned, and I definitely miss it. I would absolutely put more music in my life.

What’s an image or piece of art you can’t get out of your head?

It depends a lot on the period. Things change and fluctuate depending on the moment and the mood. At this time if I have to choose, there are some paintings that haunt me. I like them very much for different reasons but they have a common element: a beautiful chaotic balance. They are the constellations of Joan Miró.

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A product of any kind you’ve been appreciating lately?

Some nappies for my dear old dog that helped me and helped him live a little better.

The funniest thing you’ve seen lately?

I recently watched a funny Danish series: 'Orkestret' created by Mikkel Munch-Fals. I like the Nordic sense of humor, it is unfiltered and cleverly plays on people's weaknesses. In general I like to laugh and joke a lot. Sometimes we take life too seriously we should laugh more often about everything.

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If you could build an extension of your own mind, what would it look like? How would it work?

Would be a swing. A mechanism that comes and goes. A machine of continuous motion. ⚘


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