mdby……ÀGUA DE PRATA
João Bruno in 2006 leaves his profession, leaving technologies, and getting into manufactured world, creating a fantastic world in wool. His firm, ÀGUA DE PRATA, through it, he shows his work and his way of working and living in a colorful way.
You’re graduated in Communication Sciences. How did this manufacture activity born?
That’s true. I have a degree in Communication Sciences and till 2003 I was a TV journalist. After that I created my own communication project, but it didn’t work the way I expected. In 2006 I gave up my own company and I was looking for a new job. At that time I had plenty of free time and that’s how everything started. I never predicted this, it just happened. A friend of mine gave me an old chair which was broken and I fixed it. I decided to use the wool because I’ve always been in contact with this material since I was a child – my mother was a teacher but for passion she use to make the traditional carpets of Arraiolos, the same wool of my work – much more resistant. And then it was just me, the chair and the wool… I was so happy with the result and at the same time a little tired of being a journalist, that when this fortunate episode happened I had no doubt about what would be my future after that moment.
Have you ever discouraged?
To be honest sometimes it’s not easy. Not my work itself but selling it. And this is the only thing I do for living. So it’s not easy, at least in Portugal. But I try not to think too much about all the problems and just try to focus on my work, because I really believe that one day everything will be different.
How do you get the money to finance your projects?
At the beginning the project was supported by the microcredit. Right now I’m depending on the orders I’m having. So I only invest when I can.
Which ones have been the best and the worst moments of your professional life?
So far the best moments were to be found through internet in Italy and because of that I was invited to represent Portugal at the Palermo Design Week in 2009. A top moment was also to cooperate with a boutique hotel in Évora, where my work is part of its decoration.
The worst moment was last year when I left my atelier, the place where all my work was born.
Have you ever had a mentor that has supported and guided you?
No. I’m alone since the beginning.
Which is the philosophy of your firm?
To create new and original objects and awake people to importance of simple things.
What is beauty for you?
Beauty is the most important thing for me as an inspiration and also for life. And for me beauty can be as simple as the sunrise, the nature or most important, the architecture. I just need to be surrounded by beauty and I try to be… by creating it somehow. It makes me feel good and that way I believe I can express it through my work.
Tell us how a normal day in your work is
I get up very early to seize the morning light. I almost never work at night only if I really need it.
Normally If I have any client’s order I work on the object itself but if not my time is spent mostly in the garden or constructing things at my new house.
Which is the most difficult of your work?
I don’t find my work difficult. Sometimes people ask me that and I say that actually it’s very simple. But of course it takes time, patience and of course some skills.
Which is what you like more from your work?
Create something with my hands.
Where have you learnt to assembly the materials that you use and where do you get them?
I’m a self-taught artisan and designer. Everything I do is the result of my experience.
The wool I buy it directly from the factory. Regarding the other materials it depends. In my own designs, if I need a wood structure I directly work with my carpenter but also with other professionals when the objects require metal frames. Constantly I also seek for old objects and furniture that can be recycled and sometimes I even found some in the garbage.
How does an object take form? From a drawn project or through the direct contact with materials and instruments?
I only draw the objects when I’m creating new structures. But not the patterns. The wool work is made directly. It’s much more fun. Fortunately it’s very simple for me to imagine the final result on my head. When I look to an object, for instance, I can easily see it done.
Which is the main reason why do you use so much colors?
Personally I like strong colors and I really believe in its importance. In the world of Design and particularly in the Interior Design, everything is so clean and white or black or grey… sometimes is boring. I’m a color defender. We must bring color to our lives.
Through which words would you define your way of combining traditional materials and techniques with design?
Innovation; Originality; Simplicity; Beauty
Which would be your ideal project?
To be involved since the beginning in the interior design project for an hotel or any public space.
Which one has been your biggest success?
Besides the hotel in Évora I mentioned I would say that my biggest success is that I have objects in many different countries.
Which is the best advice that you have received? And the advice that you will give to someone who wants to create a new firm?
Once someone told me that to quit journalism was a courageous act and an inspiration for many people and therefore I should be very proud and never quit! What I can say is that we must never stop dreaming!