I perfectly remember the day I met Bea. I was going for an interview with the company she was working at that moment, St James Joinery, in London. They were looking to build they new website and photograph all the amazing pieces that Bea had designed till that moment, so it would be a long term project.
Bea is an Industrial designer based in Barcelona. She studied Technical Engineering in Industrial design in Elisava University, Barcelona and did her MSc Master degree in Integrated product design at Brunel University, London.
She worked for over 6 years as an Industrial designer / Furniture designer in London. She was involved in projects related with designing joinery for construction projects, designing unique furniture pieces and realising all the manufacturing drawings.
She is a very talented designer, with an excellent attention to detail. But her qualities doesn't end there, she also has the ability to organise a whole project, coming up with the very first idea, transforming into 3D to directing the work in the workshop, painting with resin her own pieces, and art directing a photoshoot. She is a multidisciplinary designer and a very hard working person who won't leave her desk till she finished her project, despite all the lights went off in the office. Also, she would be the first one to be on her office next morning.
I will never forget that day, it was the begining of a big project that lasted 6 months, full of hard work, lots of new locations, long trips in the car, big houses to photograph, lots of interesting furniture pieces, the opening of a showroom and some other crazy adventures that droves us a bit mad but that I will always remember.
Also, it was the begining of a professional relationship that became a friendship and that still last today. That is why I call her Bea instead of Beatriz, that is what happens when you get confidence with someone.
One thing that Bea might not remember is that the day we met was my birthday, so one of my presents that year was our friendship.
Bea doesn't live in London anymore, however we are still in contact and we are planning to meet once all this craziness about the virus is over, probably in Barcelona to enjoy the sunshine. But matching the launch date of her website, I decided to interview her asking some aspects regarding her career.
See below the interview :)
Laura: How did you find stuyding and working in UK?
Beatriz: Studying in the UK was a really good experience. I did my master's degree in Brunel University and I met a lot of people from different countries and university backgrounds, I learnt a lot from them. It was also really helpful to improve my English. At the begining it was a challenge because you need to adapt to a new way of teaching, a different language and culture and you spend a lot of time alone but after few months I realized it was the best decision I ever made.
L: Have you ever felt any kind discrimination at work due to your etnicity or gender?
B: I never really felt any discrimination at work. I worked in a construction company with and in-house joinery, there were not a lot of women working there so it was strange for them at first but after few months they got use to it and I made really good friends there. I believe that positive relationships at work make your job more enjoyable and productive. It was hard at the begining because of cultural differences and because I was working in a family business, but with time I found my way.
L: What are your next steps on your career?
B: I worked in the same company for 6 years and then I decided to take a break and travel for a while. I am really grateful for the opportunity I had to work in that company, I didn't know much about furniture design, construction, interior design and woodwork and there I had the opportunity to learn everything I know. I started working there as the only designer so I had to learn a lot of thinks in a short period of time, but it was fun. Now I want to keep learning new things and be able to work for myself. My long term goal would be to have my own design studio and be able to collaborate with all the creative people I met in the past.
L: What would you say to someone who is just starting a career on Industrial Design? Or even better…what would you say to your past self… 6 years ago?
B: Industrial design is a really broad term and you can end up working in really different positions/companies. I think that is one the thinks I liked when I decided to study industrial design. It gave me time to decide what I really wanted to do at the same time that I was studying. With time I realized that the most important thing to succeed is to love what you do and to always keep learning. Design is constantly evolving. For every project you do you are going to immerse yourself in research of a specific area and you will learn new skills. I think is important to be open to work in different companies that do completely different things to learn different skills and find in which area you really want to focus in the future.
L: What is your best design so far, or the one you are more proud of?
B: My best design and the one I am more proud of are completely different projects. My best design will probably be the XX desk. It was a very challenging project for me and for the joinery team and is a furniture piece completely different from what we usually see. But the one I am more proud of is the first project I worked on. We were designing the house for a very special family. It was the first time I was working in a construction / interior design / joinery design project and I was learning at the same time I was doing it. Once we finished the project I was really excited with the results.
L: Pick a city! The one you like the most at this moment.
B: Barcelona. After 7 years living abroad I just came back to Barcelona and I am rediscovering the city again :)
L: A referent ( person, idol, family member, friend, architect…)
B: To be honest I don't really have a referent. I do follow different designers and I am very excited about the work some amazing designer did in the past. But what inspires me the most is to see what all the new creatives are doing now. In our generation there are lots of talented people that decided to work for themselves and open up a studio, create their own brand or start freelancing. People that are starting from scratch and really want to show what they are capable of. Even if it is hard they are starting from zero and slowly building a name. These kind of people is the one that truly inspire me.
L: A holiday destination
B: Patagonia, Argentina
L: The best piece of advice you ever received…and the person who said it to you, if you can tell us!
B: The best piece of advice was from my father. After so many years in London something was not working for me. I was sad, upset, unhappy at work... I was trying to explain it to my dad but I didn't really know what was going on at that time. He just told me to pack up my stuff and leave. He said that life is too short to be unhappy and that maybe it was time to do something different. Then I decided to go travelling for 5months. He always reminds me that we shouldn't focus in work just to make money but make sure that we enjoy what we do. It's important to love your job because is what you do, we spend a lot of time working. But is also important to find the right balance between work and personal life.
L: Thank you so much for answering my questions!
B: My pleasure, let me know when you will be able to come to Barcelona again!
Don't hesitate to check her amazing work in her new website https://beatrizhenriot.com
Hopefully I will be able to catch with her in person soon and I will keep you posted with Bea's story.
The pictures you can see in this post are taken by me ( except from the one of her first project) during the time I worked with Bea.