Rafael Morgan is an industrial designer in Brazil whose work, like the Light Drop and the Puzzle Revisited Chair, has been getting some attention of late. His whole portfolio is full of interesting pieces, but we were disappointed to learn that some of the most interesting ones are still prototypes, as it is difficult to find a company willing to produce innovative designs in Brazil. When we thought about it, we realized that little is heard about Brazilian design, save for the fantastic Campana brothers, so we asked Rafael some of his views on the present situation in Brazil for designers who want to break out. Rafael gave us some insight into the scene, all of it from the heart.
As a designer in Brazil, what do you feel are the major obstacles to getting your work produced? What do you think of the success of the Campana brothers?
Well, there are so many obstacles here that it is hard to name them all. It seems that most major Brazilian companies are afraid to innovate, you know, they make a lot of money producing classic or poorly designed products. There are a lot of good designers in Brazil, but most of them are unemployed or are forced to design mediocre stuff in their jobs. It's very frustrating- believe me, I WAS one of those. But I will never give up. I really believe that I was born to do what I do and will keep doing it until the end of my days.
I think the only chance of success for innovative and avant-garde Brazilian designers is to try to design for more industrialized and open minded countries and that´s what I have been trying to do. That's what happened with Humberto and Fernando Campana. They are very talented artists (designers), they have style, identity and some guy from Italy really believed in their work. There´s absolutely no market for their work in Brazil but some of their designs are worshiped out there, in art museums and millionaires’ houses all over the world. I have no words to describe Campana's work...It's just amazing, creative and different from everything else in the market.
In Industrial Design, the main ethical problem is that the big companies don't like to invest in new, fresh and original designs. Most of the time they just send some guys to Milan's furniture fair (and other international design related events) to take some pictures of what they think is feasible and than they just copy everything, without paying for copyrights. Here the big guys think: "Why would I pay for a new design if I can copy a successful one for free?"
The big guys here think that investing in better designed and innovative products is a waste of time; they just copy successful designs without paying a cent for it. Believe or not, it's true.
We are in the middle of a very serious ethical crisis here, that's why I try to spread some optimistic messages and important questions through my designs.
The world is already full of 'stuff' – as a designer, why do you choose to create more?
Designing beautiful things that can really make people think about things that really matter is never enough. Poetry and art are never enough.
I think that the important thing here is not the object itself, it's what is behind it, it's the story it tells, the feelings and emotions evoked by it.
In most of my projects I try to make a well balanced mix of art, visual poetry, semiotics, design and other things that I consider important. It´s just my nature, I love design and arts and I will keep doing this kind of crazy stuff until the day I die.
Sick Table - top view