Interview with designer Max Enrich

We discovered the work of Max Enrich through Curated by, a brand that fascinates us, and in which, in addition to being a partner, he also designs unique and timeless objects. In this adventure, he is accompanied by Albert Esteve, with whom he is building a collection of exceptional pieces, both for the home and for everyday life, which strike a perfect balance between design, aesthetics, and functionality.

As you will see when you read the interview, Max Enrich always knew he wanted to create and materialize his ideas. Fortunately, this is what he does, and facing any of his creations – from glass jars, tables, lamps… – one realizes that his curiosity and imagination know no bounds.

Enrich is happy designing utilitarian objects that are aesthetically beautiful, which in most cases are true works of art.

To get to know him a little better, come on in and read.

What did you want to be when you were little?

When I was little, I was very clear about it and I often talked about it at home. I wanted to be an inventor. The thing is, I didn’t know which profession was closest to that.

When I was little, I was very clear about it and I often talked about it at home. I wanted to be an inventor.

I always used to tell my mother that I wanted to design a three-legged chair, hahaha, without knowing that they existed… When I was 15 or 16, I realized that the closest thing to what I felt I wanted to be was to study architecture because my idea of an architect was someone who designed a house and all its interior, including furniture and objects. But then I realized that wasn’t the case, and that I was never going to build a house. So, I studied a couple of years of Architecture and then switched to Industrial Design. And that’s when I started to feel more comfortable.

What three adjectives best describe you?

What I don’t consider myself is creative because I believe that everyone is creative and that creativity is something innate to human beings.

Something that I am often told is that what I do is challenging in terms of usability. And my work has also been described as provocative. I have the style that I have without forcing it, being true to myself, and without following trends. I do what I feel, and it has been that way over these 10 years.

I have the style that I have without forcing it, being true to myself, and without following trends.

Do you have any fetish piece that you especially like? And what about your best seller?

They tend to be the most recent ones because I look at them and feel proud. Although I also have to say that I don’t regret the projects I did 4 and 5 years ago.

I have a marble side table that I really like. It’s polished on the outside and “wrinkled” on the inside, as the stone inside is hand-chiseled.

Chairs are the ultimate fetish of a designer.

And a fetish piece that I haven’t done yet and that is always on the back burner is a chair. Chairs are the ultimate fetish of a designer. I think it was Mies Van der Rohe who said that it was more complicated to make a chair than a building… Not that I want to boast about my profession, but it’s a super challenge to face the design of this type of piece.

Studying the pieces you have designed, it is true that we see that your designs are very aesthetic and also very artistic.

Yes, I have a theory that I always explain, and it is that the perfect table and chairs are already made by the big companies and there are already many people striving to adhere to those parameters.

So, on the contrary, that allows me to focus on other things and feel more freedom to create without having to submit to those requirements. And that is very good compared to the big ones. For example, IKEA cannot afford to make an uncomfortable chair or something not useful, but I can, and it is something that I defend and will continue to defend.

Designers, architects, and artists from all times whom you admire.

Italians have always been my favorites because they were the ones who knew how to recover the beauty of things. Also, the Scandinavians, whom I admire but do not envy.

From the Americans, I love the Eames for everything they brought in terms of technologies applied to materials and how they knew how to implement it. Their designs are timeless.

By the way, when it comes to designing a piece, is there any material you identify with more or enjoy working with more often?

There are four, which are the most elemental: wood, stone, glass, and iron. Ceramics would come after, and a few others, but I mainly work with the most basic ones.

What piece from all times would you have liked to create?

If I could go to any period, I would choose a Chinese bowl. I love objects and I collect them. For example, I have a good collection of scissors because of the complexity of the mechanism, and I also have many kitchen accessories. When you collect, the good thing is that you start to see the beauty in everything. In fact, one of my favorite objects is a bowl that I bought in France for 1 €.

What role does sustainability and craftsmanship play in the projects you carry out?

I am very mindful of sustainability, but it’s a bit like style, it’s not something I actively seek but rather something that represents me. Additionally, when working with the materials I mentioned earlier, very little waste and residue are generated, and the processes are not as harmful.

Stone is the material I most enjoy working with.

Stone is the material I most enjoy working with, and I am very careful about how I do it because it’s irreplaceable. When I discovered this material, I had very few resources, so I started working with the pieces that “the big ones” discarded or rejected. For me, sustainability is also about making the most of materials. Perhaps that vision comes from self-production, which I have done a lot of, and because I know that with little, I can do a lot. I’ve always learned to design with what’s available.

When it comes to creating, do you usually follow the same workflow?

Before, I had more time for the things I wanted to launch on my own, but now that I have a tighter schedule with clients, the first thing they provide is the briefing. And I always ask for it to be as concise as possible because the more detailed it is, the harder it is for me to solve it. I like to provide solutions, to solve, and that’s why I prefer not to be too constrained for it. My experience is that the shorter the briefing, the more the client enjoys it because I open up paths they didn’t expect.

What type of commissions do you usually receive?

More than a specific piece, I typically receive requests to provide a solution that is not only aesthetic but practical as well. What I do is offer pieces created ad hoc for that client, something that the market is unable to resolve.

What role does your wife Diana play in your projects?

She comes from the advertising world and is now a storyteller. The truth is, since she masters words so well, her work is essential for making what I do evocative and appealing. In fact, when I finish a piece, I ask her to create the text that describes it, something I am incapable of doing. In a way, she acts as a psychologist, asking me the right questions to understand the origin and reasons that led me to create that piece. And she helps me make sense of what I create as well as access concepts that I wouldn’t otherwise be able to reach.

When, how, and why did your collaboration with Curated by begin? How many products have you designed for them?

I am a partner along with Albert Esteve. He started the brand with two other friends as a blog where they recommended objects. But after two years, they realized that instead of just recommending, they could create their own objects. They started with candles, a sweatshirt… a few things. Then the initial team dissolved, and since Albertwanted to continue with the project, he invited me to join. Since then, we have made objects that are very well-received.

A product that works very well at Curated by, especially outside of Spain, is the stainless steel ladder-table. We make it by hand in Barcelona with two artisans.

“I differentiate a lot when designing for Curated by or for my own studio, always thinking about the type of client and maintaining my own touch.”

Who would you like to collaborate with?

Yes, always. I work a lot with Stefano Colli because he comes from the world of interior design and I come from the product world, so we mix his scale and mine and we complement each other very well. Each one solves based on their abilities, and the combination of his and mine fit together very well.

I have pending collaborations with Marset, which is something I would love. Also with Mobles114, Ondarreta

And over the years, because I’m not in a hurry, I would like to take a more international leap.

How about your teaching role?

I teach at Eina, where I studied. I’ve been teaching for 4-5 years now, and I’m starting the second semester in February. I like it because I teach “Projects”, which is a very permissive subject and one that I really enjoy.

You haven’t designed your three-legged chair yet, the one you dreamed of as a child. Is it still pending?

Haha, I’ve already made a three-legged table, but I guess the dream I had is still there…

What is your current connection with architecture?

I would like to, not to take a scale leap, but to take on larger projects, because in the end, it’s the production aspect that I enjoy the most.

I’m fortunate to have worked twice with GCA Architects, which is a studio with a lot of history and that I admire a lot. One of the projects was some huge hanging stone lamps and also some benches that measured about 2 meters for a common area of one of their works.

Do you work with art galleries?

Mainly with Il·lacions. They often attend many fairs, and I love being part of their portfolio of designers.

I’m also in close contact with galleries from abroad. The truth is, we always have pending projects, but at the same time, it’s a very demanding time of work that requires a lot of dedication. And right now, I don’t have that.

What are you working on right now?

Among other things, I’m working on a shop window display for a big brand with a space on Paseo de Gràcia. It’s still a few months away from being unveiled, but I’m very pleased with it.

On the other hand, I’ve been working on a personal project for a while now. I craft glass pitchers. It started with making 40 for my wedding, and then I launched 4 of those pitchers at Curated by. After that experience, and since it’s a product I love designing, I’ve created a space/brand called Jarrita, treating it as a sort of experimentation lab where I can have fun with glass. I like to try, make mistakes, and start over. That’s how I learn a lot and come up with solutions to risky approaches.

I’ve been working on a personal project for a while now. I craft glass pitchers. I started by making 40 for my wedding.”

(*) Photos: Cover, still photo 1 and 2, body text photo 2, 4, 5, and 6 by Claudia Mauriño; slider photo 1 by Max Enrich; body text photo 1 and 3 by Salva López; slider photo 2 by DSL Studio.