“YES! YES! YES! I realize I sound a bit like Meg Ryan in that restaurant scene from When Harry Met Sally, but I’m sure you’ll forgive me once you take a look at these ultracool new Delightfull Graphic Lamps.” That’s what I wrote on Interiorator.com almost two years ago when I first saw the Delighfull Graphic Collection. You can imagine how cool it was for me to finally meet its designer when I was in Porto last August. So without further ado, let me introduce you to one of my design heroes, Nuno Corte Real.
So Nuno, it’s Delightfull to interview you! Can you start off by telling a little bit about yourself?
Sure! I’m originally from Caldas da Rainha in Portugal – which is also the town in which I studied design at the famous ESAD.CR College of Art and Design. I’ve been working here in Porto for two years now – both for Delightfull and Boca do Lobo, which is one of its sister brands. It’s been a great experience so far, I’m only twenty-eight years old. Together with the rest of the design team, I’ve already designed quite a lot of pieces that have gone into production, like the Coltrane table lamp and the Miles wall lamp.
You’ve also designed your very own collection that I find incredibly cool. How did the Graphic Collection start?
Yes, the Graphic Collection is my own idea. I got inspired after a trip to Las Vegas and when I came back the signs kept popping up in my head. I first designed a teaser to celebrate the the new year – 2013 at the time.
The Coltrane Lamp designed by Nuno that I saw at this year’s IMM Cologne – more pictures here.
And that teaser is what I blogged about at the time!
We tested the response from the public and it was so good and we decided to develop the collection further. Also during fairs people started taking pictures of themselves with the lamps, especially with the first letter of their own name. Pretty amazing when you think of it! It’s a collection that really grabs your attention.
You must be really proud!
Absolutely! In fact, people also ask me to design their custom letters or even their logo.
What is it about Portugal that so much good design is coming from here right now?
I’m not sure, maybe it’s the weather. Some people say that cool heads are more impressionable, so northern countries are more into engineering and southern countries are more creative. Portugal has a lot of good design schools, we have a lot of Erasmus students coming over to Portuguese Design Schools.
I was greeted at the Delightfull design studio in Porto by these two Graphic Collection lamps designed by Nuno.
What is typical about your design work? How would you describe it?
It’s hard to say, my work is pretty intuitive. I don’t have a particular style, I just go with it. I stumble upon things, even while I’m working. It’s all a very very natural process.
Where do you get your inspiration?
Eveything is an inspiration even if you don’t realize it, even subtle things will eventually influence you. I go on Pinterest a lot and just scroll through the images. I see researching and collecting interesting things as part of my job as a designer.
The new Atomic lamp by Delightfull
Any other designers that you like particularly?
I’m fascinated by the work of Ross Lovegrove, I really like his simplicity and honesty in his design pieces. That being said, I also love how here at Delightfull and Boca do Lobo we work in a style that’s more luxurious and flamboyant.
What’s it like to work here at the office with so many other designers?
It’s cool because the team is very young, it’s almost like being in college. At the weekend we party, and we work hard during the week. At least, I do! (laughs)
Do you work long days?
Oh yes! We like to reach our goals. Especially with the run-up to the exhibition season, everything has to be finished on time.
As a designer do you look back at the products you’ve designed and see how well they’ve sold? Do sales influence your design process?
Yes, especially with the Graphic Collection. I know what’s being ordered and I keep track of the sales results. And when I do a custom design project, I also talk to our clients of course.
D is for Delightfull!
Can you tell me a bit about the products you’re working on at the moment?
I just came back from vacation! I can’t tell you anything just yet, but it’s definitely going to be a big surprise.
Do you like to follow design trends or do you prefer to work autonomously?
A bit of both, actually. We work almost exclusively with Portuguese suppliers, because we like to keep things local. That influences the design choices we make. At the same time we don’t want to limit ourselves too much so sometimes we also look outside.
You’re now a successful designer and you’re only twenty-eight years old. A lot of people study design, but not everyone makes it big like you. What is the secret of your success?
I’m not afraid to make mistakes. And I work hard. That’s all there is to it, I suppose.