I always wanted to learn from the leading designers in Italy, so I worked there for a while then I moved to France to be an assistant at the Vitra Workshops learning from the most prestigious international designers, all the while I was trying to find a new way to create products.
After these experiences I realised I could make different kinds of sustainable products that had a positive affect on nature, humans and society, so I decided to focus on innovation and sustainability, and expand my knowledge. I then moved to New York and worked on the design field while developing my projects after many long hours of work. Many of my personal projects I developed after university and after work have now been exhibited in numerous design and art exhibitions and won international design awards.
Tell us a little about PALO?
Palo was founded for one simple reason: to create products that embody our passion for design and innovation using natural materials. We strive to turn the finest wood into something sophisticated and stylish, while maintaining a distinctive edge. The name "Palo" comes from the Spanish and Italian word for "wooden stick," a playful reference to our diverse origins and funkier side.
How did the idea for PALO develop?
While I was living in New York, I saw a young musician riding by on a bamboo bicycle. The idea of making new and groundbreaking products out of wood began and a year later we had developed many prototypes which has led us to create what is now called Palo.
What inspires you?
I am inspired to work with different materials, traveling and meeting new people from different cultures and finding different ways of doing ordinary things. All of this inspires me, I like to experiment to see how materials can be changed, finding unusual shapes and structures. Taking new and unexplored experiences, and inspiration from nature to create innovative designs.
What is your ultimate goal with PALO?
The ultimate goal is to make sustainable and innovative products of the highest quality in an outstanding design. We want people to wear our product and feel that this product is part of them, that they are somehow alive, and unique.
What is your signature artistic flair?
I personally love the art and society criticism of the Chinese famous artist Ai weiwei. The Campana brothers between design and art, and all those artists who explore the limits of matter. As a child, Dalí had a strong influence on me, it really fascinates me, the same as Gaudi, both of them they are in the limits between achitecture, art and design.
What is your favourite thing about fashion?
I personally think that state of the art pieces are those that are timeless, even after eighty years you still think they are modern and cool, this is amazing.
Describe yourself in three words?
I love to explore, make ideas come true and keep developing ideas until I find one little thing that will make the difference. DREAMER, EXPLORATIVE, ANALYTICAL.
What are your favourite things to do?
Go to the beach, feel the wind, the waves, the sun, and find inspiration in nature for my new designs.
What advice do you have for aspiring designers?
Find your passion, and believe you can make it. Visualise, imagine, and get closer to those things related to your passion. Plan and make strategies on how to develop yourself until your ideas become real. Things take time, never give up unless you feel that it is really time to change to a new idea. I had to give up many projects after spending so much time on them, and there are moments when you have to change. Use that experience to build on a new idea or project. Nothing is lost, it only changes.
What's next for you?
I would like to create a collaboration between Palo and different artists to customise each of our shapes and working together with non-profit-organisations to build awareness of a sustainable society. Each one of our models have a name from a rainforest around the world, so we would like to get involved on projects from each one of those rainforests.
Where can our readers find out more about your label?
You can find more through the internet, www.palowood.com and design shops.
Words: Stacey O'Keeffe