Hues of Design
The avant-garde nature of Masquespacio’s design concepts and stunning ideas have not only granted them worldwide recognition but also the title of ‘Interior Designers of The Year’ by the Spanish edition of The New York Times’ T Magazine and the “Wave of the Future” award by Hospitality Design USA.
Some of their most celebrated projects include The Kaikaya, a 120 square metre tropical-themed restaurant in Valencia portrays the amalgamation of a Japanese and Brazilian concept with a strong focus on bright colours to complete the eclectic design.
Masquespacio’s own design studio in Valencia is a treat for the eyes as the entire space is designed keeping in mind the brands identity and versatile nature of projects the firm has completed. Not doing things by the book, and believing in the mantra, “Colour creates emotions, awakes sensations and highlights joy”, the team at Masquespacio has plans to storm the interior design market of their country.
Ana Hernandez and Christophe Penasse
Founders of Studio – Masquespacio
Ana: I was born in Bogotá and during my childhood, I helped my mother from time to time who is an event planner specialized in floral design. When I was 17, I decided to move to Valencia, Spain and study interior design as I was always amazed by the architecture and interior design during my adolescence.
Christophe: I was born in Belgium and studied marketing in my country. Around 23 and after working in companies like Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and Federal Express, during my holiday as a student, I decided to follow my dream and move to Spain, a country that attracted me for its particular lifestyle. I first started to study Spanish and afterward, I started to work at the commercial department of German Cash & Carry chain Makro.
SCALE: In 2010 Masquespacio was created, what was the driven force behind this entrepreneurial success? Could you tell us more about the creative consultancy process?
Ana: I just finished my studies and we were in the middle of a terrible financial crisis in Spain. Valencia, as a small city was really hard hit and when I started to search for work there were no opportunities. As a matter of fact, the few available were more related to the technical development of projects and I was more interested in the creative part. Christophe then convinced me to start our own studio.
Christophe: I was passing for a difficult moment at work and wasn’t finding my way in life. I had an entrepreneurial spirit, selling and buying things, setting up events and I was convinced that one day I would set up my own company. As Ana was in search of work, we decided to set-up a business plan and strategy to start our own studio and find our own clients.
Ana: At the beginning, the business model was focused on the opportunity during the crisis to refurbish homes with a low cost, but creative design. Although after designing the first home we decided our forte was hospitality and retail projects as it gave us the possibility to be creative with our designs. During the winter of 2016, we realized that we were converting our creative studio with a clear passion for interior and product design into an agency that offered all types of design services. The number of branding projects was growing fast though fewer interior design projects were coming in.
Christophe: Hence, we decided to stop doing any branding and graphic related projects and focus on our passion, interior and product design.
SCALE: Looking back at your journey in the last 10 years, Masquespacio has designed outstanding projects. Which are the two most memorable projects and why?
Ana: The first one is without a doubt Nozomi Sushi Bar.The clients gave us the opportunity to take time to learn a new culture and type of cuisine. So, we started to study Japanese and sushi culture and together with the client learnt their experiences. In an early stage of our career they trusted in us to develop their dream restaurant which was a unique experience for us. Another important project is the first collection of furniture we designed, our Toadstool collection as it showed us in a new path of passion and declared our love for product design.
Christophe: The Toadstool collection is the expression of who Ana is: colourful, explosive, with alot of contrasts; but also expresses really well our design language. Other important projects where the two residences we designed for The Student Hotel in Barcelona, as it was the biggest projects until then and it gave us the opportunity to learn how to develop interior design projects on a bigger scale. And of course, the exhibition and products we develop for Poggi Ugoto celebrate 100 years during the Milan Design Week was a unique experience for us. Tobe able to learn and work with Poggi Ugo’s artisans and see their passion for craftsmanship marked an important turning point for us.
Ana: Colour creates emotions, awakes sensations, and highlights joy.
SCALE: 2020 has put us all “thinking outside the box” with our work. What are some of the modifications you are implying with regard to the complete design process and efficiently assisting your clients?
Ana: We are trying specifically to convince them to take this moment to trust craftsmanship instead of industrial solutions. We think beauty is in the imperfection of this craftsmanship. We are also trying to work more locally, even with clients that are in other countries. We are even introducing some of these processes by our team directly.
SCALE: What is the next step for Masquespacio? Are there any projects we can be on the lookout for?
Ana: We were preparing to launch our new brand Mas Creations during the Milan design week in April, but due to the Virus situation it was cancelled. Now we have been working hard during the lockdown to make this launch much more impactful and at the same time seek options to launch it digitally during these weeks.
Christophe: Mas Creations is the personal vision of Ana and I. It will be a completely independent vision that will showcase our universe through installations, products and a lot of inspiration. Next to the projects we are developing for our customers, Mas Creations will be of much importance in our future evolution.