Barcelona Cultura

Jordi Montaña, new president of the FAD: “We need to make the FAD totally transversal, to make ‘transFAD’”

Jordi Montaña, doctor of Industrial Engineering, ex-principal of the The University of Vic - Central University of Catalonia and director of the Càtedra d’ESADE de Gestió del Disseny, is the new president of the FAD (Fostering Arts and Design). We spoke about design, inside and outside of our home, and he told us where the FAD is headed over the coming years.


Q: What made you put your name forward to preside over the FAD? What was your link with the organization until now?

A: Well, because I was asked by Nani Marquina, who was president until now, and who I have known for many years. And with the FAD, I've been involved with it for years. I was president of ADI-FAD, but I've known about the FAD since I started in the world of design, many years ago, when I was a student.

Q: What are the objectives that the new board have considered for the FAD over the coming years? Can you tell us about any concrete actions?

A: The first objective is to continue what all of the FAD presidents have been doing. This isn't a disruptive presidency, more a presidency of continuity. I’m very aware that the FAD has 115 years of history behind it, so we have to keep improving on what they have already been doing. In concrete terms, the objective is to improve the reputation of the FAD, increase membership and boost its importance in society, not only in Barcelona, but also in Catalonia, in the Iberian Peninsula and in Europe. We want to expand the FAD's image and work.

Q: Can you tell us a bit about the FAD's new board of directors? 

A: It's a board of continuity. The vice presidents are presidents of the different associations that make up the FAD. There are three people that are staying on from the previous board, and I have put forward the secretary general, the treasurer and three more people on the condition that they are women and young. Because I think it is important. I haven't managed to get a 100% equal board by one person, but I tried because I think it is important, not just to look good. I have also looked for young people, because I also think it's important to give them a certain emphasis.
Finally, regarding the profiles, aside from the vice presidents, who are from different associations, there are two people from the world of fashion and the others are from industrial design. I feel it is necessary to stress this point. One of the things I’ve inherited from the previous Board and adopted immediately is crossing disciplines. Because, for example, in a company, the company doesn't just exist so the product design works, but so all the people involved in the project, whatever background they have, do a good job and the final product is good. It’s the same thing here. We need to make the FAD totally transversal, to make “transFAD”, as I call it.

Q: What kind of state is the FAD in these days? What link do you think it has with the city? And with the Disseny Hub?

R: I think it's going through a good period. It's a balanced moment where big internal reforms have taken place to give us a good starting point. I think it has its presence, but, as I said before, we need to increase this presence and not just here, but abroad too. Regarding the link to the building, I have little experience, but I would like us to be an important element in the building. I’m not saying that to quench my thirst to be a central figure, but to help the Disseny Hub to have a much bigger reputation in the world of design. This means we want to collaborate, help and reinforce what is done and the image it gives.

Q: What role should the Disseny Hub play in the Barcelona world of design?

A: The Disseny Hub is an opportunity to have a series of important institutions in one place, and this should help to give design a boost in the city. That said, I think we should also avoid it becoming a ghetto. We need go outside. From the Disseny Hub, it should radiate out to the rest of Barcelona, and I insist on that. And also outside Barcelona. Because there is life outside Barcelona, as well as design outside of Barcelona.
So we need to go outward, but the Disseny Hub could be a central nucleus with a considerable specific weight.

Q: And what link have you previously had with the Disseny Hub?

A: Aside from being president of ADI-FAD, I was invited by the FAD for the inauguration of the building. I also came various times with students of the Design Marketing course I teach at ESADE. We came with the students and it was a really interesting session and a good contact. I had always been coming as a visitor and now I’m coming as a tenant.

Q: How do you see the future of design in Barcelona? And in Europe?

A: I never get tired of saying it: everything around us is design, everything is designed. Design must be of top importance in the future. There are many things that don’t work and need to be improved, like uncomfortable seats and tools that could work better if they were redesigned. The problem is that designers have to believe it. We must tell designers, professionals who give dimension to things, that they can do it all. And that's why a lot of information is needed. The day they empower all the people who live around design, and make them aware of the importance they have in society, we will have taken a big leap. And we will gain a lot in terms of quality of life.

Q: If you had to choose an idol in the world of design, who would it be? And a design/object?

A: They are questions like the typical “what book would you take with you to a deserted island”. No, I can't choose and I can't answer. I like objects. I’m a person who is close to objects, but at the same time, also distant. I know that I won't take any objects with me when I die, so I have a caring relationship with objects that make me comfortable, for example, sitting in a well-designed chair, but I don't have any objects that I like more than others. There are all kinds of things that are well designed and if you had to mention them all, you’d never finish. No, I can't choose just one. There are objects that I like more or less in certain moments, but I find it is a very difficult decision. And it's the same thing with the designer. There are many really good ones and I don't want anybody to get angry! I can't answer these questions because I wouldn’t know how to choose. I like one for something, another for another thing, some I didn't use to like, but now I do, and vice-versa. Ultimately, the ones I like are the ones who do their job well.


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