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Manuel Espejo

Manuel Espejo is,  without a doubt, one of the most well known faces of the Spanish interior design scene today.  He is a regular personality on Spanish tv, a social media sensation and recently (among many other recognitions); won the award from Casa Decor for the most accomplished interior designer of 2017.   Mr. Espejo is not just famous, but a brilliant and talented designer.

Mr. Espejo grew up in a family with strong interior design roots with appreciation for beauty.  He started working on his very first projects while he was still a student at the prestigious Instituto Artístico de Enseñanza, Iade in Madrid, Spain.   After that, Mr. Espejo worked for some of the most prestigious design studios of Spain, until opening his eponymous design studio, serendipitously located on Espejo Street.

Mr. Espejo’s success is placed in delivering quality with the creation of spaces that are modern and functional, but still sophisticated with an emphasis on timelessness.  Good design lasts! That is part of his unique design mantra.   His elegant work is proof of that, and his flavour of life is more than evident in his emphatic personality. Let’s dive into our conversation…

Iván Meade – What was your first experience with design?

Manuel Espejo – As always, everything started like a game, that is the place were we start testing and practising our own strengths which later in life will become our profession.  In my case, my parents had a furniture store and I remember loving to play with the elements I had within my reach and to create new ways to display their merchandise.

Interiors by Manuel Espejo

Iván Meade – How would you describe your design style?

Manuel Espejo – My style is definitely timeless.  I try not to use trends.  If I use a trend it is always in small doses,  this way the project looks current.  Having a timeless approach will create a more sophisticated aesthetic  that will be appreciated for many years to come and never feel outdated.

Interiors by Manuel Espejo

Iván Meade – What part of your job would people find most surprising?

Manuel Espejo – They get surprised about the questions I ask about their lifestyle, their habits and how they use their space.  It is not the same to plan and design a dining room where you are going to eat every day, to one that is only in use when you have a special occasion.  If you like to have your breakfast in the kitchen we will need to adapt the design to fit that need into the space.  We adapt the designs to the clients lifestyle.  This is the reason why it is important to ask these questions.

Interiors by Manuel Espejo

Iván Meade – What is the best advice you have ever received?

Manuel Espejo – “Don’t do your work for free, things that don’t have a price don’t have a real value”  This is one of those things that has always been part of my core as designer.  The only exception is when I do work for a charity.

Interiors by Manuel Espejo

Iván Meade – Many of our readers are design students – What would be the best advice you can give to someone who is starting a career in design?

Manuel Espejo – My advice is that you need to know about everything, not only things related to the decorative arts.  To look, to study, to find ways to feed their inspiration, to establish relationships with people that they admire and to never be afraid to have your own voice in design.

Interiors by Manuel Espejo

Iván Meade – Describe what you like most about your own home?

Manuel Espejo – Nothing I have done myself, I just love the wonderful orientation that my place has, so I can enjoy the fresh air in the warm summer nights of Madrid.

Interiors by Manuel Espejo

Iván Meade – What is one item couldn’t you live without at home?

Manuel Espejo – A great kitchen, I live in a comfortable but not a large apartment by any means, but having a semi-professional kitchen with a big island where I could share wonderful memories with friends.  That is something I cannot live without.

Interiors by Manuel Espejo

Iván Meade – How do you conceive your interiors – What is important for you to have a successful interior design?

Manuel Espejo – Listening to our client needs is basic. We don’t develop abstract art.  We design spaces where people live.  In the case of a house, we create a functional set design to showcase our clients life for many years.  A place that can grow with them and their needs.  This needs to be done with respect, and not by incorporating things that will not be needed, or get them tired of them.  In commercial spaces, you need to be more bold; I could say that you need to be more theatrical to create a unique experience for the customers of the space.

Interiors by Manuel Espejo

Iván Meade – Something I really admire about your projects, and I think it could also be an interactive part of your signature style, is the use of volumes as part of the architectural envelope.  Why are these volumes important for you?

Iván Meade – In interior design, or any of the decorative arts we are in debt with the architecture of the space.  In that space, it is it’s volumes that allow you to develop a frame for your interior space.  I am a big fan of the geometric abstraction which allows you to create spaces that are two -dimensional, but when you are working with tri -dimensional spaces – That is when you create real magic!

Interiors by Manuel Espejo + Miele

Iván Meade – While reviewing and investigating questions for your interview, I discovered that you are a celebrity and viral star with your Christmas videos.  I applaud your incredible effort.  These videos really showcase your creative juices to the max – What is the story behind this fun idea?

Manuel Espejo –  There are simple ideas behind all of this: To have fun, to entertain our clients and friends with something different from what we do all year round.  Some people may give you a present, I gave them a video produced by us.  We started with a little budget. but little by little we have been able to create bigger and more entreating productions.  At the end of the day, these productions need to be fun.

Christmas Video 2016 by Manuel Espejo

Iván Meade – What would be your dream project?

Manuel Espejo – There are many things I want to do and accomplish in my life as a designer, but I am a firm believer that the the ideal project is the one in which you find the client that believes in you.  It all starts, as I said before, by taking the time to listen and know your client well.

Interiors by Manuel Espejo

Iván Meade – What is next for Manuel Espejo?

Manuel Espejo – It is a bit imposible to know.  Projects arrive when you are least expecting them.  As I said before, we don’t work in an abstract way that is impulsive, just like a painter uses their brush or a writer uses their keyboard – we are more intentional.  We are in a real world where we work with real people, real clients, and real needs.  It is also a complex world, where a budget and numbers are also part of the equation of what we do.  I can only say that whatever comes my way, I will approach it with the same enthusiasm and passion I have always shown for my profession.

Iván Meade – Lastly, you have already created a stunning body of work with many mediums and styles. What would you like your legacy to be?

Manuel Espejo – Thanks! Iván, Im still young, I know it is not right to say this, but I haven’t thought about my legacy per say.  But, I do need to think about this.  Just knowing the fact that I have done my best and I have great friends and colleagues that are already a legacy that I am proud of.  If one of my designs can inspire somebody, or help as an inspiration to create something even better that will be a dream.  The only thing is that I want recognition for that.  Everyone is always a bit vain.

I invite you to visit Manuel Espejo’s website and discover his exquisite work: