Born in Spain, Nacho Carbonell graduated in 2003 from Cardenal Herrera C.E.U. University in Spain before going on to study at Design Academy Eindhoven. After graduating, Carbonell immediately began to make a name for himself in the design world, with his 2009 Evolution collection earning him a nomination for the Beazley Design of the Year from the Design Museum in London.
In 2010, a year after being named a Designer of the Future at Design Miami/Basel, he presented this Identity, which redefined his style of organic forms and rough and colorful textures.
Carbonell is known for his tactile approach to sculpture, playing with texture, experimental techniques, and natural materials. His approach is unique, seeing objects as ‘living organisms’ that come alive and surprise you with their behavior. For Carbonell forming a relationship with his work is integral – he creates objects with his hands to impart something of his personality to them. He describes his pieces as “communicative objects that arouse one’s feelings and imagination… that allow you to escape everyday life.”
Carbonell’s designs are made using locally sourced materials he finds near his studio in Eindhoven. For his sculptural Cocoon lamps, the artist creates tree-like sculptures held together by steel branches and adorned with mesh-like cocoons. The cocoons are made using a steel mesh covered with a plaster of Carbonell’s creation, a mix of sand and textile hardener. The sculptures seem otherworldly in their composition and are reminiscent of magic realism, seeming to both imitate and transcend the natural world. Carbonell’s lamps were exhibited at the opening of Carpenters Workshop Gallery’s San Francisco location. Their tree-like forms filled the upper aisles of the renovated St Joseph’s Church, adding a surrealist ethereality to the space. His pieces are shown in museums around the world, such as the Groningen Museum in the Netherlands, the 2121 Museum in Japan, Fnac-Fonds National d’art Contemporain in France, the MoMA San Francisco, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Mint Museum in the United States. His pieces are also found in several private collections.