Northern Story #9 · Marc Morro, INDUSTRIAL DESIGNER

LA CADIRETA & OTHER THINGS

Photography: Leila Méndez
Text: Ana Navarro

We have been following Marc Morro’s work for a long time. He is an industrial designer who found his way after a few years of transission, working on publicity. Now, AOO Altrescoses has become his place. AOO Altrescoses - ‘altres coses’ meaning ‘other things’ in Catalan- is the place to easily find those things that are usually hard to find. In AOO, Marc collects the work from other designers and brands and exposes his products. A salt shaker, a chair, a rug for the sofa, a stool… Apparently, these things have nothing in common; nevertheless, every time I go to AOO I feel that everything is somehow related, that all the objects have the same spirit. Everything fits together.

Let’s touch wood


Marc’s designs have real, simple, cosy and basic shapes. He designs objects with truthfulness, and patience: touching them, working on them and getting familiar with them. This is Marc’s routine. He is so familiar with his designs, that he lives with them. His beautiful workshop, which is placed in a coastal quarter of Barcelona called “Poblenou”, is also his home. Marc wakes up and goes to sleep in a room that is full of drafts that hang on the walls; a room that is full of boards of different types of wood and objects that are finished or in the process. In his room, you can also find, here and there, some of the classics of design by Miguel Milá, one of my favorite industrial designers: his lamps Cesta and TMC, his Salvador chairs. Marc’s studio is in a perfectly esthetic state of chaos.


I have a bit of Marc’s spirit at home, with my Manolito stool: it is nice, small, strong and cool.

Yes, Cadireta


Marc did not tell us anything about the piece that we would design until the day we met. When we arrived to the workshop, he unveiled the mystery and told us which was the destiny of this chapter: we would do one of his Cadireta chairs.


Marc’s Cadireta makes me think of my grand mother: when I was a child, she would often say that she wanted to sit for a while “a la fresca”, outside. Sitting in a Cadireta implies having the time to sit and look at life, think for a while, a calmly speak with a friend.


It looks like it is simple to do, but Marc tells us to pay attention and be careful. Its simplicity hides mathematic precision. All the parts must fit perfectly. It is made of flanders pine and only the seat and the backrest are varnished.

A, B, C, D and E...


...you could sum up the Cadireta in these simple terms.


The most difficult part consists of cutting each piece of wood to te right size. Again, it seems to be simple but it is not. If you do not focus you risk getting an uneven chair.


“It might look monotonous, you spend a lot of time cutting wood. But later, everything gets its sense”

Dani and Joan start working. They listened to Marc but it is difficult to keep the same concentration from the beginning to the end, when they have already cut loads of identical boards. Marc sees the lack of concentration: “I am not checking the sizes, I guess you’re doing it alright”; “You are working all together, if a board is uneven, we won’t know who did it”. We all have a good laugh but I see how the guys take it as a reminder and start working with more attention.


Once all the pieces are cut, we have to sand down the edges. Only a little bit, so the boards do not get smaller.

Drill-holes


Next step: we mark on each board, with a stencil, where the screws are placed.


We start drilling the boards. It is a very manual task, so it requires a lot of concentration. We ask Marc how does he know when he got to the right depth. He simply “feels” it. Actually, drilling is quite difficult. Marc gives us a good piece of advise: “you need to drill, getting in and out, caressingly. Or you’ll break the wood”.


Later, we give the drill-holes a countersink shape. This is a very important detail because it allows us to give more space to the screw. Thus, the thicker part of the screw will fit in better, with no danger of cracking the wood. It also gives the chair a cleaner look.

Love


As Marc said before, it is time to give sense to all our work. We will set the seat first, then the backrest. Finally, the legs.


First, we put two “B” parts together with an “F”. Later, we assemble all the “A” pieces, for the seat and for the backrest. It looks like the backrest of one of the Cadiretas slopes a little bit. We are afraid that we might invent a “tipping Cadireta”, but if a board is poorly placed, we can fix it with another board.

Now, we put the seat and the backrest together. Marc can quickly grasp if a screw was put with little attention, that means, if it leans: “this wasn’t lovingly done” or later “waw, not a lot of love in there”. The noise that the screw makes when it is getting in, betrays a poor drill-hole by Joan or Dani: it is an irritated noise, like it is angry.


Before we decide to put the chair legs, it is important to sand them down. We have to do it carefully, eliminating the fibers and focussing on each area. Damn! it looks like it is a little bit uneven. Marc comforts us by saying that, sometimes, it is not your fault when the chair is uneven: it is a natural product so it might twist and get its own shape.


We put our last screw: we have finished our two Cadiretas.

First things first


Sitting in my Cadireta, I enjoy looking at Marc’s workshop. I see a few dishes from Sargadelos’ crockery, a box of Cheerios, and an old poster that advertises the trip from Barcelona to Palma the Mallorca in only one hour. The sun of this winter day gets through the big windows, Leila is looking at the pictures she took in her laptop, Marc and Joan talk about their experience building the Cadiretas.


I notice another poster that says “First things first”. I will keep this sentence.