Spanish designer Alvaro Catalán de Ocón was born in Madrid in 1975. He studied business management at the Complutense University of Madrid from 1995 to 1999—earning a Bachelor’s degree in Business and Administration—before going on to study product design at the Institute Europeo di Design in Milan (2000-2001) and Central St. Martins in London (2001-2004). He graduated from the latter with honors and a Bachelor’s degree in Product Design. (Notably, his thesis project, the Glow Brick, is still manufactured and distributed today by Suck UK.) In 2004, Catalán de Ocón launched his own studio in Barcelona. In 2009, he relocated to Madrid, where he also teaches (since 2009) students pursuing thesis projects in the Master Product Design Lab at the Instituto Europeo di Design.
Catalán de Ocón designs furniture, lighting, and accessories. He embraces clean, elemental aesthetics, and his work is often characterized by a sense of playfulness. He is best known for his PET Lamp (2012), an ongoing project that marries industrial design and traditional craft techniques. For each lamp, artisans in South America and beyond hand-weave palm tree fibers and discarded plastic bottles to create one-of-a-kind, colorful lamps. The project debuted at Galleria Rossana Orlandi in Milan in 2013, and has since gone on to earn the AD prize for Best Emerging Design Studio (2014); the CODESPA prize in the category of SME (small and medium enterprises, 2013); as well as nominations for the London Design Museum’s best product of the year (2013); the Delta Award (2014); and the German Design Award (2015).
Catalán de Ocón’s work has been presented at several institutions and events across the globe, including, but not limited to: the Double Game solo exhibition at Galeria Muñoz-Machado (Madrid, 2015), The FAB Mind exhibition at 21_21 Design Sight (Tokyo, 2014), Waterweavers exhibition (NY, Madrid, and Washington, 2014-2015), and at Galleria Rossana Orlandi (Milan, 2011-2014), ShowMe Gallery (Portugal, 2013), Mint (London, 2012), David Gill (Miami Art Basel, 2011), Galería OA (Madrid, 2010), and ICFF (New York, 2005). He has also curated a number of exhibitions, including the 2010 Finnish Design Week exhibition, Helsinki – Madrid Findesign, in Madrid, co-curated with Pedro Feduchi and Kari Korkman.