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Enric Franch, design between everyday life and culture | Culture

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Last night Enric Franch left us, an important reference in the world of design, intellectual and at the same time creative, although unfortunately little known, given his introspective nature. He was born in Barcelona in 1943 and graduated from the Higher School of Social Sciences of Barcelona. In 1968 he began his work as an industrial designer, which he expanded into the world of interior design and in particular exhibition design and museography, where he is a clear reference. He participated in the ICSID congress in Ibiza in 1973, being a member of the ADI-FAD. He collaborated with the company Metalarte (National Design Award in 2004) for years as a consultant and designer. In 1975 he signed the Calder table lamp for this company, without a doubt his most emblematic product, an icon of the start of Spanish design, – something like the national version of the Tizio -, with international impact and which would come to equip the office. of François Mitterrand’s Elysée.

He participated in the Catalan Culture Congress in 1977 coordinated by Antoni Mercader, with whom he would develop a close collaboration ever since. He was the one who would introduce him to the artist Antoni Muntadas, with whom he worked on numerous projects throughout his life.

From his DPC studio he participated in numerous museum projects, the Science Museum in Tenerife, with Jordi Garcés and Enric Soria; and in Asturias, the Railway Museum in Gijón, and the Fine Arts Museum with the architect Patxi Mangado, in Oviedo.

In the early 80s he designed very popular exhibitions of painters such as Nonell, Casas or Rusiñol at the Palau de la Virreina in Barcelona. And in 1985 the exhibition Catalonia, the factory of Spain, in the old Born market, with Jordi Nadal and Joan Antón Benach. Already in the 2000s she designed the Muntadas and Miralda exhibitions at the Reina Sofía Museum in Madrid.

In 1985 he began an intense teaching job at the Elisava school that would last until 2006, which he had to abandon because he did not have a doctorate. He was curator of the Spring of Design in Barcelona in 1995 and 1997.

In the words of Antoni Mercader, Franch was “a privileged but wasted mind, he was more than a designer, someone who reflected and took his practice to the limit.” In recent years Franch was disappointed with the development of current design and the lack of public support. “I am interested not in design for the market, but seen as a tool to modify the environment where we move,” he explained. “There is a strong utopian potential in design, between everyday life, high culture and the means of production, a territory that is neither art nor industry, it is the fundamental space that we should promote and now it does not exist.”

Leukemia kept him away from the profession until yesterday, when he died at the age of 81. The world of design owes him recognition. Of a reserved nature, he did not seek prominence, but rather to ensure the quality of the many projects that he led “at the service of the profession, the community and the country.”

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