An interview with Pepe Leal
One of the stars of contemporary Spanish design, Pepe Leal initially studied Art History before dedicating his talents to his passion for interior design and décor. After a time in the fashion world, he also expressed his creativity in designing furniture. While his projects have a striking aesthetic impact, he is a firm defender of functionality. We share his love of colour!
How would you define Pepe Leal and his style?
I don’t think I have a definite or clearly identifiable style; at least I don’t see it myself. My aim, in all my projects, is that the style of my client remains prevalent. I try to bring out the best in them, provide a filter to order and give coherence to their tastes to create very personal, different and distinctive projects. I don’t like to impose my style everywhere I go but try to find the style that best fits the space, the location and my client’s personal tastes, and of course, their budget. To approach the project in a professional manner but not so it shows too much.
For Pepe Leal, what do surfaces contribute to a space?
Well, it depends on the project. There are times when the wall and floor surfaces are the real heart of the space, serving to reinforce or even determine the specific style we have chosen. In that case, it’s everything. Other times, however, we look for more neutral surfaces, merely to accompany, complement, contrast or reinforce other protagonists. But, of course, in our studio nothing is left to chance; everything is very thought out and forms a part of something.
Your most personal project, your most enjoyable project, your most functional project
The most personal, without a doubt, is my home. The most enjoyable is difficult to choose because, although it sounds like a cliché, I enjoy all my projects with the same intensity. I think it’s part of my life, enjoying them. If not, I don’t think I’d be happy!
I have really enjoyed the various editions of Casadécor, because I get to do what I want. Generally, these have been my best projects. And finally, the most functional.
I don’t know. They should all be functional. If not, I wouldn’t be a good professional. I don’t think I could pick out any one in particular.
What fashion or trend would you bring back?
More than any fashion or trend, I’d like to recover the traditions, trades and craftsmanship that are disappearing. We are losing a great deal of techniques and skills that only come from experience, handed down from generation to generation.
I’m also troubled by the way wallpaper is going. It’s becoming just an enlarged photograph instead of what it truly is, putting paint on paper, and fewer and fewer people are doing it.
What rules should never be broken when decorating?
Proportion. The dialogue between objects. The rhythm of accent and silence, absence and fullness. Basically, finding balance… like everything in life.
Colours you couldn’t live without?
All of them! There are no ugly colours in nature. Ugliness comes from us. I couldn’t imagine my life without colour.
What historical era do you most identify with aesthetically?
All of them have something admirable, marvellous. For me, the most complete of all is the 18th century. The urban design, landscaping, architecture. It was a really revolutionary time in all aspects. But, of course, it’s a hundred years; you can’t compare it to other more specific or recent periods. The 1950’s is another era that I strongly identify with.
If you could only choose one, which Hisbalit collection would you choose?
I’d die if I could only choose one! But, if I had to, I’d choose Urban Chic.