Design Through Making
Maria Ramon Vazquez
I’m a Spanish Product Designer, based in London, where I recently finished my MA in Design Products at the Royal College of Art. I specialize in crafts and making and have a special interest in 3D software.
I enjoy the creative phase where prototyping, making, and sketching are involved, I always look for a balance in thinking and making. I believe this duality is what makes the perfect combination.
I strongly believe in the power of design to make an impact. I am a very enthusiastic and hardworking professional and I am currently pursuing a career in a company that enables me to implement my creative and practical skills and where I can grow as a person and as a designer.
Awards and Exhibitions:
- 1st Prize KI Award 2020 - project UNIO (Link)
- Publication in Thames Discovery - project Second Life (Link)
In the following selection of projects, you will find a collection of projects I have developed during my two years at the RCA. Although expressed in different ways, there is a general theme on playfulness and putting things together and a general interest in craft, making and interactivity.
Currently, I'm based in Valencia, but looking forward to going back to London. I'm ready to start a new chapter at a design studio where I can keep growing and learning, both as a person and as a designer, and where I can implement my creative and practical skills.
2. 2013 - Graduate in Industrial Design by the Univesidad Politécnica de Valencia.
Unio - User
Unio - Detail — S union holding side table and lamp
Unio - Detail
Unio - Detail
Unio - Detail
Unio - Assembly
Unio - Context
Unio - Compositions
person might navigate a space: from the materials, shapes, colors, or textures.
As children, we navigate our world freely, interacting with structures and giving inanimate objects
life. Somewhere along the way, we lose this inhibition, forgetting how to simply play.
Experts claim our need to play is lifelong, benefitting not only children, but adults, as we can find
joy through the creative interactions with the objects around us.
Humans’ connection to furniture is sensorial and personal. What is now commonly static and
inactive, has the potential to become the ideal adult “playground”.
Unio aims to reintroduce play into our adult lives through increased interaction between user and
furniture. Users can change their Unio set, a fusion of static and dynamic variables, to adapt to
their new landscapes, creating unique compositions. By encouraging personalization and
introducing control, users have increased engagement, sense of place, and mental wellbeing.
Unio combines simplicity, beauty, interactivity, and invention, to make a relevant playful furniture
Medium:The materials chosen for this project are steel and pine wood. These are one of the most sustainable materials (within their categories), they are humble but of high quality. I believe that using highly accessible materials and versatile make the design more sustainable but these have to be of high quality to ensure durability in time.
Abstrakt - Mould — This is one example of how an Abstrakt mould looks like when assembled.
Abstrakt - Moulds
Abstrakt - Process — This image represents very schematically the process of the making. From the initial shame turned in wood, we create a mould, which is then used in combination with any other Abstrakt mould to create a unique piece.
Abstrakt - Outcome — This is the first batch of pieces that were made with the first users that tried Abstrakt. With their feedback I was able to further develop the moulds and the project to create a better experience.
Abstrakt - Slipcasting — Slip casting is an ancient process. In slip casting, a dry porous mould is filled with liquid clay or slip creating a thick layer on the inner surface of the mould. Normally, moulds consist of one, two or three parts, held with some keys to ensure a fixed position. With traditional slip casting, one-mould delivers one piece, and this can’t be changed or modified unless the mould is changed. It is designed to make big batches of the same product, a way of mass manufacturing ceramics. Besides, it’s process is generally perceived as ‘inaccessible’ or ‘complicated’ due to the technicalities in the process.
Abstrakt - Outcome — This piece was made by one of the participants that tested out Abstrakt. Here we can see the combination of the big and the small moulds. The material used is porcelain and it's then glazed.
Abstrakt - Outcome — This was one of the first pieces that came out. It was done by one of the participants that first tried Abstrakt. This piece only uses small moulds and the material is Parian.
Abstrakt - Users — I tested Abstrak with a total of 15 users. With their feedback and insights they helped me develop the project and create a better experience.
Abstrakt - Sketches — Sketches on exploration of shapes and forms.
Abstrakt - Prototypes — Images 1 are 2 are show how the mould making evolved during the process. The images at the bottom are some of the very early experiments that then lead me to creating Abstrakt.
Slip casting is an ancient process. In slip casting, a dry porous mould is filled with liquid clay or
slip creating a thick layer on the inner surface of the mould. Normally, moulds consist of one, two
or three parts, held with some keys to ensure a fixed position. With traditional slip casting,
one-mould delivers one piece, and this can’t be changed or modified unless the mould is
changed. It is designed to make big batches of the same product, a way of mass manufacturing
ceramics. Besides, it’s process is generally perceived as ‘inaccessible’ or ‘complicated’ due to
the technicalities in the process.
Abstrakt aims to change this and eliminate the pressures of starting a new craft and instead
encourage users to try and play in a new medium using a simplified and creative technique.
Abstrakt is a set of modular moulds with basic geometric shapes that users can arrange in
infinite combinations, any position, any orientation. Users are then able to cast their unique
moulds to explore, play and quickly prototype any form or shape. Abstrakt is a universe yet to be
invoked, a space where users can feel inspired by the freedom to act without regard for plans.
Abstrakt invites all its users to play, be creative and discover the craft of slip casting in ways they
had never been able before.
Abstrakt is open to anyone interested in learning or experiencing the craft but it has a special
focus on younger audiences. Without training and introducing the next generation of
craftspeople, we are at risk of losing some of our most important built heritage.
Why is this important?
We are surrounded by mass-produced items, with the focus on production being quick and
cheap to ensure the maximum profit. Items crafted the traditional way provide a link back to how
our ancestors made things. It teaches us, and their unique characteristics and stories attach us
to them. Traditional crafts are an important part of local identity and must be preserved.
Abstrakt allows for this to happen by allowing users to experience the craft, to connect back to
our roots, and to understand about materials, processes and about what makes us human, in a
fun and easy way.
By making slip casting approachable and fun we are facilitating and promoting the interest and
the learning of not only this craft, but many others.
Medium:● Materials - short text field The materials and techniques used are fusion between the past and the present. Using a traditional craft, such slip casting, with innovative materials, such as parian, which is a type of porcelain that doesn’t have to be glazed and brings up beautiful innovative colors.
Second Life - Packaging — The packaging allows for stacking and gives information to the user about the fragment's provenance.
Second Life - Context
Second Life - Fragments
Second Life - Mudlarking — Fragments are found in the foreshore of the River Thames. A Mudlark is someone who scavenges in river mud for items of value, a term used especially to describe those who scavenged this way in London during the late 18th and 19th centuries. Now a days we can find, what I like to call, treasures that connect us to the past and make us travel in time.
Second Life - Packaging Inside
Second Life - Cup set
Second Life - Context
Second Life - Research — This image shows a bit of the research done during this project. Some reference projects, places I visited, and people that helped me throughout the process.
Second Life - Process — Compilation of images of the process and images of some tests. For me, it's very important to be a part of the process. This helps me understand and make better and more informed decisions when designing. This way, by making it myself I can then know what to ask for and what to expect when asking others to do it.
Second Life - Making — Illustrations representing the process of craft making each piece of Second Life.
on history; fragments colour the stone beach waiting to tell the story of the people of London.
Second life democratizes these stories giving antiques new life by transforming fragments found
on the shore into modern and affordable tableware.
Young millennials will have unprecedented access to the stories of London as Second Life uses
the historical background of each fragment to inform its fusion with a modern aesthetic. Second
Life is a tool for story-telling and conversation catering to those who are interested in the past,
but living for the present.
Second life aims to give these fragments a new life, give them a new opportunity to continue
their history. Integrating these pieces into tableware alleges to their original forms and functions,
but bringing them to our current era. Using tableware as a canvas for the fragments is a means
of giving them use and being an active part in the users’ life, as they were before, therefore the
history is well continued.
The aesthetics aim to be modern and minimalistic, using today’s trends appealing to the users
taste. The detail in the fragment gives the pieces a unique essence that embraces the old with
The material and technique used to showcase the fusion between the past and the present.
Using a new porcelain and traditional ceramic techniques to highlight the craft but being open
and updated to the advancements, reinforcing the combination and balance between the
fragment and the pieces.
Second Life aims at young independent people. These are educated and curious about the past,
which will now have available snapshots of London life. Second life reveals these untold stories
and helps them understand how London has become what it is today. Democratizing history and
opening them to the people to get involved and become more connected to the city and it’s