The Gravity design team are at the OFFF festival in Barcelona this weekend. OFFF turns 15 this year and has grown into an internation...

Gravity at OFFF15 - Day one


The Gravity design team are at the OFFF festival in Barcelona this weekend.

OFFF turns 15 this year and has grown into an international destination for creative studios, having started out as a small design festival in 2000.


One day into OFFF and there's a clear sense of optimism in the air.

It may well be the Spanish sun, or indeed the local culture which is a dramatic contrast to that of London -  being much more relaxed and creatively-driven.

But very much optimism and dare I say playful joy in the work on show.

The theme is about a coming of age. OFFF turns 15 this year and still feels personal to its founder Hector Ayuso despite its size.

Hector always was a quiet man. He takes the stage with a humble honesty, thanking us all over and over with no real acknowledgement of the task he has arranging the festival each year.

The theme of being fifteen is a literal one for the festival's various, beautifully crafted, guides and apparel. Their group of students - the Atelier - taking three fifteen year olds as their muses for the films and photos that feature throughout.

But it's a more metaphorical theme that plays out in the talks taking place.

I have always visited the festival as a kind of annual retreat that leaves me equally inspired and frustrated.

Frustrated with a deep inner need to be more prolific in my personal work and more experimental in my professional work.

Optimism is the driving force in almost all of the speakers so far.

They understand the shear joy in creativity.

And the luck of being able to do this for a living.

Day one speaker - Julien Vallee - spoke of a frustration in professional design studios of operating as if they had their foot always half on the brake. Often by pre-empting client dismissals and budget concerns.

Whereas creativity is about boundless momentum. About play and experimentation. About getting stuck in and getting it done.

And these are studios who count Sony, Kia and Samsung amongst their clients. The work is not niche and is accountable to large corporations.

Adobe offered some interested data, gleaned from its social portfolio service Behance.

They believed that successful studios had a similar model, one that had both dreamers and incrementalists. The one's who see the future and then those who create it.

The dreamers needed to be free of restraint and inhibition. They needed to be playful.

OFFF is 'Finally F*cking Fifteen' in its own words and is in every way a mature festival now - but my outtake is to balance being grown up whilst still playing like a child.

Like a fifteen year old, one might say.

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