Interview with César Bejarano – “I am the Antipop; the man you cannot stop”
Founded by Mexican designer César Bejarano, Antipop is paving its own way in the design world with its unique, beautiful, functional and very pop designs.
Resident in Madrid, Spain, César Bejarano is the Mexican architect and industrial designer who founded the studio Antipop. The name Antipop was born from the fusion of the word “anti” which means against, and “pop” which stands for popular.
“It doesn’t mean we’re against popular things, Antipop means we won’t follow trends, we’ll design things that we like. I am Antipop, I will run against the grain till the day I drop.”
For César, design and art are symbiotic and he states that for him a designer is not an artist, while an artist is definitely a designer. His style is unique and can almost be described as nonexistent. He designs for each project, and it is the project itself that sets the style; perhaps you could describe it as versatile, but truly it is one of a kind.
“I am the Antipop; the man you cannot stop.”
Who is César Bejarano? How did the journey for Antipop begin?
César Bejarano: “I am from Monterrey, México, but I have been living in Madrid for the last 3.5 years. Ever since I was little I said I was going to study architecture, which I did. So design has always been an interest of mine. After graduating I started my own small architecture practice, for which I designed the workspace, where I included a vertical garden of my own design.
I fell in love with this garden and soon I developed a vertical gardening system, which I patented and started selling. I left architecture on the side and focused on my new business, but after some years I became disenchanted with running a business. I had enjoyed the part about designing a product and starting a company from scratch, but I was not enjoying the business side. So I stopped and decided to leave México.”
César Bejarano: “I had been thinking of leaving for years, and that was the perfect time. My idea was to live around the world, maybe 2 or 3 years in one place, get to know it as a local, and then go somewhere else and do it again. I wanted to start in New Zealand, with my dog Satán.
Unfortunately, there were a lot of bureaucratic hurdles to get Satán into the country, and I decided to go somewhere else. I ended up in Madrid and enrolled in a 3-month product design course to meet people with similar interests. I started designing small things like vases and candleholders by the end of 2017, and I have just recently completed my first pieces of furniture: 2 coffee tables.”
Why Antipop, why focus on product design?
César Bejarano: “I have a degree in architecture, which I love. It’s just the scale that’s not right for me. A building can take a long time to conceive and to build.
The product scale is more suitable for me. At this scale, things come to be faster, and one of my favorite feelings is seeing how something I designed comes to exist. For me, it comes down to patience, which I lack.”
Which are the main values, core concepts or style inclinations that, above all, will always represent Antipop and yourself?
César Bejarano: “I have never aligned myself with any values or anything of the sort (although I have a lot of them, mostly self-imposed). I think that defining what you believe in is very limiting. I do not want that.
Creativity thrives where there are no constraints. I will always be free to view things differently and change points of view and opinions as time goes on, and it will always reflect on the things I do.”
Antipop states it doesn’t have established processes and is not consistent in the way it designs. Can you tell us how your creations come to life?
César Bejarano: “Once again it’s about freedom. Processes are linear. Creativity isn’t. Therefore I don’t work with processes. At least not consciously, although maybe there is some common thread that ties all my work together.
Each project comes to be in different ways. Sometimes there is a concept first and an object comes later. Sometimes it’s the other way around. Other times I stumble into a design accidentally. I always take a different approach, which gives me a lot of freedom to create.”
Antipop is elegant and vulgar, is incongruent and can be very pop. What is the message Antipop wants to convey through its work?
César Bejarano: “I cannot say that I want to convey a message through my work, but by saying that Antipop is both elegant and vulgar, incongruent and can be very pop I mean that virtually anything I design under the name Antipop is valid, because it doesn’t exist under any type of constraints or definitions.”
Your recent work, the Brvtvs Coffee Table, is inspired by shapes used in the brutalist architectural movement, can you tell us how the idea of the project was born and the process behind it?
César Bejarano: “Like many other projects or ideas come to be. I was working on another project, a legless chair, but instead, a table came out. Rewarding accidents. A lot of my designs happen that way.”
You will be participating in Milan Design Week 2020, can you tell us what are you going to present and where? What expectations do you have for this experience?
César Bejarano: “I will be showing my first two pieces of furniture, the Brvtvs and the Dancing table, along with a new chair that is in production right now.
Antipop will be sharing a space with Hdden Forms (pronounced hidden forms), which is a new project I have along with my friend and cabinet maker Gabriel Canedo in which we design and produce pieces exclusively in wood.
We will be presenting Hdden Form’s first collection, together with Antipop in Isola Design District at Via Confalonieri 11. Please come visit!”