David Vivrido and Francesco Sourigues decided to join forces when they met in London for tea over fifteen years ago. Time has passed and, moved by their recent obsession with lifestyle, interiors and objects, they started Viso. The creative directors, well-known for being the founders and editors of Hercules Universal magazine, create distinct apparel with a special modern twist, but with the delicacy of traditional techniques, since all objects are handcrafted by experts and artisans. It’s difficult to believe that such special and high-quality pieces can be this respectful with our world while keeping a reasonable price, but Viso – with all its ethics – is here to show us that it’s possible. Come discover porcelain pieces filled with Kamo-Sutra patterns and the most exquisite blankets and pillows.
Hello David and Francesco. Who are you individually? And when did you two meet?
Hi, nice meeting you and thanks for the opportunity. Simply put, we are two creative individuals from two very different backgrounds, David being born in Galicia, north of Spain, and Francesco in Rosario, Argentina. With similar values and an interest in art, photography and design, we met in London (where we were both living at the time) for tea over fifteen years ago and decided to join forces and start working together. That’s basically how over a decade ago we began to curate projects such as magazines.
Why did you decide to start Viso? And how has its journey been so far?
Perhaps it’s an age thing. Being in our thirties, we gained a new obsession with lifestyle, interiors and objects. Recently, about a year ago, we opened a concept store in Barcelona and realized how difficult it is to source certain products, especially when you expect the highest level of quality yet an approachable price point. That’s how we decided to give it a go, using traditional techniques based on craftsmanship but giving them a modern twist. So far, it has been very exciting and we’ve received a great level of interest. To give you an idea, the first capsule pretty much sold out in a month simply by word-of-mouth.
Which are the three words that characterize your brand the best?
Modern, fun and beautifully crafted.
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In which ways does each of you contribute differently to move forward the brand?
That's probably a tough question for us because we both contribute 100% to the project, meaning we develop, research and conceptualize together before we explore the possibilities of producing any of our products or collaborations. Perhaps, being based in Barcelona and in New York City gives us the possibility of reaching out a series of different artists, artisans, etc. Also, the two cities give us different kind of tools, networks, and inspiration, which are very useful for the project.
You describe your products as “highest quality at a reasonable price and season-less”. How is this key combination possible? What’s the secret in your process of creating that makes this kind of production possible?
Well, technically, it doesn’t really seem possible (laughs) – or, at least, the current system doesn't allow it to be. We have pretty much a back-to-basics approach when it comes to these things: we research small factories and artisans and convince them to make one-of-a-kind pieces with a limited production just for us. Believe me, that is not an easy task!
Perhaps, the difference is that we target crafts that may be a little forgotten or not as popular in the mainstream scene. Then, we limit how much of our resources go towards marketing and other expenses. In other words, the product should speak for itself instead of being an overly marketed/packaged product with no story behind.
Tell us about the handmade Kamo-sutra capsule collection. What inspired you to create the pattern and juxtapose it with the fragility of porcelain? For me, any of those pieces would change a room completely by giving it a pop of fun, though still in an elegant way.
This is a pretty funny story. We wanted to work around the idea of your grandmother's China but giving it a twist, so we started creating different prints and patterns and trying things out. Then, we approached a 19th-century porcelain manufacturer from the north of Spain – Sargadelos – and proposed them a collaboration. How could we use some of their iconic pieces with a contemporary approach like our Kamo-Sutra pattern? The rest is history! For sure, it was a shock to them when they first saw our creative proposal, but later they confessed it was the most talked about piece in the factory.
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What about your mohair blankets and pillows? What distinguishes them from the other ones in the market?
All the pieces we make in mohair are really a gem. The process is totally by hand, a tradition of over hundreds of years, and the end result is a blanket and pillows you can keep for the decades to come. We used the same factory that Loewe and Céline use for their blankets. Once again, our main approach is the price point, so our products are the same quality as theirs but consciously priced and, of course, designed by us. Now, for spring, we’ve just launched a capsule on cotton tapestry that feels cool and dry for warmer days. They’re woven into really fun patterns and they’re very resistant, perfect for outdoors or even for hanging on the walls. 
If “for Viso, lifestyle is everything”, how do your products improve people’s quality of life? When designing, do you think about the objects within a specific context?
After years of working in fashion, we kind of noticed how much we take for granted the elements of our surroundings, being your office, home, or even something as simple as a picnic or beach blanket, which often can be generic compared to the investment we do on fashion items. Our aim is to grab all those day-to-day elements and give them a twist: at the end of the day, think how much time you spend in your house! We think of each category or capsule as one-of-a-kind, basically researching what is the best way to create a product that is sustainable. Then, we find a way of giving it a twist and making it more contemporary to nowadays world. Even though each item is really created on its own, we also like to gradually create a world of Viso, in a way that everything fits in some crazy way.
What’s the public you have in mind when designing?
We really feel our products could appeal to all ages, but definitely to those with a fun attitude towards life. If we had to be more specific, perhaps all those people in their thirties, or just approaching that age, who start gaining interest in lifestyle but don’t have a contemporary product that represents them. Or those who aren’t able to afford Hermès but appreciate the value of special pieces that are not massively produced.
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Do you think that conscious design is growing in the practice? I find each day more and more brands that opt for using sustainable materials. Do you have a positive view for the future of this theme?
Absolutely! We have to be more conscious of what we do every day. Having products that are long, lasting, good quality, and sustainable definitely makes a difference as well as being conscious of pricing. The world is already too cluttered right now, so instead of buying something disposable, it’s probably better to go for something that we can cherish for years to come; kind of what our grandparents used to do, but without the feeling that you need to ask your bank for a lone.
What is for you an ethical design practice?
All our products are made either in Europe or in the United States, so we can control if the labour involved is qualified and regulated. Also, this way we know what the policies on waste and pollution are and where every material comes from. Then, on the other hand, most of our products are handcrafted or hand-finished, which also changes a lot the process. For example, producing small batches allows us to control every single part of the chain. We are also working on capsules of vegan products where no animals are involved.
How can artisans and machines coexist nowadays? And in what ways do you contribute to keep traditional craftsmanship techniques alive?
We really have to find a way of keeping craftsmanship alive in a way that is part of our legacy in the future. Machines can sure be great on a lot of different fields and surely there are certain finishings or products that can only be made or achieved by machines, but we have to embrace the delicacy of products done by hand. And as they say, God is in the details!
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