While out for dinner with a friend, Joana Bover doodled a fixture onto a napkin and shortly after, her company was born. Joana Bover founded Bover in 1996 in Barcelona. Bover not only manages a successful company but has stayed true to her vision, developing diverse and original pieces that allow us to experience light on a unique and intimate level. With her team of respected designers, Bover’s timeless lighting is shipped all around the world and continues to astonish us.
Where does your creativity come from?
Nowhere special. Creativity is something some people carry inside. In my case it is a mixture of cultural inquietudes, sensitivity for beautiful things, enthusiasm and tenacity.
What personal habits do you believe have kept you balanced and successful?
Being happy with my daily life, loving people who are with me every morning when I get to my job, sharing with them the effort and enthusiasm.
Believing in what we do guides us to success.
Are there any unforgettable lessons you’ve learned that have impacted Bover or you personally as a business owner?
Well, truth is that I have a strange ease to get over quickly those things that have hurt me.
What is the main difference for designing and marketing, between US and European customers?
I believe American citizens are more practical. To them, technical resources and time prevails to design and aesthetic.
Europeans have a debility for beauty and the value we give to time is different than in the U.S. To us, the time we dedicate to elaborate something is always a plus, the time we dedicate with our work to a company is something we value and we reward it with the value of antiquity.
Design, like art, needs time to simmer down.
Bover houses many talented designers, how do you find them and what does being “talented” mean to you?
Well, truth is that it was more difficult at the beginning because designers are looking for more established companies that would help them to promote their work. Nonetheless, once a certain level is reached everything is easier because we are feed off of one another.
To me it is essential to have feeling with them, to see life in the same color help us to understand and find each other in the abstract of ideas. Because when a product does not exist it is very difficult to visualize/imagine it with the same details and nuances.
It is important that the Designer and the Artistic Director of the company speak same language.
What three pieces of advice would you give to design students?
Like in all the artisanal professions it is important to start from scratch with a good bit of humility, to learn the essentials, and to experience what you cannot learn in the best schools: workshop realities. Those who have the opportunity to start working on a production company should strive to spend as much time as possible in the workshop; learning from those who know, tinkering, discovering the secrets of quality that distinguish a good product.
It is important to get your hands dirty and not settled on computer keys, they should be demanding of themselves.
What is the work culture like at Bover? Did it develop on its own? How do you maintain it?
In design, there is a material culture that surround us and it is formed of the physical objects we make and we give meaning to. Not losing our identity is one of our core values, we seek the balance of forms and warm light for our products.
The light nuances of our fixtures need to like us, but at the same time it is important that when the lamp is turned off, it has a beautiful design as well.
Tell us about one of your proudest moment as a designer?
Working with Benedetta Tagliabue, not only because we loved working on the Dome, but because we enjoyed doing it. We have now a nice friendship. My work has given me good friends, important people in my life and in the life of my family.
Is there any lighting designer, alive or deceased, that you’d love to have dinner with?
Arik Levy arouses my curiosity. I like his work because he never repeats himself and he always does what I would have loved to do.
What does a typical day look like for Joana Bover?
I like to have breakfast listening the radio, sitting on a step of my garden, smelling and looking how the day wakes up. I use this time to organize my duties, and then I check and start responding to my email.
I arrive at Bover between 9 and 9.30, I typically enter through the factory, I like to greet them first, and feel the warehouse, the trucks, the shipments that are piling up on the entrance...
When I arrive to my desk, I am lost into a sea of words… until 8 or 8.30pm when I am back home.
How have your children influenced your work?
Uuupps ! I would like to present this question the opposite way: How has my work influenced my daughters?
They grew up playing in Bover and probably this is why they are sensitive to art, to beauty and they know how to recognize good design. But I truly think that as women, they know the value of the individual freedom.
What would you say to female entrepreneurs struggling to make their dreams a reality in a world dominated by men?
I would tell them to use their intelligence and their intuition, intuition is a genuine female value that distinguishes us from males. We have a sixth sense that guides us on silence, it is important to take advantage of this natural sense and learn to listen ourselves in the inside. Everything else will arrive with a good bit of endeavor.