Antoni Arola, winner of the 2003 National Design Award, is a distinguished figure of Spain’s current design scene. His versatile work ranges from creating a perfume flacon or a lamp to interior designs of important present-day venues. Arola's evocative approach towards life and space give him an enduring place at Santa & Cole.
Born in Tarragona in 1960, Antoni Arola studied design at EINA school in Barcelona, graduating in 1984. He went on to work at several prestigious studios, including Lievore & Pensi and Associate Designers (AD), a leading technological design factory of the time, headed by Ramón Bigas and Pep Sant. In 1994, he founded his own lighting studio, Estudi Arola, and began to lay the foundations for his design work, with a rather artisan than industrial feel. That same year, he designed his first collection of lamps. Three years later he created the Nimba lamp for Santa & Cole. The Nimba was a technologically innovative luminous halo, which gave him international acclaim and his first Delta award from Spain's FAD Association of Industrial Design (ADI-FAD). Antoni Arola helped drive the commercial popularity of Spanish lighting, earning a name for himself well into the 1990s. This moment became a landmark in Arola’s career since he began to receive commissions for interior design projects.
In the decades that followed, Antoni Arola also experimented with smaller objects such as perfume flacons, thus expanding his repertoire of designs. Some of his best-known, award-winning works include the interior design project for the Mos gastronomic shop (named the "Best Shop in the World" by Barcelona City Council in 1999), the packaging for Armand Basi fragrance and the interior design for the Cacao Sampaka chocolate shop (2000). In the field of lighting, notable accomplishments were the Ishi-Doro lamp series (1999 Delta Award from ADI-FAD), the Pallucco lamp (2000) and two designs for Santa & Cole: the Flúor System (2001) and the Moaré lamp series (2003).
Since receiving the National Design Award in 2003, Antoni Arola entered his creative plenitude, manifested in his work for Santa & Cole. This includes the Cirio (2010) and its family, BlancoWhite (2011) or Lámina (2018, ADI-FAD Delta Silver Award). We consider him a light magician as his technique extends to mastering what the naked eye cannot see, such as temperature or tone through truly ingenious creations. According to Arola: "The designer is merely a catalyst, a mediator, a filter. It's all in the air. You just have to materialise it, transforming ideas into objects that will improve the quality of life for everyone."
Antoni Arola's ephemeral installations are part of his work as a lighting expert. In the spring of 2007, Arola celebrated his studio's 10th anniversary with an audiovisual installation at the Sala Vinçon in Barcelona. To accompany the exhibition, he put together "Ten Light Years", a book published by Santa & Cole in which he explains the details of each of his creations until that time.
Historian and poet, Antoni Arola masters poetry at its purest from in a language few speak: the language of light.