Santiago Roqueta

Barcelona, 1944-2005

Santiago Roqueta

Santiago Roqueta, PhD in Architecture, professor of Drawing and director of the ETSAB (Barcelona School of Architecture), was an industrial designer, interior designer and artist. Roqueta played a crucial role in establishing the concept of good design in Barcelona. He created the furniture editing company Snark Design, which became part of Santa & Cole at the end of the 1980s. He also designed unique clubCarles Riarts and restaurants with the aim of revitalising Barcelona. In addition, Roqueta was the driving force behind the book publishing project between Santa & Cole and ETSAB to disseminate the work of the pioneering masters of Spanish design.


Born in 1944 in Barcelona, Santiago Roqueta studied at the city's Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura (ETSAB). He soon went into industrial design, founding the first Barcelona design editing house, Snark Design, in 1969. The idea was to distribute classic pieces, publishing works by Gerrit Rietveld, Giacomo Balla and Salvador Dalí, incorporating his own designs in the years that followed. In 1972 BD Ediciones de Diseño published a design by Santiago Roqueta which signified his recognition in the world of industrial design.


In the 1970s and 1980s, Santiago Roqueta began to design bars, clubs and restaurants, contributing to Barcelona's legendary night life. Barcelona designers began to design striking spaces that sought to revitalise the society of the time, with projects such as the Posa Restaurant (1970), the Massana Restaurant (1975), Salas Zeleste (1973 and 1979) or the Snooker Club (1985 and FAD award). Roqueta then embarked on artistic projects, designing the interior of the Ciento Gallery or the offices of the production company Oviedo TV (1985-1998), for which he also made furniture, and stage designs for films and TV series. Roqueta had a close professional relationship with Gabriel Ordeig and Carles Riart. He collaborated with Ordeig on lighting design and with Riart on furniture design.


From 1973 onwards, Santiago Roqueta featured frequently in design magazines such as Mobelart, On Diseño or Hogares, spreading a new vision of industrial design interwoven with art, invention and craftsmanship; a groundbreaking ideology for the time. In addition, he contrasted his views and kept up to date on design issues by being a member of the ADI FAD board from 1976 to 1979.


Santiago Roqueta also became involved in teaching in Barcelona, where he lectured technical drawing and design at EINA University Centre for Art and Design, ELISAVA School of Design and Engineering and ETSAB from 1970 onwards. In 1981, ETSAB awarded him a PhD for his thesis on the "Pedagogy of Drawing". In 1991, he was awarded a chair at the same institution, also taking on the post of director. While at ETSAB, he reached out to Santa & Cole with the idea of co-publishing book collections to propagate the work of the masters of Spanish design. As a result, the collections ''Design Classics'' and ''Design Contemporaries'' were published under his direction until his death in January 2005. Roqueta was the author of the first title of the "Design Classics" series: the monograph "Antoni de Moragas". He also developed two master's degrees in the design subjects he always cherished, Architecture, Art and Space and Architecture and Craftsmanship, and was the director of both.


Over the course of his career, Santiago Roqueta received several awards, including the FAD award for the interior design of the Snooker Club in 1985 or the Silver Delta in the same year, for his Vallvidrera armchair in collaboration with Carles Riart. Many of his designs are exhibited around the world, from the Museum of Modern Art in New York to the National Art Museum of Catalonia.


Persistent and accommodating, Santiago Roqueta embodies the figure of the teacher, the mentor, and the promoter, leaving his indelible imprint on Spanish design.