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The artisan collaborating with the biggest chefs in Spain and with Cirque du Soleil’s Adrià brothers

I found myself sitting at my office table with Albert and the artistic director of Cirque Du Soleil, creating the project’s first pieces of experimental tableware. For each custom line, we draw inspiration from the chefs who will use the pieces. We consider who the chef is, what food he will serve, and the type of environment it will be served in.

  • 7 months ago
  • August 3, 2023
5 min read
INTERVIEW SUBJECT
Jose Piñero, 51, is an interior designer, industrial designer, and artisan from Alcoy, Spain. His journey into haute cuisine dish-making began after a chance encounter with some Michelin-star chefs. Among his many projects, he currently collaborates with Cirque du Soleil’s Adrià brothers, making the dishes they use in their Heart restaurant in Ibiza.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
In what is the biggest culinary debut in Ibiza in a decade, the Adrià brothers launched a restaurant concept at Ibiza Gran Hotel called The Heart Project. It’s an experimental dining experience along the lines of Pacha’s Lio, exploring the creative relationship between food, music, and art.

ALICANTE, Spain — I am a craftsman. When you enter my house, you become immersed in a realm of unparalleled playfulness. I have a unique studio where a wondrous chandelier delights the eyes. A bookshelf on the wall contains a secret door, behind which sits a room filled with many of the incredible pieces I have created. The desk exudes the ambiance of an old library, reminiscent of an alchemist’s booth. Mahogany wooden shelves adorned with sculptures and a large vintage Magellan painting set the tone. A carved chair is the resting place for a giant lobster and a gold leaf cabinet brings an aura of enchantment.

Most importantly, though, is the magical table where I have spent countless hours collaborating with chefs. It is scattered with sketch pads, hundreds of colored pencils, and ballpoint pens. For 20 years, I have created unusual artifacts. Now, I have the privilege to serve as an artisan alongside Albert Adrià, Dabiz Muñoz, and Cirque du Soleil’s chefs on the Heart Ibiza Project. I find myself constantly inspired as, together, we become the architects of innovative ideas. This place is where I unleash my imagination.

Read more stories from Spain at Orato World News 

My artistic career began through a chance encounter

As a child, a passion for drawing consumed me. It quickly went from a hobby to an obsession. Though I had a distant relationship with my father, he influenced my artistic inclination. Art felt ingrained in the very fabric of our household. When I took a job working in my brother-in-law’s record store, I began sketching in my notebook.

One day, customers came in to buy records and saw my drawings. Intrigued, they began talking to me about my art. They left me in disbelief when they asked me to add murals and artistic touches to their establishment. From that moment forward, I spent weekends and evenings engrossed in mural painting. I fashioned a compressor from two refrigerator motors, a fire extinguisher, and a paint gun to aid in my creations.

My focus revolved around transforming spaces like pubs with murals. Soon, requests came in for three-dimensional works. Delving into thematic venue decoration, I expanded the team to include diverse professionals, and I added advanced machinery. The team grew to include painters, sculptors, blacksmiths, carpenters, graphic designers, interior designers, and molding specialists.

Requests came in from esteemed chefs around the country 

When we began designing our own crockery, they quickly became favorites. We began with drawings, then three-dimensional sculptures, and ultimately personalized creations. One day, a friend of mine specializing in the sale of high-end items to Michelin-star restaurants suggested showing our work to his clients. Curious, I asked to tag along for one of his viewings. 

During the meeting, I met Albert Adrià. I felt a rush of excitement pass through me as we shook hands. While my friend spoke, I discreetly added one of my creations in the shape of a snail to the table. Listening to their conversation, I felt anxious for him to notice my work. As he turned to leave, he noticed the colorful object I placed in view, and inspected it closer. A huge smile spread across his face, and he demanded to see more. I could barely believe it happened.

I rushed to show him more drawings, which piqued his interest. As he turned the pages, he suggested we collaborate. I stood still for a moment, shocked and amazed. A great sense of pride and excitement consumed me. We scheduled a visit at my workshop and began our journey. Today, our line of work continuously evolves, yet it remains intricate and multifaceted. We aim to keep pushing the boundaries of our craft. 

Working with the Cirque du Soleil brothers

Shortly after my work started with Albert, we began working with The Heart Project in Ibiza. I found myself sitting at my office table with Albert and the artistic director of Cirque Du Soleil, creating the project’s first pieces of experimental tableware. For each custom line, we draw inspiration from the chefs who will use the pieces. We consider who the chef is, what food he will serve, and the type of environment it will be served in.

The collaboration process takes new turns. Just as I involve the chefs in the creation of each piece, there are times they alter a recipe based on my suggestions. Together, we constantly seek the best outcomes. My job feels thrilling and complex as I bring people’s fantasies to life, blending in the culinary madness of chefs.

I owe it all to that unique snail sculpture I placed on the table and to the Adrià brothers. They lit up the path that led me to this incredible process. For nearly three decades now, I have enchanted venues with more than 50 other artisans. We have become more than designers of dinnerware; we fulfill people’s dreams and leave lasting impressions.  

All photos are courtesy Jose Piñero.

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