Ana Domínguez Siemens is a Madrid-based curator, writer, and freelance journalist. Following her degree in Art History from Madrid’s Universidad Complutense (1986), she enrolled in the “Decorative Arts of the 19th and 20th Century’s” program at Sotheby’s Art Institute in London. As a curator, she has conceived and produced exhibitions including “Fuera de Serie” at the CentroCentro Cibeles in Madrid, 2013, and the 2015 exhibition “Out of place,” a project by art curator Rosa Pera, for the Disseny Hub Barcelona during Festival FadFest. Domínguez Siemens writes regularly for international publications including ABC Cultural, La Vanguardia, Elle Decoration, Neo2, AD, Gentleman, Marie Claire Maison, Houzz, El País (El Viajero), Azure (Canada) and World of Interiors (UK). She has also written text for books and catalogues about international figures in art and design, including Gaetano Pesce, Rolf Sachs, Gunjan Gupta, Álvaro Catalán de Ocón, Michael Anastassiades, Fredrikson/Stallard, Anton Alvarez or Artur Casas.
What are the special characteristics of the contemporary design community you are a part of?
The Spanish design scene is chaotic, energetic, creative, interdisciplinary, contaminated, open-minded, fresh, Mediterranean, contradictory, versatile. Barcelona, in particular, has a long tradition of crafts and industrial design that goes back to the Art Nouveau period, when the city’s creative community had their own version of the movement, with influential figures like Antoní Gaudi. It is a city that has design in its DNA — many of the most interesting designers and architects in the Spanish design scene have been based in Barcelona, a cosmopolitan city that has always been very close to France and is open to all external influences.
Describe the overall vision that shapes your curated portfolio.
In my first Barcelona Collection for ADORNO, I tried to respect diversity and to acknowledge every designer’s very personal point of view. I valued each work for what it brings to the table; I try to not judge, and I do not try to force similarities or parallels. I appreciate works that have consistency, a daring attitude and a story to tell. I avoid the banal and superficial. And I confess to having a weakness for an emotional side in a project.
What defines your work as a curator?
I am always curious about new materials and techniques, amused by designers’ ingenuity to find simple solutions to complex problems. I am passionate about intelligent concepts, intrigued by original or innovative ways designers find beauty in unexpected places. I am not particularly interested in the extreme or precise quality of execution — instead, I believe that some ideas are better expressed roughly.
How would you describe what interests you most about design?
In my career as a design specialist, both in writing and curating, I have always felt that my background as an art historian has had an influence. I have always been interested in contemporary art and when I look at design, a lot of what I have learned from studying and looking at art no doubt has a resonance. The fact that I also have a very accurate visual memory helps me make connections between different things from various places and times. I see my role as a curator as a constant exploration of the world of design, its new ideas, and I try my best not to provide answers but to pose questions, to ignite a dialogue, to provoke thinking.