Tonia Fuster

“At first nobody believes in you, until you prove them wrong”

“The thing that has made me persist in my goal is passion. If you don’t have a very strong, vital need that comes from the heart, you will give up at the first sign of any setback, because you have to overcome many obstacles. I like creating something from nothing because I know I can do it. A creative person needs to create, it’s like breathing: if you don’t do it, you gradually get burned out”. Welcome to the universe of Tonia Fuster (Palma, 1987), a designer and creator of lamps.

Photography: José Taltavull
Photography: José Taltavull
Photography: Germán Sáiz

Tonia Fuster took her first steps in a decadent Mallorcan possessió, or rural estate, in Son Ametller, Marratxí. “Growing up in that setting, surrounded by almond trees, sheep and countryside all around, without walls, made me the way I am: free”.

Tonia also recalls how, after enjoying all that wilderness, she would shut herself in the woodshed to make collages with anything and everything she found in the countryside: twigs, leaves, screws, the odd piece of glass... “I already liked playing with volumes and textures back then”.

Earlier, at the age of three or four, she had started practising dance. “I remember it as though it were yesterday how my mother would play vinyls of Vivaldi, Bob Dylan, Tracy Chapman at home, and I would dance like there was no tomorrow – I was covered in bruises…!”, she laughs.

Music marked her as well. “For me, music is indispensable for creating, for dreaming, for feeding the spirit. When I listen to Billie Holiday, my favourite singer, I feel that we aren’t alone. It makes me think that other people have gone through everything we are going through before us, and that if they managed to get over it, we can too. That makes me feel better”.

At one point in her life, Tonia gave up dancing and went into architecture. But after two years of study in Barcelona (“it was so noisy there”) she decided to return to Palma, where she started studying product design. “Right from the word go I knew it was for me”. They were told to make a wooden lamp for a class project, “and I liked making it with my hands so much that I created a small collection and entered it into Art Jove”. Tonia won first prize in the competition.

“When I told my mother that I wanted to make lamps for a living, she supported me, but she thought it was a whim. She helped me financially, but it made me feel a certain frustration. At first nobody believes in you, until you prove them wrong. Now I know my mother believes in me, and that brings me so much peace”.

The day she was selected to form part of the Made in Mallorca collective of creators for the second time, Tonia knew that she would indeed be able to devote herself to her dream. “I used to work as a waitress, and a decorator at Ikea and Magatzem Verd. I went to work in the morning, and created in my workshop in the afternoon. Until I realised I wasn’t happy, and gave up working”.

In the second Made In Mallorca, Tonia created her new lamp models. “I stopped doing industrial designs, which could have been made anywhere, and decided to make my lamps with ceramics”. She takes care of the entire process. 

Her lamps have names such as Ikat, Nus, Anfora, Marge, Bot, Teula and Con. “The meaning of the names of my lamps is the leap from one stage to another. The collection I produce is called Islas, and each creation is Mediterranean or Balearic-inspired”.

For Tonia, happiness is [...]


Read this article in full in IN PALMA 67. And if you like, subscribe to IN PALMA for 1 year and get the next 4 issues of the magazine delivered to your home.

Photography: José Taltavull
Photography: José Taltavull
Photography: Germán Sáiz
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