A Formative Partnership
In 1924, two extraordinary talents were born in Barcelona: Federico Correa and Alfonso Milá. Their friendship began as schoolmates and grew stronger at the University of Barcelona, where they both earned doctorates in architecture. In 1953, they combined their shared values and aesthetic sensibilities to establish their architectural studio. Their personal and professional lives soon became inseparable.
Embracing the Modern Movement
The duo were disciples of the Modern Movement, influenced by the teachings of José Antonio Coderch and inspired by the architectural styles of northern Italy. They developed their unique style, a fusion of these influences, along with their own innovative ideas. This became known as the Correa-Milá style, defined by its unique interventions in spaces from single-family homes to large industrial plants.
The Cadaqués Connection
Notably, their summer houses in Cadaqués exemplified a refreshing, accommodating aesthetic that later inspired many imitators. Integrated furniture played a pivotal role in these projects, adding a coherent and functional flair to their architectural designs. This approach perfectly encapsulated the notion of ‘total design,’ where architecture, interior design, and even furniture share an integrated vision.
The Barcelona Legacy
Beyond Cadaqués, other iconic projects included Barcelona’s Olympic Ring, and the interior design of legendary restaurants such as Flash Flash and Il Giardinetto. Their influence didn’t stop there; they were also actively involved in industrial design projects, including the design of factories for companies like Godó i Trias and Montesa.
The Challenges of Industrial Design
Milá and Correa described the challenges of industrial design as comparable to those of architecture, emphasizing the complexity and time-consuming nature of the design process. “The implementation process is so slow that you almost forget about it; it takes forever. Architecture has a fixed deadline, whereas design does not,” they once stated.
Collaboration with Miguel Milá
In 2003, when the pair were commissioned to refurbish the office of Barcelona mayor Pasqual Maragall, they enlisted the expertise of Miguel Milá, Alfonso’s younger brother. This collaboration resulted in the design of the Diana lamp, which became a cherished item in the collection of Santa & Cole since 1995.
Accolades and Recognition
The tandem of Correa and Milá has been recognized with several FAD awards and multiple other accolades. Their work represents not just the epitome of Barcelona design but also an enduring friendship that fueled their creative energies.
The legacy of Alfonso Milá and Federico Correa serves as a case study in how personal relationships can deeply influence professional collaborations in design. Their work is a testament to the richness that comes from merging architecture, interior design, and industrial design into a cohesive whole.
Alfonso Milá Barcelona, 1924 – 2009. (n.d.). Santa & Cole. Retrieved October 9, 2023, from https://www.santacole.com/en/biography/alfonso-mila/