In the poignant, artisan Barcelona of the early 1970s, still under the rule of late Francoism, a fresh, provocative group of artists and architects began to sow the seeds for what after the Spanish transition to democracy by 1977 would turn out to be the multi-colour explosion of modern night time bars, highly commonplace by the early 1980s. Angel Jové was one of these urban conspirators.
The Babel lamp refers to the unfinished biblical tower where there was a confusion of tongues, victims of their ambition. However, this time the perspective is different: the entire robust body is perfectly finished, the tower is complete and shines with insolent convening power. Solely using solid or hollow alabaster was considered an affront to predominant trends at the time. Alabaster was seen as a distasteful material, without the constructive strength of marble or the translucent nobility of onyx, and it was scantly used to create the small dire kitsch sculptures that flourished as a souvenir among the early tourists. On account of the process of craftsmanship, no two units are identical; however, every single one stands as a clear illustration of an evening tête-à-tête. A spectacular and superbly striking lamp that evokes all manner of secrets, even among the most hush-hush tongues.
The career of this designer from Lleida is characterized by a liberty and variety of interests that are rare nowadays.
Jové has led the most versatile career: he has been a professor in various design schools; an awarded interior designer; the author of books such as Verbo Ser (Lumen, 1970) or the Tratado de los órdenes arquitectónicos (Tusquets, 1971); he has acted in various movies, like Bilbao (1978), Caniche (1979) and Angustia (1986) by Bigas Luna, or Pasión Lejana (1986) by Jesús Garay; he has worked as a scriptwriter and artistic director in TVE and TV3; he has also been a graphic designer and illustrator; and much more. However, his greatest interest is painting. He has shown his work in many exhibitions since 1961 until nowadays in Lleida and Barcelona, but also in Ottawa, Johannesburg and Berlin, among other cities. Ángel Jové’s work has a backdrop of mystery and nostalgia, in fact he experimented with anti-establishment art, Arte Povera, as a reaction to art marketing, as well as with photographic printing on fabric, photomomontage and environments.
This outsider got introduced into the world of design thanks to architect and designer Santiago Roqueta, to contribute with his talent in some objects, such as the Babel and the Zeleste lamps, both made of alabaster, which is a material usually considered vulgar, but that is used in this case in order to create a great richness of possibilities. Both lamps caused a major aesthetic impression at the time, an effect that has not diminished with the years.