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Javier Mariscal

(b. 1950)


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(1950– )

Born in Valencia, Javier Mariscal is one of the most widely recognized Spanish designers of the late 20th century, coming to international attention with his 1988 graphic creation of the dog Cobi, selected as the official mascot for the Barcelona Olympics of 1992. He also worked in many other fields, including interiors, fashion, textiles, and lighting. Having studied philosophy in Valencia from 1967 to 1970, he moved to Barcelona in 1971. Hugely inspired by the city, he has been based there ever since and is recognized as one of the city's most prominent designers.

Mariscal enrolled at the Elisava School of Design, where he studied from 1971 to 1973, during which time he launched an underground comic El rollo enmascarado, building on the experience of his first comic, Señor del Caballito, which he had published in Valencia in 1969. In 1977 Mariscal organized the Gran Hotel exposition in the Mec‐Mec Gallery, a show that comprised an installation representing an imaginary 1950s hotel with a reception, bar, lounge, bedroom, bathroom, radios, televisions, and furniture as the context for the exhibition of drawings, comics, posters, sculptures, and videos.

He also worked in several other fields of design including furniture and interiors. The latter included the Merbeyé Bar in Barcelona on which he collaborated with Fernando Amat, the owner of the Barcelona design store Vinçon. Working with Fernando Salas Mariscal also designed the Duplex de Valencia Bar (1980) for which, with Pepe Cortes, he also produced the Duplex barstool. He collaborated with the architect Alfredo Arribas in the design of the Gambrinus Restaurant in Barcelona, recognizable by the giant prawn mounted on the structure and further distinguished by the octopus identity symbol printed on the cutlery, tableware, menus, and signage. In 1981 Mariscal had been invited by Amat to put together a furniture show that was seen by Ettore Sottsass in Barcelona. This led to an invitation to participate in the first Memphis show in Milan, also in 1981, for which, with Pepe Cortes, he designed the Milan Trolley. In the late 1980s Mariscal established the Estudio Mariscal with a small design team. The practice's extensive client list has included Akaba, Alessi, Renault, Rosenthal, Seita, Smart, Swatch, and Vogue. In 1995 Mariscal won the international competition for the mascot of the Hanover 2000 Universal Exhibition. Known as Twipsy it was widely adopted for corporate publicity and merchandising and further developed by Muviscal, the audio‐visual division of Estudio Mariscal, as an animated series of 30‐minute stories. In the late 1990s Mariscal also scripted and directed a multi‐disciplinary show, Colours, a personal vision of the history of the universe related through the play of colours. In addition to working for international clients Mariscal has also taught in art schools and universities worldwide.

Subjects: Industrial and Commercial Art.


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