Roberto’s mother lived in London in the early 1970s (not many people know that Roberto, Britain’s best known young Spanish designer, was actually born in London). These were hard times for the young Spanish mother and very cold too. Electricity was supplied by LEB and payment was commonly made by feeding the meter with coins. You were freezing – you stuck a coin in the slot to make the heater go on burning. Every time the LEB people came to empty his mum’s meter, they found very little in it to reconcile with the cold winter. “We know you’re fiddling!” they said. “But we have no idea how.” Roberto’s mum fought freezing with freezing.
In her freezer she manufactured ice coins in moulds she made, frozen clones of the real coins, to feed the meter with. A short time after doing its job, convincing the electricity to go on for a bit longer, the ice coin melted and eventually evaporated leaving no trace.
Roberto, an industrial designer, is also designing and manufacturing pretty cool things. Ingenuity, it seems, runs in the family.