It is a fact that pilots do not compete with open faces. His face is a helmet at 300 kmph and analyzing them in detail, they are all advertising platforms, but only a few are works of art. There is a 17-minute documentary on the internet called ‘Helmets’, in which Spanish motorcyclist Marc Marquez, who already has eight world titles to his credit, describes his professional life through his helmet. All those shows come from Extremadura.
With each design, Marquez reveals his concerns of the moment, his state of mind or his intentions. First Barcelona remembers the Montmelo Grand Prix, then the important allegory of the ant, the number 93 as a talisman, a maze, representing the home run … The man who captured these stories on the irregular surface of his helmet He does it from a small garage on the outskirts of Badajoz. “It’s something handmade, nothing industrial. In fact, my company is in the graphic arts section because nothing is mass-produced here, everything is unique”, explains David Mata, 40 years old. about, while orders from circuits around the world multiply.
He sees them from the neighborhood of Llera. There are two major positions that look like secret mousetraps but are full of talent and commitment. There’s a small workshop that smells of solvent, where they try to spruce up Carlos Sainz, Pol Esparguero, trials rider 32-time world champion Tony Boo or the Márquez brothers, Alex and Marc, to name a few, those who They try to decorate it with fifteen professional pilots serving on their heads. Another is a design office with an administrator (Paki) and four young people who, using Photoshop and Illustrator, create Trends Sprout, an aesthetic envisioned in Badajoz by applying a mass of boxes and Eliminates the starting grid of each Grand Prix.
David Mata, from Badajoz, founded the Dave Designs brand on his own and now has a staff of 15 people who deliver about 350 unattended helmets a year by courier. But this is just the spearhead of a business that is growing rapidly and for which the first orders have just arrived to adorn headphones for ‘streamers’, video game professionals, controllers of bicycles or electric skateboards.
However, the motor world is his main playground. «We do the whole service around the image of the pilot. There are contributions or suggestions from the needs of clients and sponsors. Our task is to visually work this puzzle between brand and aesthetics so that the team is attractive”, he summarizes at the time of year of maximum intensity, when the motor season is about to start and tests and presentations take place. The media focus on each novelty and it is enough for one design that it begins to be mass-produced on an assembly line and generates millions of euros. Many of the designs of this man from Extremadura are used by the main helmet brands, such as Shui or AGV, among others.
“Our job is to make the puzzle between brand and aesthetics work and the whole team is engaging”
To summarize the background of this designer from Badajoz and understand the present, Mata started in art with graffiti, where he already signed as ‘Dave’, he loved bikes, he studied art and He studied graphic design, worked on what was coming out, and now he says everything contributed to that, “from diptychs to bar menus” until, suddenly, his career rocketed. It was then, through BMX, that Red Bull Spain noticed him ten years ago and hired him to customize the helmets of some of the figures it sponsored.
David Mata, 39, with one of his creations. ,
It should not be overlooked that this brand gives the helmet a special symbolism. When signing each athlete, the ritual is the delivery of a helmet with its distinctive blue and its bull, a sort of crown or consecration that gives them access to the world elite of action sports. Those helmets are so iconic because they represent lush contracts, painted in Badajoz. The climber Alberto Gines, the world champion cyclist, the most radical in the network and the popular skier or paraglider are some of its recipients.
Mata came to Marc Marquez’s squad through a design competition in 2015 and the most popular driver on the grid, ten years his junior, found this Extremaduran with clear ideas, organized and whose head is a washing machine that doesn’t stop when Till he gives with the tone, the texture… The perfect idea, the one he transmits, the effect he makes.
«There are many graffiti writers behind a clothing collection or a vehicle design»
After explaining the manufacturing process in detail, he shows the range of colors he makes in his workshop and confesses some of his passions. “I see a car and I know what part is painted on it, I can’t help it”. He also explains that he doesn’t enroll in courses because the keys to his business surround him on a daily basis. «On a creative level it never stops, walking down the street and seeing an advertisement at a bus stop already gives you, like when you go to buy a T-shirt (…) you find yourself thinking about colors or shapes Let’s orient from. People don’t know this, but a large part of today’s creative world is made up of people who were street painting twenty years ago. Many graffiti writers are behind many collections of clothing, shoes or vehicle designs. In my case it was a way to become a designer».
David Mata is aware of only one limitation, his role as boss or businessman, which he neither dominates nor is much interested in. But while he doesn’t shy away from talking about what he knows is what’s in fashion today: “More than just following trends, we try to mark it down in a market, that of design, that of sharks.” is full.”
What he does know is that his sector moves millions of euros, dollars or yuan around the world. And more than going according to their intuition, when sports like skateboarding or BMX, which are already Olympic, spread to regions like Asia and helmet use is imposed, a protection that is usually not neutral. «A shell of helmets worth 10,000 euros comes to me and I don’t care, as if you send me a stone. For me it is a circle that I have to decorate.
Dave is working in the Design Painters Workshop. ,
Davide Mata is currently handling fifteen lead drivers’ commands at the electric 4×4 Acciona Sainz XE team, including Márquez, his brothers Alex and Carlos Sainz and his teammate Leia Sanz. He says trying to set a trend is risky, but there are two ways to measure success: social networks and sales assuming that a design leads to creating a business line.
«Marquez and Sainz give you the opportunity to achieve your full potential and the helmet we made for Monza for the 75th anniversary of Ferrari (for Carlos Sainz Jr.) was a milestone and another medal. There are many with Mark, for example we did for Austin in 2019 with the wood texture. His contribution has been in simplifying the concepts according to the perspective. “We came from a baroque style with lots of colors and a fear of white and now our line has become very simple,” explains David Mata. The quality of life it provides you.
He believes that the Internet has allowed a globalization that allows him to do things the way he likes. For the time being, the only limitation is that with such demand, two garages in his neighborhood have become too small for him, a solution that he will continue to present his designs to the world in the coming months without leaving his city. Will keep
A young, diverse and self-educating workforce
David Mata started out on his own eight years ago and today his company, Dave Designs, employs a staff of 12 people who are half ‘practiced’ by him, half self-taught as decorators. Helmet-based discipline cannot be learned in a manual or owner. Almost everyone rides a motorcycle. Their team is between 21 and 42 years old and comes from various fields, both from the teaching profession and from design schools, be it universities, training courses or the Reino Aftasí de Badajoz Institute, which teaches artistic graduates. Chema Garcia, the youngest, is the only non-Extremaduran. He comes from Granada. «I liked the engine and graphic design and told myself there must be a job for it, so I offered myself for an internship.’ His final year project surprised his boss. Now he leads the creation of designs for the helmets of four-wheeler pilots, who are world figures.