5/20/13 - 5/23/13
Dubai (United Arab Emirates)
6/20/13 - 6/22/13
Denver (United States of America)
9/10/13 - 9/12/13
9/11/13 - 9/15/13
Gerard Sanmarti, who was born in Barcelona in 1974, and Gabriele Schiavon (born in Padua, Italy in 1973) met while working at Benetton’s communications research centre, called Fabrica.
It was while they were on a Pacific island in the summer of 2001 that they had the idea of setting up their own studio and take a gamble on establishing themselves in the world of design. And so was their Barcelona-based studio Lagranja born. Here the mix of Italian and Spanish culture is all too apparent in the Mediterranean spirit of their creations.
The monicker Lagranja springs from the name of the street where their first studio was located in the Barcelona area of Gracia. Today, El Estudio Lagranja Design for Companies and Friends, to give the company its full name, has eight professional staff who are all under 35. Together they make the studio truly exceptional. They are a team with no traditional hierarchy who share an enthusiasm for creativity and know how to have fun too. They collaborate with some of the world’s most prestigious companies and undertake international projects which range from the commercial (shops, clubs, restaurants) to the domestic (private residences) and to temporary architecture like exhibition stands which can be easily dismantled.
It’s overriding style is a sassy, positive attitude and energy that their projects exude: optimistic, brimming with vitality and hyper-conscious of satisfying human needs. Its work is based on creating very simple, heartfelt designs. In spite of its projects’ very sleek aesthetic, Lagranja don’t consider themselves minimalists: ‘Our work is about being human, spontaneous, even if formally it looks sleek – the two are not contradictory,’ they say.
They describe their own work as ‘Logical fantasy’. Their projects aim to fuse beauty and functionality, be aesthetically pleasing but also practical, a balance which can only be achieved when there’s a perfect equilibrium between risk-taking and innovation on the one hand and professionalism and knowledge and experience of their craft on the other.
Among its better-known projects is its Key design for parking bicycles, created in 2008 – a circular structure that allows its users to chain both wheels of their bikes to it. This was produced by Santa & Cole and in the same year received a Red Dot prize in the Best of the Best category. Another notable product is its Uta lampo of 2005, manufactured by Italian company Foscarini. They have also designed the exhibition in the renovated exhibition space Espai Gaudí in architect Gaudí’s famous building Casa Milá (
This versatile company’s output also includes lighting. The lamps which stand out the most include Infiore, Zoo and Mamba, designs for Spanish manufacturers Inlight, Marset and Metalarte respectively. Infiore, of 2008, is at once an honest, relaxed-looking and charming design inspired by the desire to create a large object using small modules: its petals diffuse and reflect light, casting unexpected chromatic effects around it. Zoo, created in the same year, is a rotating, wall-hung, LED light fitting made out of transparent polycarbonate that gives it a modern, understated look. Finally, Mamba, another design from 2008, is an elegant reading light with a metallic shade and flex which allows it to be pointed in countless directions.
As for Lagranja’s furniture, its most outstanding pieces are its Zip chair designed for Uno Design and Ring chair for the company Gebrüder Thonnet Viena, which is part of the group Poltrona Frau; both designs were shown at the Milan Furniture Fair last year. Zip, of 2008, can be compared to a pair of comfy shoes – literally. Indeed its back has small cuts in it around which are wrapped elastic bands which resemble shoe laces. The chair is versatile – it’s available as a stool and chair – lightweight, informal and extremely comfortable. The Ring chair of 2008 is a seat with a lot of character. Originally conceived for conference halls, it’s equally suitable for domestic use.
On the interior design front, one of its latest projects was its Oasis Ceramico installation (2008) – a commission from the Asociación Española de Fabricantes de Azulejos y Pavimentos Cerámicos- Ascer (Spanish Association of Manufacturers of Ceramic Tiles and Paving) which explores the issue of sustainability.
Lagranja has a whole raft of projects in the pipeline this year: in terms of interior design, it’s working on the new image of the shops of Solobaño which are part of the Spanish bathroom company Roca, as well as exhibition stands and residential projects for houses and the renovation of a cultural centre in Barcelona, to name a few.
In addition, Lagranja is developing new designs for Pallucco (in Italy), Santa & Cole (Spain) and a new upholstered version of the Zip chair for Uno Design (also Spain). It will also unveil several new pieces of furniture for Emmebi (Italy) and Make-it (Portugal).