José Antonio Gandía
Gandía Blasco is a company associated with glamorous outdoor living. Yet before being known for this, it had a long history of making blankets and bedspreads. It was set up in Valencia in 1941 as a manufacturer of these by José Gandía Blasco, father of José Antonio Gandía, its current president. But by the mid-80s, the demand for bedspreads was dropping. So the company changed direction, moving into rug design and manufacture, then into furniture – outdoor furniture in particular. It normally presents its contemporary outdoor furniture accompanied by beautiful young people living serenely in luxurious seaside villas.
We interviewed José Antonio Gandía, the firm’s current owner who has successfully reorientated the family business’s approach in order to transform it into an internationally renowned company in its sector. A willingness to experiment and innovate with materials and forms has transformed the ideas of this self-confessed lover of Mediterranean culture into an entire brand and lifestyle now familiar to people all over the world.
Interiors From Spain: Gandía Blasco is a huge success in the world of outdoor furniture. What are its main hallmarks and what characteristics distinguish it from other companies?
José Antonio Gandía (Gandía Blasco): Distinguishing hallmarks include its use of natural aluminium frames and polyethylene – and a lot of white. We also use imagery with the sea as a backdrop but our furniture is being copied more and more so our style needs to evolve. Another characteristic of Gandía Blasco’s is that our products and collections have a cohererent style.
IFS: Why does your company, which is devoted to design, have a cat in its logo?
JAG (Gandía Blasco): The cat was chosen for the logo in 1989, and represented the new stage the company was going through as it began to manufacture contemporary rugs, before expanding its range with furniture. The logo is elegant and it gives us a modern, characterful image. It’s also very memorable and that’s very important with logos.
IFS: Your company is very interested in foreign markets. What advantages do your showrooms in cities like Milan and New York bring to the business?
JAG (Gandía Blasco): Being in New York and Milan signifies you’re at the top of the game. In my view New York is the world’s foremost capital city, Milan the world’s capital of design. We just need to open shops now in Paris and London, among other cities.
IFS: How complicated and enriching is the involvement of high-profile Spanish and foreign designers in the company’s creative processes.
JAG (Gandía Blasco): It’s not at all complicated to be involved with foreign designers – no more so than with Spanish designers. It’s very enriching and allows our products to embrace different perspectives on design. We’ve always aspired to have international connections, including when it comes to collaborating with international designers.
IFS: How do you see the future of the company? What new projects and challenges lie ahead for Gandía Blasco?
JAG (Gandía Blasco): We’re excited by the idea of creating a complete range of outdoor products. We’re currently preparing a catalogue just devoted to pergolas which is going to be amazing and which will fill a gap in the market. We are also involved in a fantastic project called Resort Gandía Blasco which we’ll get off the ground as soon we’re able to.
Gandía Blasco has always sought to enrich the variety and style of its products with the diverse visual languages of the designers working with the company. All these designers are professionals and indisputably prestigious on a national and international level. These include Jean-Marie Massaud, Patricia Urquiola, Marie Mees, Marisa Gallén, Sandra Figuerola, Ramón Esteve, Odosdesign, Francesc Rifé, and José Antonio Gandía himself, as the company’s creative manager.
The firm has two product lines: outdoor furniture, distributed through the brand Gandía Blasco, and textiles (carpets and duvet covers), sold under the newly created brand GAN. Of course, it isn’t short of outdoor furniture – the mainstay of the company – boasting as it does over 15 collections.
All these factors help consolidate the company’s expansion strategy and make it stand out as a worldwide leader in outdoor furniture. The brand currently has a presence in 74 countries throughout the world.