The luxury furniture firm opens its first showroom in this cosmopolitan Chinese metropolis.In late 2015, high-end Spanish furniture firm Colección Alexandra opened its first showroom in Shanghai — the brand’s flagship store in China.The 300-m sq showroom is the perfect showcase for Colección Alexandra’s three collections, which truly epitomise it — firstly, Heritage, which encompasses all the brand’s classical styles and secondly Evolution, a classic contemporary style which in turn acts as a bridge to the company’s third, most cutting-edge style called Emotions. The shop also has a space devoted to its collection of leather accessories which strengthens the brand’s identity and reputation for good design.This is the second showroom the company has opened in China. (The first one opened in Beijing in 2012.) Colección Alexandra relies on its strategic partners in such countries as Kazakhstan and China, and the showrooms it opens are monobrand flagship stores. In 2016, it plans to open a third shop in Kazakhstan (its second in capital city Astana). In China’s case, Dore Trading, an associate of the company, has committed itself almost exclusively to stocking Colección Alexandra, and its stores are regarded as the brand’s own shops. What’s more, the Spanish company is present in multibrand stores all over the world. It’s also present in shops in Chengdu, China, Doha, Qatar; Manama, Bahrain, Hanoi, Vietnam; Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, and New Delhi, India.Colección Alexandra is a family-run business that has designed and manufactured exquisite, upscale furniture since 1994. What’s more, its products encompass furniture, textiles and lighting all in a unique, exceptional style. It’s now one of most prestigious companies in the world — renowned for its exclusive collections and handcrafted manufacturing methods — which has resulted in its products gracing many luxury homes as well as commercial projects, the most iconic being the 2014 refurbishment of the VIP lounges of London’s Heathrow Airport.
Following the opening in 2005 of its first shop in the city of Almaty, in Kazakhstan, Colección Alexandra is once again investing in this market: it recently opened its second showroom in the country’s capital, Astana, now considered one of the fastest growing cities in the world. Indeed, its ambition is to become one of central Asia’s most influential cities. The showroom in Astana is located in a shopping centre called Khan Shatyr Entertainment Center. A spectacular building designed by Foster & Partners, it’s the biggest tensile edifice in the world, and stands out for its originality, huge scale and painstakingly sustainable design. Colección Alexandra was founded in 1994 by María José Guinot, who, after 20 years working as an interior designer, set up the company with her two sons. The firm has developed a unique concept in interior design: it doesn’t limit its activity to designing furniture but offers an entire range of products: home fabrics, lighting and so on. All these pieces are highly individual and distinctive in style. Its interiors have an attractive, inviting, cosy atmosphere. Modern, eclectic and effortlessly refined spaces – be these in a small apartment in a city centre, a mansion or a fabulous palace –are all hallmarks of the company, along with its meticulous attention to detail. Thanks to its highly individual character and efficient working practices, the company has grown steadily from the time it was founded until now. Today, it exports 75 per cent of its products to over 60 countries. Some its most prestigious projects include the palace of Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al-Qasimi III in the United Arab Emirates, ambassadors’ residences and the VIP areas of several international airports.
Cosentino Chicago Center, in Illinois, situated on well-known Division Street, has a 2,400sq m warehouse and 400sq m display space. This building houses areas used for offices, a warehouse, a display space for products, as well as space used for training purposes, which offers a dynamic, ongoing staff training programme. Cosentino Chicago Center is part of the Cosentino group’s extensive, global network of showrooms. Impressively, the group, a world leader in the production and distribution of quartz surfaces, natural stone and surfaces made of recycled materials, boasts 70 Cosentino Centers (which offer complete distribution and service centres). These are based in 17 countries around the world – 43 in Europe, 22 in the US, four in Brazil, and one in Mexico and Australia. The Cosentino Centers, which provide an exclusive, high quality service, are a ground-breaking concept which allow the company to fulfill its promise of meeting its clients’ exact needs. The centres give people who work in the stone, interior design and architecture sectors the perfect opportunity to meet their clients in a personal way. All the products and brands sold by the Cosentino group are available in the Cosentino Chicago Center. These include Silestone®, the world’s leading brand in quartz surfaces which has a unique bacteriostatic property (this inhibits the multiplication of bacteria), and ECO by Cosentino®, a revolutionary surface made using 75 per cent of recycled materials. The group also supplies a huge range of marbles, quartzites and granites from all over the world, notably Cosentino’s Sensa product.
he Department of Architecture and Design at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) set out to wow the Big Apple’s public with one its latest shows – an exhibition about kitchen design, called Counter Space: Design and the Modern Kitchen. This exhibition, which opened last September and continues until May 2, charts the evolution of kitchen design in the 20th century, and picks out three key periods. The first takes in the 1920s, its main highlight being the seminal Frankfurt Kitchen, created in 1926-27 by Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky. Her famously compact design gave new-found prominence to the kitchen which, until that point, had generally been hidden from view in basements. The next phase focuses on the style of kitchen that emerged after the Second World War. In the US, this was spacious and comfortable, and boasted an abundance of frying pans, skimmers and mod-cons used for a multitude of different tasks. Finally, the show spotlights the contemporary kitchen, in which practicality is no longer the be-and-all; indeed, modern kitchen design now aims to reflect the emotional needs of the people who spend more and more of their time hanging out there. The Spanish group Cosentino – maker of innovative surfaces – and more specifically its brand Silestone (the name for quartz surfaces), was keen to sponsor this exhibition, which helps raise awareness of its brand in this sector. Via its involvement in this show, Cosentino aims to raise its profile in America, both among consumers and architecture and design professionals.
On Barcelona’s elegant boulevard, Avenida Diagonal, nestling among its swanky boutiques and showrooms and – more precisely – in a spot between the intersections of Paseo de Gracia and the Rambla Catalunya, Spanish bathroom company Cosmic has opened a new 300 sq m space to display its various ranges. The showroom’s prime aim is to become the firm’s best showcase for its wares, a place where shoppers can experience and enjoy the products at first hand. Basins, baths, showers, furniture, taps and accessories – all are displayed against a neutral backdrop in an environment intended to communicate and make crystal clear to visitors the brand’s philosophy and the concept behind all its designs. The work of architect Alejandro Armenter, the premises’ interiors were stripped back to their original structure, revealing the unadorned simplicity typical of the majority of buildings which were part of the city’s expansion in the early 20th-century – particularly in Barcelona’s Eixample area. The removal of superfluous elements means that the building’s original materials – stone, steel and brick – are now fully visible. Visitors walk along a platform made of warm-looking oak through a succession of different, carefully lit environments, all with a plain black background designed to make the products truly stand out. At the end of this trajectory, and next to a small courtyard, is the studio itself. Here visitors from the interior design trade as well as ordinary punters can get personal advice and whatever information they need. Cosmic established itself in the 80s as a maker of homeware, later becoming one of Europe’s most dynamic players in the world of cutting-edge contemporary bathroom design. The company’s wholehearted dedication to the high standards of its design has earnt it several prestigious prizes, such as the Design Plus 2207 prize for its furniture collection Block and the Delta de Plata 2007 gong for its Simplex collection, designed by Martín de Azúa and Gerard Moliné. Since 2008, Cosmic has formed a strong alliance with the company Roca – a strategy designed to make the two firms Europe’s leading manufacturers in high-end bathroom accessories and sanitaryware. Cosmic currently exports 50 per cent of its goods.