The uhpholstered furniture company Fama continues apace with its international expansion – last November, it opened a new showroom in Mexico City. The company – and its Famaliving shop concept –are already committed to expanding into the US, and now Fama has decided to open a showroom in Mexico City, hot on the heels of opening one in San Diego, California, in May 2012. Fama also opened stores in the US – in New York and New Jersey – in 2011. Famaliving in Mexico City is a highly dynamic showroom – filled with a variety of high-quality sofas made entirely in Spain – where clients can have a coffee while sitting comfortably, or indulge in a delicious tasting of gourmet food in luxurious, well-designed surroundings. Fama has 14 Famaliving shops dotted around the US, Spain, Italy, the Ukraine, Malta and now Mexico, where its high-quality, well-designed sofas and armchairs can be enjoyed to the full. Fama’s commitment to expanding abroad means it now has a presence in over 60 countries all over the world, with its main markets being in the UK, France and Japan. Based in Yecla, in Murcia, eastern Spain, Fama was founded in 1971. Its manufacturing plant, which occupies over 14,000 sq m, fabricates sofas, armchairs and beds. Here the production of all its collections – which fuse good design, technology, hand-crafting and its craftspeople’s expert skills – takes place. Fama’s commitment to international expansion is reflected in the fact that 75 per cent of its goods are exported.
The Barcelona-based studio Wanda Barcelona created an original installation called FANtastic in the centrally located, deluxe W hotel in Union Square, New York, to coincide with the city’s design fair ICFF, which 13 Spanish homeware companies took part in. The installation, on show from May 18 to 21, wowed New Yorkers who saw it, plus all visitors to the Big Apple who were visiting the hotel or happened to be passing by. The project arose when New York’s W hotel contacted the Spanish studio, inviting it to collaborate by creating an installation inspired by Spanish design. The studio dreamt up an imaginative piece influenced by that quintessentially Spanish object – the fan. Gracing the lobby and seen through a window facing Park Avenue, the installation was visible in the hotel and from the street. FANtastic was inspired by famous Spanish designs represented as paper and cardboard patterns that covered a gold, wooden base and rose to form a huge fan shape that transformed the lobby into a striking temporary installation. Wanda Barcelona is experienced in such installations: it often creates temporary, imaginary worlds based on the tradition of origami, clever plays with perspective and use of paper and cardboard presented in a broad spectrum of imaginative ways. Completing the presence of Spanish design in New York during ICFF, Spanish companies Marset and Vondom were chosen to take part in decorating two shop windows of Bergdorf Goodman department stores, which showcased cutting-edge interior design. Marset displayed its Maranga light by Christophe Mathieu and Vondom its Biophilia chair by Ross Lovegrove. Take a look at this video about FANtastic by Wanda Barcelona.
Just under one year since it opened, the London showroom of Figueras International Seating (Figueras for short) has proved to be an essential, highly valuable contributing factor to the company’s strategy of international expansion. For Figueras, the UK – specifically London – represents a market that offers huge opportunities and great potential, both in terms of the country itself and in terms of being an international centre for global architecture projects.Situated in Clerkenwell – an area of London that’s a hotbed of contemporary architecture and design – this 230 sq m showroom has already carved itself a niche in the design community. And it’s become a mandatory destination for architects and interior designers creating public spaces that require armchairs and automatic, movable seating systems.The company’s London office is currently involved in ambitious projects, such as the Scottish Hydro Arena, designed by Foster & Partners. It also has good relations with such prestigious British organisations as RIBA and the Association of British Theatre Technicians. Figueras UK is also involved in important events in its sector: in May, it will take part in Clerkenwell Design Week, during which its showroom will host the launch party of the World Architecture Festival. What’s more, RIBA has given Figueras UK official approval to teach Continuous Professional Development courses to architects. The presence of Figueras in the UK in the past two decades has led to it participating in the design of over 150 public spaces, including The Sage Gateshead in Gateshead (by Foster & Partners) and the buildings of British American Tobacco, Morgan Stanley, the National Library of Wales, Glasgow Science Centre’s Imax Cinema and the British Medical Association, among many other iconic projects. The London shop is Figueras’s eighth showroom in the world. The firm has offices and subsidiaries in many cities, including Barcelona, Madrid, Paris, Cologne, Lisbon, Miami and Singapore. Figueras is one of the most high-profile firms specialising in seating systems on the world stage. That it has provided armchairs to such places as the White House’s press room in Washington DC and Room XX at the UN in Geneva is proof of how prestigious the company is on an international scale.
Between October 5 and 8, visitors at the Spanish paviliion at the exhibition, Made Expo, in Milan, were lost in admiration on spotting a huge exhibition with softly organic contours and a ceramic finish. Called Fluidity, this was made by combining ceramic pieces by five Spanish companies: Tau Céramica, Ceracasa, Natucer, Cerámica Decorativa and Cerámica Mayor, all brought together by Valencian architect José Ramón Tramoyeres. It was built by the architects Green Geometries Laboratory (GGlab) and Paulo Flores in Manolo Garcia’s workshop for making Valencia’s traditional fallas (gigantic papier-maché figures). Accompanied by the slogan ‘Fluidity. Ceramics – a material for the city of the future’, the exhibition, which was put on by Tile of Spain, the Spanish Ceramic Tile Manufacturers’ association, wants to investigate the possibility of greater interaction between public and private spaces, between interior and exterior spaces, of rendering urban spaces more dynamic and bringing a city into closer contact with its inhabitants. Fluidity exploits the qualities of ceramics to meet just that need, creating urban surfaces with two skins: an external skin, with pieces that purify the air, and an inner one made of tubes of extruded ceramic. Each company which has supplied materials to the project has done so by focusing on the specific characteristics of one of its products. The ceramic contributed by Ceracasa – called Bionictile – actively helps to decontaminate the air, thanks to a coating which transforms nitrogen oxide into nitrates. Cerámica Decorativa provided its Soho Interiors series – pieces which have a glossy finish and are carved. Meanwhile, Cerámica Mayor chose its design Baguette, a series of 1.8m cylinders which varies how much light enters them and can be used to hide objects from view. Bamboo – a highly versatile cylindrical porcelain tube which mimics the plant it’s named after – was Natucer’s original offering. Finally, Tau Cerámica’s contribution was its collection called Lama – ceramic panels redolent of a wood finish. Report: Ceramic trends in 2011
Forma 5 has set its sights on conquering the British market, and more specifically of showcasing its products in London. Originally, this challenge was based on a desire to show its complete, professional range in a tough, competitive market. The company resolved to open its own London headquarters, serving both as a showroom to display its products and communicate the professionalism and brand image of Forma 5. The challenge was met in February 2009, when the firm opened its showroom in Clerkenwell, a London area filled with shops specialising in office furniture. Since then, the showroom has racked up a multitude of projects in collaboration with prestigious, renowned British companies. It has also become a well-known brand popular with people working in the interior design industry. Along with the companies Actiu and Dynamobel, Forma 5 is now one of three Spanish firms which has opened its own showroom in recent years. Clerkenwell is very much London’s nerve centre of architecture and design – indeed, Clerkenwell Design Week, an event celebrating both disciplines, was held there from May 24 to 26. Forma 5 is a large holding company specialising in furniture for offices and public spaces. It offers a complete service of supplying furniture with added value founded on good design and innovative technology. It has a presence in over 30 countries. Its offices in southern Spain measure over 60,000 sq m of useable space and boast a team of over 400 employees.
Dcentrale, a workshop devoted to restoration which has just been taken over by a fourth generation of restorers, has been chosen by Spanish company Frajumar as the site for its first showroom in Germany. The Spanish company’s most cutting-edge designs are displayed in this 150m sq contemporary art gallery in the area of Munderkingen, on the banks of the Danube and very near the city of Ulm. This enviable, geographically advantageous location means that Frajumar can not only bring its goods within easy reach of German design professionals but also be nearer its central European clients in Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Hungary and Poland, among other countries. As Carolina García, the company’s director of export, states, ‘Spain is very removed geographically fom the rest of central Europe which sometimes makes it difficult for clients from those countries to see our products in the flesh. The opening of Dcentrale is an important step forward in the company’s strategy to strengthen its presence in the very exacting German market and to be the firm’s fulcrum in central Europe.’ The products which stand out the most in this showroom include the Onda chaise longue and Vesu armchair, both created by Italian designer Diego Granese. Both pieces are included in the permanent collection of Munich’s Museum of Design. Frajumar, whose HQ is in the city of Yecia in Murcia, is a young company which specialises in upholstered furniture. It excels in using good design as a way of differentiating itself from other companies in every aspect. Its use of new technologies and materials, commitment to environmentally friendly design and dedication to developing a solid brand have led to leading Spanish and international institutions recognising its importance on many an occasion.