Since 1994, Arturo Álvarez has designed and produced decorative handmade lighting in a contemporary style. The natural surroundings of its factory, near the city of Santiago de Compostela in northeastern Spain, are its main inspiration, and are reflected in the forms, textures and materials of its lighting.
Its slogan, ‘Handmade in emotional light’, perfectly sums up the way the company works and its values. Each light is hand-made, a unique object, manufactured using techniques often inspired by local hand-crafting traditions. Each piece strives to promote the wellbeing of people, linked to a sensual enjoyment of the object offered by its high quality finish, careful attention to detail and the premise of offering lighting with a strong character.
The company’s highly original creations are steeped in inspiration from the rural setting of the factory, which is covered in ivy and enveloped by trees, flowers and animals from the area’s lush forest. The tranquillity, light and sounds of this magical natural spot all influence the firm’s collections. Indeed the hand-moulded curves of its Nevo lamps evoke natural forms — the wind, clouds, flowers… Other examples of this are the Blum and Caos lamps, which represent the chaotic yet harmonious order of nature, the organic forms of the Coral lamp and the Tempo collection conjures up the proximity of the sea — a reflection on the rhythm of life.
Essential to understanding the company’s successful creative approach is the stamp its director Arturo Álvarez puts on it. Curiosity informs his work the most and its through his exploration and decontextualisation of everyday materials that he has succeeded in captivating us with new, surprising uses for objects. His quest for innovation and research into new materials led him to develop SIMETECH®, an innovative, highly malleable material, which in 2014 won the Best of Year award given by the magazine Interior Design as being the best idea for lighting. What’s more, the brand’s collections have involved collaborating with such freelance designers as Héctor Serrano, who created the Ballet collection, El Último Grito, Martín Azúa and Bertjan Pot.
Exhibitions at art galleries and museums in London, New York, Barcelona and Tokyo have included its designs, which also grace hotels and restaurants in Europe and the US, such as bakery-cum-café Nussbaumer in Zug, Switzerland, the Hilton hotel in Philadelphia, Hotel Les Bains d’Aurgin in France and Hotel Visp in Visperhof, Switzerland, design studios such as Voxelz Studio near Antwerp in Belgium and sets in films, including The Gunman, a thriller starring Sean Penn, Idris Elba and Javier Bardem.
The company exports 80 per cent of it annual turnover of goods. Its most important markets for its hand-made products include the US, UK, Germany, France, Switzerland, Canada, Russia and South Korea. Its main aims are to continue growing in the high-end commercial and residential sectors in the US — where the firm has a physical presence in the form of its own subsidiary — and to raise its proflie in the Middle East.