In 2008, Raúl Durá, Ommar Uribe and Pedro Rivera founded the La Mamba studio, specialising in the design of furniture, lighting, art direction and branding. They draw on experience to understand how people interact with objects-spaces, creating new forms and sensations in the world of interior design.
In 2012, they decided to go for an extra twist, launching Omelette-ed to produce their own interior design and community products with a "closer, human, quality" approach. In 2018, they took a qualitative leap, opening a permanent showroom in Valencia featuring Omelette-ed articles, timed to coincide with the city’s furniture trade show Habitat.
We interviewed Raúl, Ommar and Pedro about the studio and design editor to find out more about their work and new projects:
Interiors from Spain: Ten years ago, six young designers created La Mamba. So congratulations on your anniversary! What’s changed about the initial studio team?
La Mamba: Thank you very much! The main change is that we’ve gone from being six designers to three. The change was a natural process, the result of family commitments and other matters.
Interiors from Spain: How has your design changed over the years?
La Mamba: Experience has made us more professional. We understand business better and we design products that are more in line with their needs. For instance, now, before we set about designing, we have a very clear idea of who our target is, the market price for our product, who our competitors are, what we need to communicate, etc. At the beginning we were more naive and just focused on the formal design exercise.
Interiors from Spain: In 2012, you created your own product editor with the Omelette-ed brand, selling your own designs. Does your work have a defining characteristic? Which products have received most acclaim and become bestsellers?
La Mamba: Perhaps what most defines our designs is simplicity and honesty. It’s taken us a while to refine our style, but now we believe we’ve reached a certain maturity, although we plan to carry on improving.
At the formal and commercial level, we have the “Mirrors” collection. These apparently simple mirrors are technically quite complex and have brought us recognition in the sector, in addition to selling very well.
Interiors from Spain: In 2017, you unveiled “Mediterranean Reflections” at the Habitat Valencia exhibition, the first home collection for Omelette-Ed, involving other designers. Who have you been working with and how was the experience? Are you going to carry on making products for other designers?
La Mamba: Yes. We started out working with two studios (Isaac Piñeiro and Iratzoki Lizaso). Their work was really interesting and we shared the same working philosophy. Our three studios work on the basis of product-defining detail. For instance, for the Terra Wood chair, we started out with the T detail underneath the seat and the connection with the chair back. The neat simplicity of the detail was what appealed to us. They’re quintessential product features. For the Lasso table, it was the rim connected to the four legs that caught our attention.
It’s been a fantastic experience. We’ve moved from offering designs ourselves to receiving them, and that’s been very enriching for the brand. We’ll definitely carry on working with other designers. It’s one of the best decisions we’ve taken at Omelette.
Interiors from Spain: And what is the philosophy the objects in the “Mediterranean Reflections” collection share? How is it doing? Are you going to be editing more new products this year?
La Mamba: When we hand in a brief to a studio, we try to get a proper dialogue going and communicate the brand philosophy. We explain that we’re not into attracting attention for no reason, but that we operate in a more laid-back way with products that have to be sustainable, timeless and simple. The products are doing very well and we’re consolidating our market. Spain accounts for about 50% of our turnover and the other 50% goes abroad, with northern Europe and France our main markets. This year, we’re going to expand some of our collections, like the TERRA stool and MUST sofa which will be coming out with new sizing, but we’re also drafting new briefs for 2019.
Interiors from Spain: Where can we get hold of the products you edit?
La Mamba: You’ll find us both in Spain and abroad, at places like Domestico Shop in Barcelona, Cosín in Valencia, Mobilia in Perth, Heals in London, Loftbar in Krakow, etc. But the easiest way is to contact us and we’ll point you to the shop nearest your location.
Interiors from Spain: Based on your own experience, what advice would you give young Spanish designers or design studios that would like to edit their own designs?
La Mamba: As with any business, first of all an editor needs a lot of enthusiasm because they are going to be working a lot of hours. Secondly, they need a sound business plan to set them on track. You need to have a very clear strategy to be able to get into a sector like interior design.
Interiors from Spain: For the last two years, La Mamba has been working as Art Directors for upholsterers “Carmenes”. Tell us about this exciting design and communication project. How did it come about? What areas are you working in and what are your plans for the future?
La Mamba: Our partnership with “Carmenes” began four years ago with the Masala sofa and a small stand at Habitat Valencia. When we teamed up, we realised we understood each other very well. After that, they suggested we take on the art direction role and that’s what we’ve been doing ever since. It’s a really nice, interesting project, because both teams have defined a very clear positioning strategy. We’ve been working with them on everything from the design of new pieces to communications and design of exhibition stands. Our joint future is looking pretty exciting because there are big growth plans afoot.
Interiors from Spain: How about other companies? Tell us about your latest designs and assignments.
La Mamba: This year, we’ve designed an outdoor chair for Coca-Cola and for Ambar brewery. We’ve taken on art direction for an Urbatek brand (Porcelanosa group) and its showroom design, a dining table for Joey (Australia), hangers and mirrors for Gir (Bosnia and Herzegovina), to name a few.
Interiors from Spain: Any new projects in the offing?
La Mamba: With Omelette, we’ve just opened a little showroom where you can see brand novelties, try out products and see finishes. It’s mainly aimed at prescribers who want to come along with their clients to try out the feel of a seat or the comfort of a sofa.
With the studio, we’re working on lighting, office furniture, outdoor furniture, upholstered furniture and new art direction projects with Spanish and international companies. You’ll be able to see it all on our website very soon.