Sancal is a family-owned company founded in 1973 by Santiago Castaño that manufactures and markets upholstered seating and tables with contemporary designs that will last a lifetime thanks to their quality and personality. In 2018, it also launched a new line of home accessories called "COSAS."
Sancal has always been a pioneer in its sector. In the early 1970s, its president Santiago Castaño recognized that there was a need in the Spanish market for a new type of upholstered furniture that should be easy to manufacture and flexible enough to fit into any type of home. Therefore, the company, with Santiago as the sole designer, became specialized in modular upholstered furniture by using an ingenious set of independent modules that allow for an infinite number of designs.
The 90's was a key decade for the brand, because that’s when it opened up to external collaborations with industrial and interior designers such as Miguel Milá or Gemma Bernal. As the company began to open up, it also took the leap into exporting.
In the first decade of the new century, the second generation of designers breathed new life into the company when they became involved in its creative direction. With Esther and Elena Castaño in charge of the artistic direction, the way in which designs were interpreted changed, and they became more emotional, hedonistic and extroverted. Esther and Elena lead "Estudio Sancal", a small creative atelier that has become a multidisciplinary hub where graphic, product and interior design projects come to life. They control the entire design process from the briefing and selection of collaborators to production and following marketing strategy.
Design as a Sancal brand value
For Sancal, design should always be a source of: Innovation, to develop new concepts and improve existing products; Simplicity, to make our lives easier; Beauty, to enjoy every atmosphere; and Sustainability, to produce high quality pieces that stand the test of time.
Designers and design studios collaborate with the firm on its collections thereby enriching it with different messages inspired by their world perspective, their language and their personality. Collaborators include international designers such as the Pritzker Prize winner Karim Rashid, Toyo-Ito, Sebastian Herkner, Luca Nichetto, Sylvain Willenz and Note Design Studio, and Spanish designers with international renown such as Mut Design, Yonoh or Estudihac, just to mention some of the most notable.
The company's slogan "Smile, break the mold and be happy" is a call to action to improve: humor as the key to a job well done and to break away from the norm because it’s possible to design a happier world.
Sancal enjoys its highly consolidated position in the international market, representing 71% of 2020 sales. Its products can be found in more than 90 countries, mainly in Europe and North America where there is a culture of designer furniture. Asia, and especially China, is an area where they expect to see the most growth in the coming years with an appreciation for the quality and style of European products.
Collections associated with "concepts"
Sancal has a unique way of presenting its collections by associating them with a concept: Museo, Turati, Jungla, Enigma or Majestic, among others.
As explained by the company: "We are interested in communication through design. Each year we design a concept and a stage far removed from any current trends for the annual presentation of the collection. A theme that gives us the freedom to unleash our imagination and inspire other interior designers. This always poses a challenge: there is a great deal of expectation surrounding these presentations, and they require lots of hard work and commitment from the entire team. Every detail is important and must be nurtured in order to create a full experience. This way of presenting the collections has always reached its full crescendo at the Milan fair, where visitors can enter and experience this universe we created to present our new collections."
"With "Turati" for example, we recreated a Milan subway station, with "Futura" we made a retro-futuristic journey, with "Enigma" we created a horror movie experience, and with "Jungla" we took a walk on the wild side...The last collection we presented in 2020 was called "Museo", because it makes a nod to the world of art by presenting the products as if they were works of art, in addition to the fact that we used it to launch our first illustration exhibit."
"Due to fair cancellations caused by COVID-19, Estudio Sancal has also been working on different digital presentations by creating graphic and audiovisual materials as a way to present the collection’s general concept or theme, backed by carefully-crafted staging that doesn't overshadow the products. This way, products are presented with different variants and finish options to showcase the many alternatives offered by the same design. The videos show the products from all angles with 360º shots and also use models to contextualize the products in their proportions and demonstrate how they can be used."
The Sancal universe in projects around the world.
Well-known companies have chosen the brand's products for their facilities. The company noted that "we are proud to know that our products contribute to the well-being of many people at different times of their lives, whether during the workday, a trip, a culinary experience or sitting peacefully at home."
The company's projects can be found on its website. One of its most notable recent projects is the iconic Dynamic Yields offices in Tel Aviv, Israel.
In October 2019, the firm opened its online shop for Spain and broadened its horizons to include the European Union and United Kingdom in June 2020. "Currently, our primary market is Spain, but we’re seeing a gradual increase in sales from other European Union countries." According to company sources.
They added that "our Shop only sells our accessories line that represent the lifestyle of the brand, which we call COSAS because each product in it has a unique and diverse quality. For Sancal, creativity is expressed through design, but also through humor and art, and this line brings together the fun and eclectic side of Sancal. This product line includes cushions and blankets, which are natural complements for sofas, but also other products ranging from textile vases, stationery, decorative woof objects or practical backpacks. And we recently presented a collection of posters with illustrations by artists such as Mar Hernández (Malota), Ana Galvañ, Carla Fuentes, Clara-Iris Ramos and Elekna (Elena Castaño).
Expanding facilities in Yecla (Murcia) in 2019
In September 2019, the company participated in the Habitat fair in Valencia where it presented the expansion of its facilities – a response to its unstoppable growth and a way to provide an outlet for its production needs. The company also took advantage of this opportunity to expand its offices and open a showroom with more than 700 m2 where its products are on display. The Yecla facility has a total surface area of 19,000 m2.
Sancal also currently has two exhibition spaces: a showroom called "La Fábrica," located at its headquarters, and "El Garaje" in Madrid (75 m2), named after the unique building where it is located."
The company is optimistic about the future: "We are a family company committed to quality and design that respond to challenges, so Sancal is more than capable of proposing innovative products."
For them, "COVID-19 is accelerating trends where the old lines that once divided home, work and free time are becoming increasingly blurred. Our mission –to humanize atmospheres and create contemporary spaces with a social commitment to well-being– puts us in an idea position to provide consumer motivators with the products they need to adapt interiors to these new uses." If there is one thing the pandemic has taught us, it is to appreciate the value of what we have around us. This has also made us take an introspective at ourselves as a company and a fresh look at the meaning behind our broad product portfolio."
As for projects in 2021, they told us that "we have some things lined up for both home and public spaces, but our main objective is a new general catalog that we’ll be launching in 2022." "However, the new normal has sent our events schedule, where products can be showcased live in a tangible environment, down the drain. So, new products will progressively see the light of day virtually, when we feel it's a good time, without necessarily having to stick to traditional schedules."