Expormim, founded in 1960 by Miguel Laso Tortosa under the name 'La exportadora de Mimbre', has received the greatest accolade possible in the Spanish design world - the 2021 National Design Award. After more than 60 years on the market, the company has been distinguished due to its track record based on the fusion of rattan craftsmanship, and a passion that has been passed down from generation to generation, creating unique, exclusive pieces of furniture.
Passion for craftsmanship as a brand value
Thanks to a perfect combination of craftsmanship and passion, Expormim has reached a point at which the company has achieved a differential market position, with distinctive items of furniture that all bear the ‘stamp’ of company identity. This is because there has always been a commitment to craftsmanship, one that has been passed on from generation to generation; three generations have already been at the helm. First came the creative, entrepreneurial founder, followed by his son with his huge enthusiasm for research and innovation, and finally his grandchildren, with their firm commitment to the future and a strong desire to modernize, who are currently heading up the company.
After long years dedicated to this noble craft, skill and know-how is one of the biggest secrets, and the result is simple, honest, understandable designs, and unique, exclusive pieces of furniture. All this is thanks to a form of craftsmanship that is unique, one that respects traditions and materials, and has strong roots in a land and in a culture; a craftsmanship that makes it very clear what these are, where they have come from, and where they are headed. As Mercedes Laso, the firm’s CEO points out, “Expormim’s primary mission is to transmit this passion for craftsmanship to future generations. It’s important they know how things are made firsthand. We must be sure to communicate and defend the value of tradition, and a love of craftsmanship.”
Sustainable, adaptable, functional design
Design at Expormim is based on sustainability and a responsible attitude towards the environment, but above all the aim is to make life easier, more comfortable, and more beautiful. For this reason Expormim has been diversifying production, and now has two completely different catalogs.
First there is the Indoor catalog which contains those objects manufactured using raw materials (rattan, oak, PEFC timber, etc.) while the Outdoor, which reflects its commitment to research and development, includes a broad range of products designed to adapt perfectly to outdoor use. We thus find exceptional materials that can withstand rough weather and a harsh climate, but this does not mean that the commitment to sustainability and environmental protection has been lost. This is why aluminum containing a high percentage of recycled material, and textiles that comply with the criteria established by Greenguard, OEKO TEX and Reach, are used. In this way, although these two catalogs may seem to be a long way apart, both share the same standards, and very clearly also the Expormim DNA, in terms of their values and ethical stance.
Furthermore, Mercedes Laso says that over the years, “we have come to realize that design alone resolves nothing.” Design for its own sake is superfluous and superficial, it’s all about appearances and only runs skin deep, which is why Expormim focuses on real usefulness, on functionality and the ability to influence society. And above all on the need for a dialog between the designer and the industry to squeeze out every last drop of its potential. Together with sustainability and craftsmanship, another of Expormim’s values is functionality, the idea of a design that is useful, unique and good, and that has a clear identity.
Close collaboration with designers
Working with external designers is one of the great added values that Expormim possesses. This has been a constant learning experience for the company, as well as an opportunity to share knowledge and experience. It has also been an inexhaustible source of anecdotes, memories, and the building of a collaborative spirit that has duly contributed to making Expormim the company it is today.
It is very important that both parties share the same values in order to create that chemistry between the designer and the company that makes for a successful project. Unlike other companies, they are not interested in collecting big names in design. Their focus is on collaborating in the creation of something good, something that will last.
Exceptional pieces and upcoming collections
There is a clear association at Expormim between their furniture and renowned designers; the following stand out: The Nautica swing, by MUT Design, the Huma chair, by Mario Ruiz (2016 National Design Award), the Lapala collection, designed by Lievore Altherr Molina and the Frames collection designed by Jaime Hayón (2022 National Design Award)
In 2022, Expormim will be holding firm to its values and to differentiation in design, launching product-line extensions in collections such as Lapala, Blum, Atrivm, Liz and Nido. Distinctive, functional collections that demand new forms and finishes, with the intention of reaching new scenarios, projected towards an exterior that is perceptively very interior and welcoming.
2021 Spanish National Design Award
Expormim won the National Design Award in 2021—the most prestigious award in Spain that a company dedicated to design could aspire to—in recognition of their long professional career in the field of design, their differentiation and the creation of many exceptional pieces of furniture.
For Mercedes Laso, “There’s so much hard work, effort, and dedication behind this award, together with a desire to do things well. For Expormim, it means continuing to think of design with roots in our country, our culture and our history, a design that speaks of who we are, where we come from and to where we are headed. With good design and an award like this, we can look ahead with enthusiasm, towards a future that’s as luminous as the Mediterranean - the place that both we ourselves and our best craftsmen come from.”
The commercialization of our furniture and online shopping via digital platforms is the order of the day, but it impacts people and businesses in different ways. This is a factor that has not affected Expormim, as our customers are not compulsive shoppers, and price is not a key factor for them when making a purchase.
In this sector of the market, the customer takes advice from the interior designer or the architect working on the project, and factors such as customization, the quality of the materials used, and the manufacturing process, comfort, ergonomics, sustainability, etc. are far more important.
Right from the beginning, Expormim has had a clear commitment to the export market. At present, exports represent 65-70% of turnover, with the main markets being the USA, France, Portugal, the UK, Switzerland, the Middle East and Australia.
We should also highlight the fact that the company has had a subsidiary in the USA since 2013. Establishing a presence on the US market has helped enormously in terms of operational efficiency. “It hasn’t been easy, but today the USA is one of the most important markets for Expormim, and we’re seeing a big increase in turnover year on year”, says Mercedes Laso.
Expormim has an excellent reputation, which is why their products are to be found all over the world, in offices, hotels and restaurants. To name a few outstanding international projects: Google 2598 Bayshore in San Francisco (USA), Harvard Business School in Boston (USA) and Digital Luxury Group (Geneva, Switzerland); hotels such as the Mandarin Oriental (Santiago de Chile), the Hilton Evian (Evian-Les-Bains, France) and the Jumeirah Beach Hotel (Dubai); restaurants such as Duddell’s in London (UK), and shops such as Cosme Kitchen Adaptation in Tokyo (Japan).