Fair representation

Sara Manuelli gets to see what products the good and the great furniture-makers have to offer at Valencia’s yearly fair

Valencia’s annual furniture fair is not usually on the map for most globetrotting, Milan-biased furniture seekers. The main reason lies in its exhibitors: a vast, indiscriminate affair, full of chandeliers and squishy sofas, it only redeems itself in the eyes of Modernist enthusiasts with the Sidi Pavilion. Here, household names representative of a cleaner, simple style, such as PuntMobles and Andreu World, show their latest offerings – an opportunity to preview them before they embark on the European fair roundabout (Cologne, Milan and London).

This year, PuntMobles eschewed collaborations with foreign designers like in the past (Terence Woodgate being an example) and went for in-house designs by Vincent Martinez, the owner of the company, as well as Lola Castello. In particular, Castello showed Area, a snazzy flexible bench system that can be turned into a two- or three-seater sofa according to need.

DoandCe presented a great stand, full of dayglo colours and partitioned structures. The collection was pretty eclectic; while fair habitué Jorge Pensi presented Ecuador, a fairly classic set of armchairs and sofas in his signature generous proportions style, young Valencian designer JM Ferrero showed Lungo, a series of bright, luminescent green cabinets in an aluminium structure that can be specified in methacrylate or oak wood panels. Another colourful offering came from the Otto collection by Ricard Vila, blond wood sideboards with lacquer red inserts.

Nani Marquina as always delighted with her tongue in cheek rugs, while Andreu World showed Cloe and Carlotta, a pair of upholstered chairs by group Liévore, Altherr and Molina, and Zarina by William Sawaya. Andreu World’s prize was this year given to Ana Ines Garcia Ceballos for the Cinta chair, which should be in production in 2004.

For the second year running, the fair also included the Nude section, which stands for ‘nuevos disenadores Españoles’ (new Spanish designers). Amid a rather mediocre selection of work, Nazca’s presence stood out for sheer professionalism of its stand design, with video projections of its current products and past portfolio.

A Valencia-based group, Nazca is a multidisciplinary studio founded only in 2002 by brothers Joaquin Garcia and Borja Garcia and Esther Tornero. Although incredibly young – Borja Garcia is only 23 – the group has already a wealth of experience and commissions under its belt, specialising in furniture, graphic and automotive design. In particular, Royal College of Art-trained Joaquin Garcia has worked for the Ford Motor company studio in Cologne as well as Renault in Paris and continues to collaborate with them.

At the fair, Nazca presented three products all due to go into production with Spanish manufacturers; Arena, a chaise longue, manufactured by Abdon y Lucas; R 03, a domestic kitchen recycling unit for Cocina Tres Group and Patrizia, an opal glass lamp for Ona Products.

Judging by Nazca’s drive and aspiration, it won’t be long until weary fair-goers hear of it again.

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