History of the company GANDIA BLASCO The company GANDIA BLASCO, which is nowadays known for its outdoor furniture line, was born in 1941 as a family business, manufacturing blankets.
History of the company GANDIA BLASCO The company GANDIA BLASCO, which is nowadays known for its outdoor furniture line, was born in 1941 as a family business, manufacturing blankets. The activities of the company were developed on an industrial level, with an intensive production during the Spanish post-war period, essentially aimed at the army and hospitals. The company is located in Ontinyent (Valencia), a town that had 13,000 inhabitants in those times. It was an area with a large expansion of the textile branch, under the influence of Alcoi and nerve centre of the Vall de Albaida region. For almost 40 years and under the management of José Gandía-Blasco (father of José Antonio, current president of the company), the activity did not change, and it enjoyed considerable success. It was the peak of its success, and it had more than 100 employees, all of them coming from families of the surrounding towns. In the mid-1980s the blanket branch began to give signs of fatigue, mainly due to the strong competition coming from the international markets that produced at lower costs and with higher quality. The company was forced to make a strategic turn to overcome the situation. José A. Gandía-Blasco Canales took on more responsibilities in the company, and saw the need for a change. His arrival meant a point of inflection. Under the premise of modernising the company, both as regards the brand and the products offered, José A. got in touch with the designers Marisa Gallén and Sandra Figuerola from the design studio La Nave in Valencia. They designed the current logo of the company: a cute, stylized kitten, an animal that looks for comfort at home. The involvement of Gallén and Figuerola was also extended to the design of carpets. The first collections recovered the use of the old looms with a new material derived from cotton, and the result of countless experiments. New, modern products were created, reversible, with colourful patterns on one side and plain on the other. A third designer, Lina Vila, created a line of children’s carpets which quickly became famous throughout Europe and was a big success. In 1990, the redesigning of the firm, the logo and the products received the Impiva Award for Innovation. This award provided the company with a major boost, since it was the first sign of evolution in their philosophy. During the years to follow, the brand settled in the textile market due to the exclusiveness and innovation of their designs: carpets with borders, with patterns, hand-woven, with original shapes. The production was almost exclusively domestic and it was carried out on traditional looms. The success of the carpets led to the creation of other products, such as sheets, duvet covers, bedspreads, fabrics and cushions. Once the new business idea had settled, in 1996, José A. needed to furnish the terrace of the house which had been built for him recently by the architect Ramón Esteve in Ibiza, and they both started to develop an outdoor furniture collection. This is how the ‘Na Xemena’ collection was born, to close a gap in the market, and it had almost no competition at that time. The philosophy of this product line, which is still the star of the company, was transmitted to the whole firm: designs combining the biggest comfort in functionality and an extremely high aesthetic component. It was a new turn of the business dynamics which later became the most significant. Shortly after, in 1999, José A. Gandía-Blasco became the owner of the company and finished the renewal in the company’s hierarchy, as well as of the production methods and the philosophy of the company in general. In 2000, the company merged with the emergent company called Babia (a society created by Pablo Gironés and the architect Ramón Esteve), that manufactured indoor furniture. This merger was an attempt to enter the indoor furniture market, but the activity was given up shortly after to focus exclusively on outdoor products. Pablo Gironés became partner of the company, as well as Gandia Blasco’s marketing and product manager, and Ramón Esteve began to co-operate more actively in the development of new outdoor furniture products. These factors helped towards the consolidation of the expansion business strategy and thus to stand out as a worldwide leader in outdoor design furniture. The company expanded its activities worldwide, opening shops and showrooms in several countries. The work with designers of international prestige consolidated the work of tens of people in Ontinyent, who help furnishing homes in the most unsuspected parts of the planet. With a production that is almost completely carried out in workshops of the area, and thus contributing to local economy, GANDIA BLASCO has settled in a branch that was almost discovered by the company, and is looking forward to the future with the optimism of a brand with an international name. Team The growth of the GANDIA BLASCO staff has run in parallel with the success of the company. From the little over 30 employees working during the 1980s, the company has currently 75 full-time employees distributed in the design, production and distribution departments, and employees in company-owned shops in Spain and abroad. The GANDIA BLASCO staff works with the same spirit of the company’s management. The company is made up by young, enterprising, persevering people, who are committed to their job and contribute something essential for success: the excitement of a team that believes in a project. Under the leadership of José A. Gandía-Blasco, the company has been working since the 1980s with prestigious designers, but also offering a chance to young, emerging designers who have become internationally known thanks to their work for GANDIA BLASCO, a reason for double satisfaction for the company. Gandia Blasco has an in-house design department and José A. himself, as creative manager, signs some of the products offered by the company. They have always wanted to enrich the variety and style of the products with the diverse languages of the designers working with them, all of them irrefutable professionals in Spain and abroad. Some of the names signing GANDIA BLASCO products are Jean Marie Massaud, Patricia Urquiola, Marie Mees, Marisa Gallén, Sandra Figuerola, Ramón Esteve, Odosdesign, Francesc Rifé,etc. These creators have known how to make use of the company’s spirit and turn their ideas into modern products which are exhibited on the markets of countless countries. Other members of the management team are Sergio Pastor, General Manager since 2000, Santiago Revert, Commercial Manager and architect of the worldwide expansion strategy, and Pablo Ramiro, deputy General Manager and a key figure of the two-headed management team. Toni Esteve runs the subsidiary GANDIA BLASCO USA Inc. The first two are also Gandia Blasco partners.Products The company has currently two product lines: outdoor furniture, which is distributed with the brand GANDIA BLASCO, and textiles (carpets and duvet covers) with the newly created brand GAN. In spite of the diversity of styles and shapes, all of these products share the same basic concept: fresh products, with highest quality materials, elegant, functional and with different and exclusive designs that make them unique. Ideas and shapes that are not a mere response to home situations, but combine warm, contemporary, striking or surprising designs that define a lifestyle. Outdoor furniture, the cornerstone of the company, is currently made up by more than 15 collections comprising nearly 300 different products. The catalogue of the company covers each and every need of outdoor spaces and it is being constantly expanded, trying to solve new approaches or any detected gap. GANDIA BLASCO furniture has been designed for outdoor use in the largest sense. It does not need any care, it doesn’t get damaged and it resists the hardest weather conditions in any of the countries in which it is present. Years of investigation and innovation in materials have resulted in optimal finishes. The best metals, plastics and woods make up the structure and base of any Gandia Blasco product. GAN In late 2008, the firm GAN was born to cover all the textile section. In the countries where the company is becoming established, it is culturally difficult to connect the same brand with outdoor furniture and textiles, so GAN was the result of the need to make a difference between the two vectors of the company. In only a few months, GAN has been able to shine with its own light, playing with the quick connection to the traditional Gandia Blasco brand. GAN keeps the quality standards of its origins, not for nothing is the textile market the one that consolidated the company and witnessed its international rise.International expansion GANDIA BLASCO has grown by leaps and bounds in the past 8 years. The initial domestic success with the textile products quickly expanded worldwide. The outdoor furniture found the same gap across the Spanish borders, and the offer of products with high quality and design standards, led to the expansion of a company that doesn't know about limitations. The brand is represented with shops and showrooms in New York, Milan, Istanbul, Mexico DF, Oporto, Bologna, Belgium, etc., in addition to several facilities in Spain. Puerto Rico and Palma de Mallorca will also have owned or franchised Gandia Blasco shops soon. The subsidiary GANDIA BLASCO USA Inc, was set up in 2005 in New York. The headquarters are located in a 250m2 showroom in Manhattan. This society, made up by 5 people and led by Toni Esteve, is in charge of the distribution in the US and Canada. The company has a logistic centre in Miami. In 2008, GANDIA BLASCO ITALIA was created, localizing one of the main markets of the company. The showroom in a spectacular industrial space on the lively Via Tortona in Milan is the confirmation. The company has a distribution network in 74 countries on five continents. This worldwide expansion is due to the company showing their products at the most important furniture fairs, such as Milan, London, New York, Paris, Tokyo, Dubai, Las Vegas, Kortitjk, among others. Prizes and awards Since GANDIA BLASCO considered design as the added value of its products, the quality standards have been recognised with different prizes and awards, the most important being: • Impiva Design Prize 1990 • Selection for the Prince Felipe Awards to Business Excellency 2005. • Best Stand 2003. FIM Valencia • Best Stand 2006. Habitat Valencia Forward. • Delta Adi Fad Selection for the Ensombra parasol designed by Odosdesign. • Wallpaper Award for the Best Outdoor Product 2008: Flat deckchair, designed by Mario Ruiz. • Grand Designs Magazine Award for the Ensombra parasol designed by Odosdesign. • Premio Wallpaper Design Awards 2013 a Tropez daybed de Stefan Díez, "Best outdoor lounger"International Outdoor Furniture Design Contest GANDIA BLASCO stays true to the philosophy of supporting young designers, proud of having contributed to make young emerging professionals known, in some cases even producing their first piece of work. Driven by this spirit of a patron, the company launched the first open contest for young professional designers or students in 2006. The conditions of the contest change every year. Sometimes they ask for furniture ideas and sometimes the participation is limited to outdoor lighting proposals. Two prizes are awarded at every edition, with appealing prize money and the chance that the company may produce the winning projects.