mdby……ANTOÑITO Y MANOLIN
Trini and Pablo have created this atelier, ANTOÑITO Y MANOLIN, where they design and fabricate their own products in wood, very special and nice products, until now most of them are lamps, but they are right now designing other furniture pieces. Do you like them???
Trini, Pablo, first question: Where does your name ANTOÑITO Y MANOLIN come from?
Our brand name is a tribute to our parents, they inspired us and continue to do so everyday. Their vision about the arts and its implications on different disciplines such as architecture, drawing, investigations of materials and form or hand made work are the pillars on which Antoñito y Manolín’s designs are based.
Everyone has studied different things, Trini, humanities and journalism and a masters in cultural management; Pablo, business management and a masters in international commerce then woodwork. How did you start ANTOÑITO Y MANOLIN?
We come from different backgrounds, but we share a lot: one has extensive training and professional experience related to culture and arts, and ability with numbers from technical business training and the other is supplemented by his creative sensibility and appreciation for the beauty of things. We wanted to find a common path in which our formal training we had acquired individually could complement our respective likes, concerns and self-taught design. We had different furniture products which we wanted to make and started with lighting. But the brand represents a way of working, a definition of our aesthetic tastes and little by little we will make other designs. Pablo’s training as a cabinet maker provided us an in depth knowledge of how to achieve the result we desired for our pieces.
How do you know each other? When you work as a team, does everyone have a role or do you share the work?
We met in 2007 through a mutual friend, since then we have shares many ideas and wishes, Antoñito y Manolín is the attempt to capture a part of them. We believe in the need for a calmer pace of life, where the objects satisfy both aesthetic and functional needs, they are not created with cheap materials and long working hours, so they enjoy a greater longevity beyond fashion. We complement each other in our work, ideas come up from both sides and with mutual respect we go to the workshop daily.
Do you fabricate only your own designs or also from other designers?
We love collaborations. We believe that we can contribute to a project en all phases, from the conception of the idea to the finishing of the piece. Obviously it depends on the client (whether they be architects, interior designers of final clients)
You use wood and brass in your designs, you work on the wooden parts yourselves, but the brass parts too? Or do you rely on another workshop that collaborates with you?
We work on the wood entirely, from selecting the piece from the sawmill, to it being finished. In the case of brass, we take pieces from existing providers and in some cases modify it to fit our design. Now we are starting to work with small local studios on the development of ad-hoc pieces made specifically for our designs.
You have various models of lamps, are you going to continue to make lamps, or are you thinking of another type of furniture?
We love lighting and some of the pieces from our catalogue were born from our own needs. Our idea is to continue with lamps but to move on to larger sizes, with more complicated structures for bigger spaces, but maintaining our line. In furniture we have already worked on some pieces, It is a world that we are always passionate about.
Which of your designs have you liked the most until now?
One of the most special is the lamp Óscar, we still do not have it in the shop because it was a very special work and now we are reediting it. It is a volume form of parallel eclipses of different sizes through which the light emerges. Its curved form is inspired by Oscar Nyemeyer and we made it for a house in Rio de Janeiro. It is made from iroko wood for surviving the higher temperature and tropical humidity and working with it was very laborious. The result is simple and elegant and it gives off a very special light.
Is there one that had made the most sales until now?
The small table lights are very appreciated. The one that has sold the most is Frankie, I imagine because it is fun and different.
Is each piece unique? Or do you made a certain number of pieces from each series?
The runs are very small, some are even numbered, for example we only fabricated 13 pieces from the Frankie series, ……. and we consider that each piece is unique in the sense that the wood is different each time and our work is hand finished making each creation different to the previous one.
What is the creative process of your designs, from the design concept to the sale?
We can talk about two forms of working: desire + studio + sketches + tests in the workshop, giving the result of a concrete design. The other form arises by chance, an idea comes up and you must start to place or remove elements to make the design complete from an aesthetic and from a practical and technical point of view.
Do you sell through your web and through Miseria shop, with Olga, Belén and Pablo that we met in Madrid, or do you sell through another place?
We are also in the studio of Guille García Hoz (Madrid) with other ceiling lamps, in Mù Restauración (Zaragoza) with table lamps and in Artefactum (Sevilla) with wall and ceiling lamps. Our idea, now that our first catalogue is finished, is to work on the distribution inside and outside Spain.
Can you live from it?
It’s a very hard and slow work, but we hope so.
Did you have a clear model of the business that you wanted to start from the beginning?
We had a hard time deciding about it and I believe it could also be subject to change. After days passing by, we know a little more about our sector and where we want to go.
Do you dedicate much time to advertise yourself in any way?
It is essential to be present and to be known. Our efforts are centred on our physical attendance of furniture fairs and to give our message to the media that we consider could be interested. The work in this sense has just begun and there is still a lot to do.
How did you start to be known?
Through contacts with blogs and other media. As I commented earlier, physical presence in shops and furniture fairs has been important too.
Which have been the best and worst moments of your work until now?
Among the best is receiving orders. Each order or each new project is exciting.
Without doubt the worst is thinking that at any moment we will be unable to maintain this project due to lack of sales. It’s a nightmare each time that it comes to our minds.
What would be the perfect commission that you would like to do?
They are all perfect. The most exciting maybe is working without ties, and being capable of finding an aesthetic and practical solution that works in every way. The form it takes (be that a table, a lamp or a toy) is not important.
Is there something that you would not do again professionally?
To allow ourselves to work in something that we are not passionate about everyday.
Is there something you would repeat even though it was a crazy thing, just for the experience?
Starting Antoñito y Manolín.
What advice would you give?
Enthusiasm, tenacity, patience and hard work are capable of making any dream a reality.