Born in 1967 in a small village close to Valencia, Capdell was the brainchild of two brothers with an aspiration to open a chair factory and establish a new furniture company. Originally named ‘Curvados García’, the company quickly expanded and later changed its name to Capdell (a family nickname, meaning someone with a perseverant mind). The change of name brought a greater focus on design, where ‘a chair is no longer [just] a chair, [but] begins to tell a story and to connect with the people who sit on it.’
Design is very much at the forefront of Capdell’s vision. It embraces emotion, functionality, aesthetics, and quality, creating a dialogue between the product, person, and place. From its base in Valencia, Capdell has an international reach and partners with a roster of illustrious designers.
Capdell prizes its commitment to sustainable practices and is fully cognisant of the fragility of the world’s ecosystem. Its furniture is made locally by experienced artisans: using noble materials and built to last, Capdell’s pieces acquire value over time.
For this edition of ‘tradition and transition’, we talk with Francisco García, Manager of Capdell.
In Capdell’s manifesto, you highlight the importance of connecting people to the product and the product to the space, so creating a dialogue and emotions. Can you say more?
(FG) We live in a fast-paced society, where we enjoy very few moments of disconnection and rest. At Capdell we aim to facilitate a moment of disconnection, creating products that help people to connect with their inner and outer worlds. It’s about the slow and sustainable manufacturing of products, imbued with comfort, where we spend time alone or with friends.
Describe Capdell’s approach to furniture design—what sets you apart?
(FG) Capdell is a company with more than fifty-five years of history. There have been many artisans, workers, and designers throughout these years, individuals who have contributed their unique and personal touch to our processes and products. As Capdell has evolved, we have been able to innovate, experiment, play, and dream, always with the goal of enhancing the sensations that connect us with the product: the smell of wood, the warmth of the upholstery, the elegance of the design.
We strive to move away from uniformity in design—a consequence of industrialisation—and create products with unique details. At Capdell, we emphasise the importance of tradition, materials, local production, and sustainability.
Once a small company based in tradition, Capdell has made the transition to an award-winning brand with international recognition. How do you balance maintaining tradition with the obvious need for transition—the need to adapt and evolve?
(FG) As I mentioned, our know-how has been developing for more than fifty-five years. This know-how has evolved thanks to the people connected with the company, those past and present—they have made us who we are today. It is for this reason that tradition is an important part of our DNA. We continually make use of our know-how in order to overcome current challenges, where the solution is found by applying traditional knowledge. In our case, we have been able to move towards more sustainable ways of producing, making products that have an environmental awareness.
Capdell collaborates with a number of internationally recognised designers. What do you value most in a collaboration?
(FG) We highly value the approach of the designers we work with: as external collaborators, they see things from a different perspective. Fresh ideas and new proposals will emerge from each collaboration. It’s for this reason that we establish a continuous dialogue with the designer, something that nourishes our growth as a company. We treasure every proposal, viewing each one as an opportunity to improve.
Capdell’s approach to sustainability appears central to the brand’s raison d’être. What are you most proud of in your approach to sustainable design and manufacturing?
(FG) We are proud to say that we produce all of our products locally, which creates wealth in our community, and reduces the carbon footprint that our furniture leaves on the planet. The wood we use in the manufacturing of our pieces comes from FSC certified forests, located in the Basque Country, and our paints and glues are water-based. Upholstered products are made using recycled, and recyclable, foams and fabrics.
In our journey towards sustainability, we are also proud to be certified with ISO 9001 [pertaining to quality management systems] and ISO 14001 [pertaining to environmental management systems]. This requires Capdell to create a plan with an environmental improvement framework, including annual goals and objectives.
How do you view contemporary Spanish design? Is there something that particularly excites you?
(FG) We believe that in recent years, design made in Spain has advanced and conquered exponentially: Spanish design is increasingly valued. We are excited that Valencia is the World Capital of Design 2022 and that our city is championing the enhancement of professionals and companies in the sector.
The name Capdell is a family nickname, meaning someone with a perseverant mind. What are the brand’s most persistent qualities?
(FG) The most persistent attributes of our company are quality and durability. We create furniture that lasts and can be passed from generation to generation, extending its useful life and reducing its footprint. For this reason, we give a 5-year guarantee on all of our products.
About Tradition and Transition
Tradition and transition is a series of interviews with Spanish design companies very much admired here at LZF. In this series, we explore how traditional ways of working harmonise with transition, change, and innovation. Similar to LZF, we’re keen to learn more about those companies founded on the basis of tradition and their subsequent transition to modern, dynamic businesses.
Capdell Factory photos (top) by Jorge Garcia Romeu.
All Capdell product photos by Cualiti Photo Studio.