Today I’m sharing another discovery from the recent ‘Sunny Design Days’ tour, which was run by the Spanish Design Association (RED) to give a group of international bloggers a first-hand insight into Spain’s burgeoning design scene.
I have to confess that I didn’t know very much about Viccarbe before the trip, but I soon fell in love with its contemporary furniture, much of it designed by renowned names such as John Pawson, Patricia Urquiola and Naoto Fukasawa. The company is based in Valencia, which is bathed in sunshine for 300 days a year, and the warm Mediterranean light and relaxed way of life have a huge influence on its approach. Every piece shows an appreciation of comfort, colour and texture, and there’s a definite playfulness to much of its range.
We spent a wonderful afternoon at the brand’s HQ, which sits in a refurbished industrial space on the edge of the city. It reminded me a little of Art Deco Miami, with its boxy shape, white corrugated façade and rows of palm trees.
First up was lunch: a delicious spread of Spanish delights, presented with Viccarbe’s signature sense of humour. We were treated to tiny milk bottles filled with chilled gazpacho, cous-cous in miniature jars and – this being Valencia – a huge pan of paella (the city’s most famous dish).
Then came a tour of the offices, which are a brilliant example of how workspaces can be designed to aid focus and creativity. There are quiet desk areas, long tables for collaborative working, clusters of chairs for informal catch-ups, and a range of break-out rooms – all furnished with Viccarbe pieces, of course. Best of all, the entire top floor has been turned into an open-plan social space, with sofas, a kitchen, a ping-pong table and even a sun-trap roof terrace.
After the tour, we had chance to browse Viccarbe’s showroom – a paradise for design lovers, with sofas, beautiful tables, row upon row of chairs, and much more.
My favourite pieces were the ‘Aleta’ chair and stool, created by Jaime Hayon (whose work for Scandinavian brands such as &tradition I have long admired) and launched earlier this year. They mark Hayon’s first collaboration with Viccarbe and stem from a chance meeting between him and the brand’s creative director, Victor Carrasco, on a plane. Hayon is known for his gently humorous designs and is also based in Valencia, so it seems like the perfect pairing – and the fact that the curved backrest was inspired by the shape of a shark’s fin (aleta in Spanish) only adds to the appeal! Both the chair and stool are available in a wide range of colours, with a choice between leather or fabric upholstery and metal or wooden legs.
Other stand-outs for me included John Pawson’s ‘Trestle’ table series – a contemporary take on the traditional work bench – and Naoto Fukasawa’s ‘Common’ modular sofa system, which can be combined with round tables to produce a huge range of curvaceous, almost sculptural configurations. I also loved Victor Carrasco’s elegant ‘Maarten’ table, whose minimalist legs can be attached directly to the top, without the need for any supporting structure.
Perhaps most striking of all was the ‘Ad-hoc’ chair by Jean-Marie Massaud. Handcrafted from brass (and surprisingly comfortable!), it forms part of the company’s ‘Viccarte’ line of exclusive, artistic pieces.
Viccarbe is certainly a brand which I’ll be keeping a close eye on from now on – and it has several new designs in the pipeline for 2018, so watch this space! In the meantime, you can see its full range here.
I visited Viccarbe during the ‘Sunny Design Days’ blogger tour, arranged by the Association of Spanish Design (RED), but all words and opinions are my own.
Most photography by Abi Dare; images 1, 16, 17, 19 and 21 via Viccarbe