Interview with José A. Gandía-Blasco Canales

Main Photo. José A. Gandía-Blasco Canales

Esthete and passionate aficionado of life outdoors José A. Gandía-Blasco is the President and Artistic Director of the Gandia Blasco S.A. family business founded by his father in 1941 that nowadays includes the brands GANDIABLASCO, GAN, Diabla and two more currently in development. He is also responsible for a great many of the outdoor furniture collections.

With interests that go far beyond mere decoration José is fascinated by the cultural aspects of design and contemporary architecture expressed in the creation of the GANDIABLASCO life style with emblematic pieces like DAYBED, Merendero, TIPI, Cristal Box, Módulos …etc. that form part of the extensive Outdoor Spaces Line and iconic collections such as SALER, CLIP, 356, LIPSTICK that are seen on terraces of hotels and homes around the world.

But this creative aspect goes even further. José also came up with the structural system using aluminium profiles and polyethylene that characterises GANDIABLASCO, highly resistant materials that were not being used before in outdoor furniture. This new system allowed the design of GANDIABLASCO furniture inspired by the vernacular architecture of Ibiza and other collections. It revolutionised the market and acted as a perfect compliment to contemporary architecture. In this interview José talks about some aspects of the construction system that has continued to evolve exploring new possibilities.

Your first outdoor furniture collections were designed with a new constructive system that you designed from scratch. How did you come up with it?

As a kid I was really interested in Meccano and I realised that using its aluminium profiles I could build the structures and furniture that I had always wanted to make.

Which did you come up with first, the aesthetics or the technical solution?

I believe it was something intuitive both came along at the same time.

What materials did you use?

I always worked with different aluminium profiles to construct furniture and structures, but just with that.

Who did you work with to make the first prototypes?

Jose, from the company Ventacan had always been a close work colleague. At that time he had a window fabrication workshop using aluminium profiles and I suggested making furniture using that same material. He belived in me and became totally involved in the project. He has been there since the first prototypes till today.

The colours of these materials, white and anodised aluminium, have shaped the imagination of GANDIABLASCO all around the world. Did these materials appeal to you for their colour, apart from their quality and technical advantages?

Aluminium has always seduced me for several reasons; one is the colour, but also because it’s a modern material, its freshness and lightness. It couldn’t be any other material. And white is my favourite colour. The mixture of both has always really appealed to me.

Are these colours related in some way to the Mediterranean and the vernacular architecture of Ibiza?

Houses in Ibiza have always had an irresistible appeal for me because of their simplicity and those cubic forms, as well as their whiteness so typically Mediterranean.

The construction system using aluminium profiles defines the looks of the most conic GANDIABLASCO collections.

I chose aluminium to express my idea of structure and contemporary furniture because of its qualities, like I said. Undoubtedly using this material was the differentiating factor for GANDIABLASCO from the beginning. Nobody had ever used it like that.

How did it develop? In which of the collections has it best been expressed?

Right now we are trying out new ideas with this material and creating an aluminium profile construction system using the old tongue and groove method, allowing us construct an infinite number of furniture options and which I find particularly exciting.

Do you think technique and functionality are at odds with aesthetics or is it possible to come up with something original and elegant taking these three characteristics into account?

Without doubt one can create taking all three on board. In fact it has to be like that. Beauty has to be functional for any piece of furniture. If not we are moving more into the territory of art but not design nor the creation of useful objects.