Metalarte is a company that has defined its character by the coexistence of the new with the traditional. The yin and yang applied to the production that has resulted in the possibility of maintaining a catalog that has balanced future and past.
What Metalarte pretends in his creations is to make light appear from forms yet to discover. Their creations are always imbued with natural light, a paradox when it comes to makers of lamps.
The last leg of this tour again expresses the duality of Metalarte: a spirit of change, with the creation of a new headquarters, and romanticism of the family businesses. This was the reason why the company has not moved to another town.
the new Metalarte facilities, encased in a curiously dark building, , express the new keys of their functioning: a wide showroom that shows their products and highlights their spirit of artistic creation. They also have a research laboratory in which technicians explore and test the efficacy of their creations. It is like a new place for an old alchemist’s idea: to make light in a different form. However, in Metalarte they know that their work goes beyond the object and that light is not just an abstract concept, but a material which they work with. That is the reason why they have not turned their lobby into showcase of their products.
What they have done is an ethereal installation of light, which is the real essence of Metalarte.
The history of the enterprises is forge by their people. Entrepreneurial people who launche into a project with the faith that a business is not just an economic balance. Antonio Riera Cortes, after picking up the baton from his father, chose to lead Metalarte through a path that leads to the future.
As if it were a discoverer in search of new worlds, Riera adventure himself on knowing the active European market design from the early 60s. Italy represented for him a new “El Dorado” for his imagination. However, he was far from replicating other products, so he reunited a group of pioneers willing to occupy a desert area and turn it into a fertile territory. In the 60s, Riera travelled to New York, where he met George W. Hansen with whom he later established professional and friendship ties. As a result from this relationship, Metalarte launched the famous Swing-arm lamp that Hansen had designed just after the World War II. Another major colonizer of innovation was André Ricard who revolutionized the Spanish market with his famous lamp Tatú in the late 60s. He was not only famous for his new concept of illumination aimed for a specific use, but also for his aesthetic contributions.
In this era of innovation, pioneers created new benchmarks in the world of lighting with pieces, which were a new trend at their time but turned into a classic. The Calder 1974 model, whose name refers to the avant-garde artist who combined the deepness and playfulness, has remained in the catalog for all of these years. Its creator, Enric Franc, was one of those pioneers who knew how to anticipate to the future, assuming the possibility of being misunderstood by the people of that time. However, as Virgilio said centuries ago: fortune helps the bold ones.
Many of the major changes in the industry and in life have relied on tradition. This is the case of Metalarte. Their contemporary vision of the world of design and lighting is based on a strong and enterprising history. A family saga that has its origins in “Construcciones Riera” (Riera Buildings), founded by Antonio Riera Clariana. Thanks to this, his two sons, Antonio and Carlos, find their passion for what was called “Applied Arts”. br>
In 1932, the patriarch founds a metalworking workshop where the necessary ironworks were made. This workshop was first known as “Metalls Arts”, but they have to change their name into Spanish after the Spanish Civil War. Then the company, now called “Metal Artes” and chaired by Antonio Riera Cortés, specializes in lighting. In 18th February 1963, the company gets a boost thanks to the construction of a factory in Sant Joan Despí, a village nearby Barcelona.
With the addition of the second generation at the helm of company, a catalog of production was created and new ideas were adopted. Riera was really careful with the image both of the product and the enterprise. He changes their name to the actual one; renews their logo and incorporates the position of graphic designer. The tradition and modernity coexist in a production that gives place both to the neoclassic and innovative designs.
The willingness to advance in this sense coincides with the blooming of the European design in the late 70s. Metalarte successfully fights to arise the difficult Spanish market, since this market is incrementing its imaginative and quality requirements thanks to the new social changes. In the 80s, the enterprise gets a new boost with the introduction of a new generation of designers with the strong conviction that their work was not only creative, but also necessary.
The 90s start with the willingness to meet new creative and business challenges that would leave a mark at the time.
In this century, the incorporation of J. Feliu de la Peña as a majority shareholder of the company make them think about the future. A future where they wish to surpass themselves and achieve the best quality. A future where they will always choose the risk of innovating and will bet on new creative values.
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