A star chair, the Andrea model by National Award winner Josep Lluscà, marked the start of a new age, announcing a new kind of sophistication. It was a fashion parade piece – a chair much more likely to enter the annals of design history than to sit unnoticed in dining rooms throughout the world. But it was a precision move. It arrived at the Eulate factory (Navarre) after being rejected by another company. It was not a commercial model. That was obvious.
But Andreu intuited the power it would have. It was painstakingly designed and mathematically conceived. And this is why it brought a whole new world to Andreu World, which willingly embraced the new name. All in all, the founder of the company remembers the early 80s as a time of opportunity more than a period of absolutely right ideas. “The exchange rate was in our favour,” he laconically affirmed, “We achieved very high export figures. We worked night and day, and exported a lot to only a few customers. But the dollar exchange rate went down, and so did our exports. We wound up with no American customers, so we had to enlarge the national market.” That job was not easy. “We invested in models, in design, in improving and differentiating our products. But our customers were reluctant to pay more for them. Until we communicated our new designs through catalogues, in advertising campaigns, and until we had renewed our corporate image, our customers did not want to pay for new chairs.”
“It sounds easy, but when a firm hardly breaks even, it is difficult to make the decision to continue investing large amounts of money in catalogues and corporate identity programs. To do so, you really have to believe in design.” And believing in design helped them to achieve various years of zero profits. But this new negative experience actually helped them. And when eventually the balance sheet started to look brighter, Andreu World had already become a prestigious trademark. “We learned to diversify our customers and products, we learned to communicate these changes, in addition to just making them, and we started to sell throughout the world.” Today Andreu World exports 60% of its production, and the United States is becoming one of its major markets.
But you don't gain the world just with exports and factories. Today Andreu World aims to play in design’s first division. Even lawsuit awards seem to prove Andreu World’s popularity, with a plethora of falsified models reflecting the fact that the real models are temptingly subject to imitation. But at Andreu World, the corporate philosophy of promoting individual initiative, adaptability, self-criticism and employee autonomy shows that to reach the heights, you always need to lay the right foundations first. Initiatives include the Andreu World International Design Competition, staged since 2001, proving that the firm is always searching for new ideas and talents, regardless of frontiers, age groups or reputations.
And if identity is important for a company, graphic communication is no less so. It’s little use having a great, but unknown, product. Catalogues are key to communication actions, and advertising is recommendable if not essential. There are also graphic elements that satisfy both functions. In the 90s, Alberto Lievore designed a series of large-format brochures that were published for five consecutive years. The copywriting would serve as course material at schools. Lievore also designed advertising pages for trade publications.
In recent years, Antonio Solaz has continued the job of creating advertising layouts, with a new, more polished but equally effective style, backed by outstanding photography.