For 60 years, Expormim has built on a close-knit combination of personal and professional experience, guided by an ethical, social and cultural commitment. Entering Expormim’s factory today is like entering a kind of temple where huge respect is shown for an ancient craft.
Although the company has introduced the necessary mechanization to compete at an industrial level, it has never stopped trusting in people: the craftsmen and women whose invaluable experience represents a superb legacy for new generations. Thanks to their skilled expert hands, high quality standards have been achieved, leading to collaborations with designers like Jaime Hayon or Miguel Milá.
Paco Melió has witnessed the furniture company’s evolution. During his 45 years there, he has gone from shaping small wickerwork objects to managing the entire factory. Today Expormim is his home and several members of his family form part of the workforce: José Antonio is in charge of curving the rattan for Expormim’s Gata chair model, while Teresa very carefully knots the nautical cord used for its Lapala chair.
The company has evolved by looking forward into the future without relinquishing its past. “La Venta”–the solid 18th century building, now declared an item of cultural heritage, where the company first started operating in 1960–is currently a showroom displaying both artifacts of the company’s history and its current range of products. It previously housed the offices of Exportadora del Mimbre (its former name), a company that started out by making small baskets, bottle holders, trays and small decorative household goods—all made of the precious cane that grew so abundantly in Cuenca’s fields. It was in the late 60s that the company began to produce furniture made of a more resistant natural raw material with a bigger diameter, known as rattan.
In 2008, Expormim was a furniture design firm in an over-saturated world market. Together with the rest of the team, Mercedes Laso, the founder’s granddaughter, took a look back at the past. Thanks to this appraisal, the company revived an essential part of its identity–rattan furniture manufacturing.
To bring it in line with new times, the material had to be infused both with value and with more expansive application. Fontal, a chair designed in collaboration with Oscar Tusquets over the course of four years, was the first model used by Expormim to redefine this material. Additionally, Expormim’s design team wished to reintroduce the first items of rattan furniture designed by the company—Altet or Coqueta—given their awareness of the two chair models’ singular value.
Mercedes Laso succinctly expresses Expormim’s values: “We want our furniture to pay tribute to what we do: to exude purity, simplicity, wellbeing and a sense of local ethics, upholding a strong Mediterranean identity.”