Ode to Craftsmanship

The murals of Agostino Iacurci for Sancal's 40th anniversary.

The cutting and sewing lines in Sancal's factory now have a much brighter and happier outlook. The 10 metre high and 40 metre long mural by Agostino Iacurci was commissioned to coincide with the Spanish brand's 40th anniversary in late 2013.

The cutting and sewing lines in Sancal's factory now have a much brighter and happier outlook. The 10 metre high and 40 metre long mural by Agostino Iacurci was commissioned to coincide with the Spanish brand's 40th anniversary in late 2013.

The Spanish company Sargadelos from the Galicia region of northern Spain has always impressed me - not only do they produce amazing ceramic figurines and tableware but the factory itself is inspirational with tiled murals by Luis Seoane and quite possibly the most beautiful staff canteen in the world. I now have to add another Spanish company to the list of factories  I would love to visit - Sancal.

Based inland from the coastal towns of Benidorm and Alicante in the small town of Yecla, Sancal has grown from a little family business making reproduction Louis  XVI furniture in the mid 1970’s to one of Spain's leading contemporary furniture brands. Much of the ground work for this was done under the leadership of the brand’s founder, Santiago Castaño but since 2007 the company has been run by his two daughters, Esther and Elena and the sisters have moved the brand on at a rapid pace. International designers like Karim Rashid and Toyo Ito have collaborated with the brand and more recently Ionna Vautrin and Sebastian Herkner.

One of the Sancal factory's mini showroom areas - showing the brands penchant for colour. The 'Tea' chair by Estudihac, 'Nudo' table and 'Nudo' timber stools by Juan Ibañez are shown with the blue upholstered 'Chat' stool by Nadadora and 'Menu' sofa by Rafa Garcia at the back. The chairs on the edges of  frame are 'Midori' by Ebuala.

One of the Sancal factory's mini showroom areas - showing the brands penchant for colour. The 'Tea' chair by Estudihac, 'Nudo' table and 'Nudo' timber stools by Juan Ibañez are shown with the blue upholstered 'Chat' stool by Nadadora and 'Menu' sofa by Rafa Garcia at the back. The chairs on the edges of  frame are 'Midori' by Ebuala.

While I really love the furniture the brand is producing, (especially the recent work of long-time collaborator Rafa Garcia), it’s the company’s attitude to creating a harmonious working environment that reminded me of the Sargadelos philosophy. For Sancal’s 40th birthday at the end of 2013, Elena and Esther commissioned the Italian street artist Agostino Iacurci to create a mural for some of the walls within the factory - murals not only to inspire but also to pay homage to the skills of craftspeople. 

“We think that the best way to celebrate the passage of time is to leave a mark on the walls and give our team the gift of art to inspire them as they manufacture our marvelous designs”. Elena Castaño-López.

Another view of Agostino Iacurci's giant 'Ode to Craftsmanship' mural for Sancal.

Another view of Agostino Iacurci's giant 'Ode to Craftsmanship' mural for Sancal.

The two sisters are very familiar with the factory having grown up playing amongst the fabrics and the machines and even roller-skating along the factory floor during their childhood. The giant murals of Agostino Iacurci have given the cutting and sewing lines a wonderfully inspirational backdrop in the form of colourful symbolic shapes and figures. The work is similar in scale to communist propaganda murals but with an infectiously happy vibe. The dignity and know-how of the artisan is depicted on a 10 metre high, 40 metre long wall with the daily tasks of cutting and sewing shown with enormous spools of thread and massive scissors.

A giant hand stitching a tapestry is the beginning of the story. 

A giant hand stitching a tapestry is the beginning of the story. 

Agostino Iacurci has produced murals for Roma 3 University, the Fubon Art Foundation in Taipei and the Fine Art Academy of Rome just to name a few. He constantly exhibits his work at galleries, festivals and events the world over.

To watch a short film on the making of the ‘Ode to Craftsmanship’ mural click here.


The 'Once upon a time a circus' mural by Ricardo Cavolo.

The 'Once upon a time a circus' mural by Ricardo Cavolo.

Sancal not only has the wonderful murals of Iacurci, but also a wall of blue and white murals by Spanish artist Ricardo Cavolo who currently lives and works in London. Cavolo was commissioned to enliven a corridor within the factory building. The blue and white mural uses the colours commonly found in Portuguese pottery to completely reinvigorate what had previously been a gloomy corner of the factory. Cavolo has previously been commissioned by Cirque du Soleil, Nike, Converse, Levi's, FC Barcelona, Urban Outfitters and Coca Cola. London’s Atomica Gallery in Soho has just held a solo exhibition of Cavolo’s late last year.

Here is a look at Ricardo Cavolo at work painting the ‘Once upon a time a circus’ mural for Sancal.

Other parts of the Sancal factory have been given the mural treatment too. This particular example is by Barcelona graffiti artist Zosen Bandido depicting 40 faces or masks - one for each year of the company's existence.

Other parts of the Sancal factory have been given the mural treatment too. This particular example is by Barcelona graffiti artist Zosen Bandido depicting 40 faces or masks - one for each year of the company's existence.

Sancal is distributed in Australia by Ke-zu.