01 Glass and cork Plug series (2008); 02 Thomas Kral and Paloma Cañizares in the PCM studio; 03 Laser-cut aluminum Array stool (2009); 04 Reused History vase (2011); 05 Kral drawing vase decorations; 06 Reused History vases; 07 World Wildlife Fund coin (2011); 08 European oak and douglas pine Fragments of Nature shelves (2009); 09 True Colours (2010), made of copper, aluminum, brass, and steel; 10 Silver, glass, and oxide Transience mirrors (2011); 11 Set of porcelain Or prototypes for French brand Bernardaud, designed during a course at ECAL in 2011; 12 Gates croquet set with mallet, stake, ball, and hoop; 13 Gates maple and leather croquet stake and cork ball (2011).
Madrid-based PCM taps Slovak designer Tomas Kral to shape its wares.
When Spanish architect Paloma Cañizares decided to start a furniture and accessories company, she knew exactly who she wanted to contact first: the Slovak-born, Lausanne-based product designer Tomas Kral. “He’s an intelligent designer, smart and sober,” says Cañizares, 34. She had seen Kral’s student work at ECAL, from which he graduated in 2009, as well as self-directed product proposals on his website. “When choosing products to produce, it’s very important to feel a deep surprise” at first glance, Cañizares says. In Kral’s work, she sensed that freshness, but also a rigor that she believes will allow his creations to stand the test of time.
The result of their partnership is PCM, a Madrid-based furniture company that Cañizares launched last May with a range of products designed by Kral, 32. He found her to be the perfect client. “She’s a very openminded person,” Kral says. “She listens and accepts a designer’s decisions. At the same time, being an architect, she has a sensibility that’s important for developing design products, as well as clear ideas about what she wants to do.”
The pieces the pair has developed so far, which are all manufactured in Spain, demonstrate both industrial elegance and a poetic sense of logic. “We choose projects that will promote our Spanish factories, challenge them to make different products from what they’re used to, and try to keep alive the knowledge of working with traditional materials,” Cañizares says.
The first product PCM produced was Kral’s Array stool, formed by three identical pieces of folded, laser cut aluminum, connected by simple fasteners to give the seat a three-dimensional form. Next came the Plug collection, which includes a side table and footed fruit bowl in which shapely cork tops fit simply into glass bases, much like cork stoppers squeeze into the necks of wine bottles. For Reused History, a line of glassware, Cañizares struck an agreement with the royal glass factory of La Granja de San Ildefonso that allowed them to comb the factory’s archive of 19th-century molds for oil lamps and tweak the designs, adding decoration to give the old forms new purposes as vases and drinking vessels.
While continuing to work with Kralmore glassware and a lamp are in the pipeline for 2012—Cañizares is also reaching out to other designers who she feels deserve more attention. Soba, the first piece by Swiss designer Dunja Weber, is an indoor/outdoor stackable chair featuring a steel frame strung with PVC cord. So far, Cañizares has only worked with foreign designers, explaining that she is more interested in good ideas than a nationalistic focus. “I’m really searching for the best new designs and designers,” she says. “Working with emerging designers gives you a feeling of discovering a treasure no one has seen before.” And even though she’s already at work on new ceramic products with other people for 2013, she’s not naming names just yet. “The names are still secret, but I can tell you that they are young and extremely talented.” pcmdesign.es, tomaskral.ch