✅ With Alma Design. A project that was born from the partnership and love of Alvaro and Maria Antonia. Two creatives who have reinvented themselves: they have known how to adapt their training, professional career and their enthusiasm, in a project that is 100% “made in Mallorca”.
▷ Why Hidden Icon?
Álvaro and Maria Antònia, two creatives who have managed to do what they like the most, their work. They have joined their passion for the Mallorcan tradition, their creativity and have managed to raise and create their own brand, Con Alma (“with soul”). Yes, that is their name and above all the leitmotiv of their company.
1- HIDDEN ICON. We have chosen you because you followed your dream, and dared to change your life and leave the big cities of Barcelona and London. At what point did you meet to take that leap together? What exactly did you do?
We were in a moment of personal change, looking for something new, we were starting to go out together as a couple, Tone was working in an interior design office in Barcelona and Alvaro was working as a waiter in a restaurant in London.
2- CON ALMA DESIGN. How do you define yourselves and how did that name come about for your company?
We define ourselves as a small family business dedicated to designing with wood, its imperfections, and with a Mediterranean soul. The name has two meanings, one based on finding the soul (“alma”) in each piece of furniture or board that we make and if you separate Con AL (varo) MA (ria Antonia) it connects us even more to the name of the brand.
3- DESIGN. A priori, the easiest thing is to call you craftsmen, however, you are pure creatives and designers. How is the process of creating your projects?
Craftsmanship is very global, we, as you say, like to call ourselves “nature designers”. Our creations start each one from the knowledge of the type of wood we are going to work with, from there the design evolves, changes, molds to natural forms, and ends with something unique and for life.
4- BOARDS. Your famous tables are almost small works of art, a mixture of wood and ceramic with impeccable professional finishes. How did this idea of making a product with such a Mallorcan touch come about? Did you expect such good acceptance from the public?
The Mallorcan board came about at a time when we opened a cupboard in Maria Antònia’s father’s house and discovered a lot of old, dusty kitchen hydraulics. We decided to look for something different on the island, to combine it with olive trees in the shape of a handle and to reuse those old hydraulics, and the idea has worked, we now send this purely Mallorcan design around the world. People like to find new things, crafted with the hands, and with a touch of design.
5- FURNITURE. You design custom-made furniture, you revitalise antique furniture… What do you draw inspiration from to design them? What types of spaces are where you think your furniture fits best?
Yes, we design everything to measure, according to what the client is looking for, and, this is important, to connect with the client and transmit the concept of natural imperfection and the authenticity of the pieces with soul. We usually make dining tables for private homes and very simple accessories for the home: ceiling lights, stairs for the bathroom, bedside tables, low tables for the living room. We base our work on the simplicity of things, without much fuss.
6- MARIA ANTONIA. Interior architect before taking this big step of founding your own company. How has your life changed? Don’t you miss the studio work?
My life remains the same, passionate about my work, and creating my own brand has made me further enhance my knowledge in the world of interior design. Before I was sitting at a table working for someone, now I can manage projects from scratch, developing better what the client really wants, and creating new designs and putting them into action.
7- ALVARO.A creative from head to toe, gastronomy, production. What change has it meant for you as a creative to move into boards and furniture design?
Creativity can be studied, but there are people who are born with the gift of creativity, awake people, observers from birth, and it is a tool that I have always encouraged. Creative has to fall in love and radiate new things, freshness, and gastronomy I promoted the treatment to the client, knowing flavors, textures and knowing by the personality of the people what they would like to taste of the menus of the restaurants in which I worked. In production, I promoted diversity, seeking to merge interesting projects and betting on new things.
All life is a creative moment, you put everything together, your knowledge and you start with something new, and I believe that Con alma design is for life. In my company I do not leave gastronomy, but I continue creating tables for great chefs and in the production, the image, we continue collaborating with other brands and we work the Instagram as our window to the world.
8- MALLORCA. What role does the island play in your designs and works?
The island, the Mediterranean, its nature defines us very well. It is a magical place and we are privileged to be able to live and experience it in our designs, in our family life. We work with native wood, olive, pine, almond to create pieces, we claim our own, that provides us with this wonderful island.
9- STUDIO. Tell us how is your work space.
The studio is located in a Mallorcan countryside manor, a spacious and open space, where you can breathe a lot of tranquility. In the living room, there are two beautiful windows that we open wide so that the sun floods in, either in winter or summer. The truth is that we are in love with our little world.
10- PLAYLIST. Which songs are part of your soundtrack to work?
Álvaro: I really like soundtracks, musicals, I have a predilection for Boyz II Men, an American group that has accompanied me in my life, specifically the song “End of the Road”, but also music from the 60s, Paul Anka, Luis Miguel… I’m a romantic and a geek, but I love it.
Maria Antònia: I like Rock and Roll, Bruce Springsteen, Cat power, Creedence Clearwater Revival, David Bowie, and Indie folk, like Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes, and my dear Pablo Alborán.
As you can see, in music we are very different, but that’s what’s cool, one day we put Luis Miguel and another day Bon Iver, we are “con alma”.
11- CORONAVIRUS. How have you experienced this confinement? Have new ideas, designs or projects emerged during this time?
It’s been really hard, but at the same time, we’re privileged. Being with our children has given us the opportunity to settle our precious family, knowing that life happens by being well the four of us, without pretensions, looking for the present, and giving thanks to God for each day.
In the professional field, this pandemic, has made us work non-stop at home, designing and creating many tables, we have also danced, cooked, we have done workshops, talks for magazines, and we have appreciated our wonderful home, every corner.
12- CREATIVITY. What have you done to keep your creativity active this time?
A creative can’t stop doing things, not even sleeping (laughs) … The important thing of having been busy in many tasks has activated us, but we must recognize that it has exhausted our minds and these summer days, we are looking forward to see the grandparents and be able to breathe as a couple.
Álvaro and Maria Antònia tell us their favorite and authentic “hidden places” and “hidden gems” of the island of Mallorca, how to enjoy “Con Alma” (with soul).
Our “Hidden place” is our beloved Formentor, a place among pines, crystal clear waters and family memories. My grandfather Enrique Garriga lived there in the ’50s and especially in the house in Cala Murta, the name of our beagle. Without a doubt life, and history make us love this place.