Only few companies can claim to have illuminated the history of Spanish design for almost a century like designer light manufacturer Metalarte. Its origins go back to Construcciones Riera, a metal workshop founded by Antonio Riera Clariana in 1932 that first made iron pieces for building firms and later its own lines of doorknobs, household utensils and stylish lamps. The first light was produced in 1942 and was baptized, logically enough, as nº1. It was not until the mid-1950’s that Antonio Riera began to travel to the Nordic countries which were booming in design at that time, and where he found inspiration for the new collections launched onto the market between 1954-1960. In the United States, Riera met George W. Hansen, an American of Danish origin, who designed the legendary Walden light series with swing arms that has turned into Metalarte's biggest bestseller so far. Over the years, the company was finally renamed into Metalarte and a new corporate image was built. Metalarte has also pioneered the development of designer lamps by cooperating with young designers in the early 1970s, which was very unusual at that time. It manufactured the first light designed by Philippe Starck and in 1974 table lamp Calder design by Enrich Franch. This was Metalarte's first halogen and the company's faith in an unknown designer turned into a major success story. Calder became the first Spanish design to be selected to form part of the MoMA permanent collection in New York and is until now a classic of contemporary design. In 2002, Metalarte opened new offices in Sant Joan Despí near Barcelona which include a technical office converted into a research laboratory and a huge warehouse, where lamps are assembled ready for dispatch. The new millenium also saw the creation of Metalab where true to the company's philosophy experiments lay the ground for unconventional projects. These daring product developments have become within a very short time established design icons such as the floor lamp Inout for indoor and outdoor use, a floating swimming pools lamp or the Josephine product range of traditional chandeliers with a definite modern twist.
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