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Fit for a King: Mario Ruiz’s Latest Wows the Spanish Royal Family

As a leading light in international design, Mario Ruiz’s latest offering seeks to revolutionise how A+D redefines the workplace. Give your project the royal treatment!

  • Mario Ruiz being awarded the National Design Prize, given by the King of Spain, Felipe VI and the Ministry of Economy.

  • Mario Ruiz being awarded the National Design Prize, given by the King of Spain, Felipe VI and the Ministry of Economy.

According to one of Europe’s premier designers, Mario Ruiz, “reaching unity with simple shapes is complex to achieve” but nonetheless lies at the core of “designing sophisticated furniture”. Ruiz’s inimitable design sensibility cherishes the discreet simplicity of vital forms, timeless shapes and modest brevity – a sure-fire creative philosophy that allows his work to remain equipoised between contemporary flair and nostalgic essence.

In his latest – the MR Chair, available through Schiavello – Ruiz dynamically reinterprets the classic shell chair for the contemporary commercial world, and in 75 different design variants no less! Powered by an overarching desire to ensure that comfort and intelligence remain at the forefront of A+D’s pursuit, the MR Chair exemplifies the scope of flexibility which contemporary design can achieve if only we continue to respond thoughtfully to changing cultural landscapes. Within the space of a generation, the commercial sector has shrugged off the affectations of leading through expertise and, instead, attempts to instil a generalist philosophy of collaboration and broad skill-set development. Consequently, never has flexibility, modularity and the tenets of agility in the workspace been in higher demand.



With a capacious shell seat and a host of base options to custom-suit any workspace, the unique design features of this deceptively simple piece allow the MR Chair to integrate seamlessly into a variety of spaces and sectors – from residential spaces, to hospitality projects and beyond. And this is certainly no small feat of accomplishment. Seeking endurance and top-shelf material quality, the MR Chair’s shell is cast in mineral fibre filled plastic – an extremely strong material innovation that redefines the spectrum of plastic’s materiality in industrial design. Of the product’s developmental and design process, Anton Schiavello – Schiavello’s Marketing and Design Director – stresses the exacting requirements of the design’s research and development cycle:


“The mixture took 3 years to develop, with a lot of trial and error and testing of materials to obtain the right amount of stability and flex in the seat back. Working with a laboratory allowed us to adjust the mineral levels and create an uncompromised mixture that achieved the strength and quality desired.”


Mario Ruiz’s pioneering innovation for the place of design in our working culture has attracted the attention of design lovers from all walks of life … including royalty. After being recently awarded the National Design Prize by the Spanish Royal Family for his ongoing contribution to the richness of Spain’s design culture, Ruiz’s design philosophy remains indisputably poignant:


“During the last 8 years, there has been a revolution in the way of working. Workers were previously more specialised and now the most valued are those who are able to solve tasks in different places and who interact well with other workers. […] MR Chair’s suite of options for the frame, the cushioning and the shell colour add up to 75 possible variants through which designers can respond to the particular functional and stylistic requirements of their project.”


With the growing trend for flexibility and warmth continuing to eschew traditional corporate stiffness in workplace design, organisations are grappling with the difficulty of expressing brand identity. Now seeking to re-infuse corporate identity back into these less obviously ‘corporate spaces’ beyond mere branding in logos and letterheads, the A+D community is working to re-imagine the design of capital-W Work’s extensive totality. Through the sheer range of 75 design variants (from 5 base options, innumerable upholstery finishes across leathers, vinyl, and fabrics, and powder coated hardware in any of Schiavello’s premium colours from the ColourLab suite) broadcasting brand identity through design lies at the core of the MR Chair’s guiding ethos.

But, stylish as it may be, Ruiz himself is keen to assert that pizazz – while attractive – is not and never will be the sole end-goal. After all, in his own words: “(f)or me, design has to help the object to do its mission: being useful.”

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