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5 Minutes With… Nina Maso

One of the founders of Spanish furniture and lighting brand Santa and Cole shares the company’s ‘editorial’ process and her thoughts on product fairs today.

5 Minutes With… Nina Maso

Nina Maso (left) and Blancowhite table (right)


February 2nd, 2018

Santa & Cole is an editing company from Barcelona, Spain.” So describes the brand’s website. Founded in 1985, Santa & Cole produces (or in the brand’s own description – ‘publishes’) furniture and lighting products. Flying from Barcelona to Singapore to celebrate the opening of retailer partner W. Atelier‘s newly refurbished Bukit Timah showroom was Nina Maso, one of Santa & Cole’s ‘publishers’ and ‘editors’. We’ve asked her to share more.

You call yourself as an ‘editor’ and Santa & Cole as ‘publisher’. Why?

It’s because we don’t manufacture our products ourselves, we don’t have a factory of our own. Publishers have editors, they sell books, they select the authors – it’s the same for us, but for design. We choose the product, or in the case that we need a particular product then we would choose a suitable designer. And we are open to making a lot of different products, with a lot of different materials.

Some people think that by manufacturing your own products, you would have a greater freedom to market them or form a more cohesive collection – why didn’t Santa & Cole?

In our opinion, it’s the exact opposite. If you have a factory then you are linked to a technology. For example, what would happen if you have a factory for lighting with bulbs? And then the technology changes into LED, you have to adapt the factory, which is very costly. For us when it happens, we just change suppliers and then we can adapt to everything, and this way we can use many different materials as well. For example, we engaged four or five suppliers to produce our lamps. If we had a factory it would be impossible to make this.

How does Santa & Cole’s editorial process work?

Maybe similar to yours with your magazine! Editing for us means selecting and perfecting. We have an editorial committee, which I am a part of, and we decide which proposals make it into our catalogue. It’s important that these products share the same philosophy. The first of the most important things for us is the function and second, the emotion they generate – they must make you excited! We’ve had designers coming in just with drawings on a napkin but the concept made you go ‘wow’ so we got our technical and editorial teams together and we created a product from it.

What do your Asian clients expect or demand from your brand? Is it different from clients everywhere else?

Santa & Cole clients are the same around the world. They want beautiful, warm lighting. They want it artisanal and handmade but also high quality, with visual comfort and timelessness. I don’t think the way you appreciate lighting objects is different here.

Can you share some development or technology in the lighting world that excites you the most?

LED for sure! It’s a very big transformation. It opens new possibilities because you now have lights embedded in furniture and small things, like our Blancowhite table. Our Sin light for example – sin means ‘without’ in Spanish – is designed without a shade thanks to LED, which is integrated into the ring.

How do you find the short production cycle of furniture fairs today, where you have to launch something every year and compete with all these big brands?

I don’t like it. We have very good products. For me when I go to Euroluce or all these other exhibitions I came back knowing what I don’t want to do and what not to do. Then I take my time to think. Maybe in one year, we will have three new products and 18 the next. It’s important to be excited for each of them. I’ve had a young designer sending me a proposal because he thinks it fits our catalogue because it’s similar to the existing collection. I don’t need similar, I need different – I need personality for each of our products.


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