Sancal Envisions the Future with New Futura Collection

05.03.16 | By
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On October 4, 1957, when the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1, the world’s collective mind was blown. Suddenly things that had previously seemed impossible were within reach. Designers and artists were inspired to create work that responded to this new landscape of possibility. In the ensuing 59 years, we seem to have become a little jaded. There’s just so much technology and newness that we no longer astonished by it. With Futura, Spanish design firm Sancal wanted to bring back that sense of excitement that designers once felt when confronted with the possibilities of this new final frontier.

And so, the Futura collection looks back at the way the future was imagined by 1960s in the fashions of Rabanne, Cousard and Cardind, in the designs of Aarnio and in the architecture of Niemeyer and translates that ’60s Futurism into an entirely new brand of modern design. It’s definitely meta.

When you look at the furniture made by Sancal, it might be a little difficult to imagine that a brand with such a strong foundation in modern design actually began by making classic 18th century French Louis XVI chairs. Santiago Castaño was only twenty years old when he set up shop in a rickety old garage and began manufacturing classic French chairs for clients in northern Spain. “Back then I was a one man band,” Santiago remembered, “I drew the plans, created the templates, cut, sewed, upholstered, visited suppliers and customers”. The quality of the chairs attracted so many customers that Santiago soon enlisted the help of his brother Pepe and his wife Concha. Today, the company is entirely a family-run business, and even counts five members of the next generation amongst its ranks.


But this isn’t a family that spends a lot of time mulling over the past. They use their knowledge of past design traditions to push them into the future. And to do just that, the Castaño-Capena family called upon some of their favorite design studios to join them in envisioning the future of design as seen through a 1960s lens.


Futura Collection Concept Board

There was a wealth of material for designers to draw upon for their design inspiration—both the reality of the Space Race and the fictional imagination that grew up around it (like 2001 A Space Odyssey and Star Trek). But this isn’t simply a rehashing of vintage ideas. It’s a bold reinterpretation of ’60s Futurism. To capture the spirit of futurism, Sancal created a short film:

The retro-futuristic theme of the Futura Collection is perfectly encapsulated in the limited edition collection of Futura Objects by Número26. Artists José Ángel Rodríguez Corral and Miriam Hernández Ros were given the challenge of imagining decorative arts objects as they might be seen through the eyes of a designer at the dawn of the Space Age.



Regular objects—from ping pong paddles to coffee makers—become mirrors with “Through the Looking Glass”.


With Space Classics, we see beautiful Greek-style heads, busts and strange beasts adorned with makeup and a space helmet for their upcoming cosmic trip.


The collection of objects also includes this ironic take on the chemical industry and its impact on haute cuisine.

The Futura furniture and décor series consists of a core collection of seven designer collections from tables to seating to textiles.

Sancal Futura Table DÚPLEX by Mut[/caption]


For their first collaboration with Sancal, the Valencian studio Mut created a small collection of occasional tables that were inspired by the architecture of Mies van der Rohe and Frank Lloyd Wright. The tables are designed to work separately but also to create an architectural waterfall, when layered on top of each other. They are part of studio’s philosophy of recreating everyday objects and elevating them from the simple and mundane to the iconic.


Sancal Futura Upholstery

TONELLA by Note Design Studio


Sancal started when then 20-year-old Santiago Castaño began manufacturing classic French Louis XVI chairs. For their first collaboration with Stockholm-based design studio, Note, wanted to create a design that referenced that very first chair, but also respects the company’s Spanish heritage. The curved back of the Tonella recalls those classic French chairs, while Spanish wine barrels were the inspiration for the base.


Sancal Futura Tables

TORTUGA by Nadadora


Inspired by the slow, stately pace of the tortoise, design studio Nadadora created a chair that is reminiscent of a shell that one can curl into and withdraw from the world. The chair, Tortguga, Spanish for tortoise, rotates allowing you to explore the world from the safety of your warm, cozy, and soft shell. There is also series of matching tables of the same name.



If this is what the future looks like, we want a spot on the spaceship!

See the rest of the Futura collection on

Amy Azzarito is the author of "Nest: The Secret History of Things that Make a House a Home" forthcoming in 2020.