5 Minutes With... Nina Masó
How did the journey with Santa & Cole begin?
Nina Masó (NM) More than three decades ago, my husband and I decided to combine our creative talents with my friend Javier Nieto Santa to launch our own design editing company. I was an interior designer, while my husband, Gabriel Ordeig Cole, was a designer and artist; the two of us had collaborated on a lot of restaurants and nightclubs in our hometown of Barcelona.
Back then, the city’s dining scene was undergoing a bit of a revolution, and we had a particularly warm light that became very popular with restaurants like El Boliche, Al Dente and the Bijou cocktail bar. Gradually, our work became recognised in other cities including New york and Paris, and in 1985 our company was formally launched as Santa & Cole.
You work with more than 80 internationally acclaimed designers and a lot of their ideas take years to develop. Can you tell us more about your collaborative process?
NM One way is that the designer comes to us with an idea and we develop it with them—it becomes a collaboration between their creativity and our knowledge of the market. Otherwise, we’ll think about what kind of light we feel we need and then commission a designer to come up with a concept. In either case, the most important thing is always the end product, not the name of the designer attached to it.
(Related: 5 Minutes With... Jean-Marie Massaud)
How would you describe your role within the company?
NM As well as being co-founder of Santa & Cole, I am the publisher for our books and the curator for our design team—they’re actually similar roles that require me to hand-pick what Santa & Cole is about. Being in the company for more than 30 years gives me the unique ability to ensure that what we produce is timeless—we don’t and have never wanted to be about fashionable products, and there is always a sense of continuity in what we produce.
Can you tell us a little more about the Cestita range?
NM Cestita is our newest baby and is actually a reworking of the iconic Cesta lamp by Miguel Milá. This latest version is wireless and more portable than the original, and it’s also softer, warmer and more tactile. It’s a classic example of what we do at Santa & Cole—revisiting old friends and bringing them up to date so that they continue to feel cutting-edge.
Santa & Cole is available at W.Atelier.
This story was adapted from Singapore Tatler Homes February-March 2018.