28 July 2020
Exactly a hundred years ago, José Pons Pedro started to build his great dream on his return from Argentina, having emigrated, alone, in search of life experiences and fortune, and where he had also learned how to weave wicker and other natural fibres such as rattan. So, in 1920, once back in his native village, Gata de Gorgos, Spain, he laid the first stone of his dream: creating a family and a business, that would somehow add up to one, solid reality.
Now, a whole century on, the original drive and enthusiasm remain undimmed. Ever resourceful, José Pons Pedro set up a workshop specialising in chairs, but with other catalogue products available, such as lamps, sewing boxes and decorative hall furnishings. He also taught wickerwork to many of his fellow citizens and the village of Alicante soon became known as a specialist natural fibre processing area, promoting a flourishing craft which is still one of the specialities and attractions of the area. The large logistics centre in Jalón –11 km from Gata de Gorgos – also helped to breathe new life into the local economy. In fact the motivation for the 2019 National Design Award from the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities, presented to the four Pons brothers, representing the third generation of the family, was for the company’s “contribution to improving society and quality of life for all.”
The common thread running through this century-old story of entrepreneurship is the “urge” to design, the real driver of the company’s continued growth. The idea of expanding the business first came up in the Fifties, leading to the setting up of a new rattan weaving unit. The founder’s son, Juan Bautista Pons, brought in all the best hand-weavers, and the transition from workshop to business was assured. During the Sixties, thanks to Gabriel Pons’s creative flair, the aesthetics and functions of furnishings were redefined, and the range of colours and materials increased, along with trials of innovative combinations of wicker and other materials. With a five hundred-strong team, the company began to be seen as a point of reference for design and the outdoor sector. Its great bet on design paying off, the brand began to break through into the international markets: from America, where the first assembly plant outside Spain was opened, to Germany, France, the UK and then, during the Seventies, in the Middle East and Central America and North Africa.
The great crisis of the Eighties brought new opportunities for growth and diversification. The South East Asian countries’ ban on exports of raw materials, especially rattan, in favour of semi-finished or finished products, meant that the company had to rethink its own manufacturing processes, leading to the opening of its first Asian factory, in Vietnam. It also began to research new materials, culminating in the Nineties with the development of Shintotex, a new recyclable, extremely hardwearing and flexible synthetic fibre with all the qualities of natural fibres, and which now accounts for 90% of its production. The company has a keen interest in environmental protection matters, which are a key pillar of company policy. Its operational base has been totally energy self-sufficient since 2008, and all its materials are fully recyclable, including the wood that is sourced from sustainable, controlled forests. Teak, in particular, is favoured, for its elevated content of oily and resinous substances, making for greater flexibility and durability.
Its great commitment to design and innovative spirit have made Point stand out for the excellence of its manufacture of outdoor furniture, which is particularly time and weather-resistant. There are now more than 40 collections, 300 catalogue items, 1,000 projects exported to 70 different countries, and presences in Europe, the United States, Asia and the Middle East. The key to its success, as the Pons family has often said, is the fact that they “have been, and continue to be, manufacturers.”
The Point story is one of cross-cutting skills, the master craftsmen’s vast knowledge of raw materials (many of the families who work for the company have done so for generations) dovetails with the innovation channelled by the architects and designers, such as Mario Ruiz who was recruited as art director in 2016. The collections reflect this mix of skills – on one hand there is the classic know-how that embodies the spirit of the Pons family and its leanings towards traditional, more classical design, resting on the processing of natural fibres – as in the Alga and Charleston collections, the latter an echo of the Twenties, and the iconic Emmanuelle armchair. On the other, however, the products have assumed more contemporary lines, thanks to the collaborations with international designers – see the multi-award-winning Weave collection from Vicent Martínez, inspired by the nest-building of the Baya weaverbirds, and Francesc Rifé’s FUP family of essentially simple, perfectly round pouffes. Then there are Christophe Pillet’s three collections, which include sofas, cord chairs and benches that would look every bit as good in an indoor setting.
Point furniture embodies the Mediterranean spirit, simple but solid, and its love of outdoor living, with style and comfort that trigger emotions and feelings, just like a glorious sunset over the “Mare Nostrum.” Chaise-longues, chairs, armchairs, easy chairs, sofas, shells, tables and coffee tables appeal to an international clientele that prizes beauty and elegance, luxury and innovation – the same qualities that mark out the exclusive resorts and hotels for which Point furnishings have been chosen – from the Four Seasons to the W, to the Shangri-La, The Langham and the Hyatt Regency by way of Dubai, Paris, London, Miami, the Americas, India, Australia and Oceania.
A hundred years of a dream become reality, whilst remaining an infinite dream, pointing towards the future.