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Shop Talk: Simone Et Marcel

Simone et Marcel, founded by the creative duo Javier and Charlotte, crafts striking and timeless lighting pieces from natural and organic materials. Their ultra-minimalist designs focus on exceptional quality and contrasting elements.

In a charming village in Castilla La Mancha, the couple found the perfect location to bring their vision to life amidst picturesque landscapes. They transformed an abandoned agricultural warehouse into a vibrant workshop where their creativity flourishes. Collaborating with local artisans, they maintain complete control over the assembly process, blending the art of design and manufacturing under one roof.

Tell us a little about your background.

Javier is a Spanish mechanical engineer whose early dream was to work for a big car company. As he was looking for a job in this industry in the US, he realized most car companies requested US citizenship to apply, so he started to look at other companies around his home. He spotted a beautiful brick factory and passed by to see if they were looking for an engineer. He got his first job as a design engineer in an American lighting manufacturer, and from then, he expanded his skills year after year until managing a full lighting factory in the UK.

I, Charlotte, graduated with a master's degree in business supply chain. I met Javier while studying abroad in the US. We fell in love and I followed him where he had been working for 8 years. We have been living in LA, in China, France, and finally, in the UK. In each country, I worked in a different industry, from logistics to manufacturing, the food industry, and finally, in a marketing company.

When living in the UK, we started making furniture as a hobby for our personal house. We quickly realized that we enjoyed these little projects together. Our skills were very complementary, and the result of our hard work was very successful amongst our friends and family, so we thought why not start a business together. Thanks to Javier’s knowledge of the lighting industry, we started to design and make lamps.

Tell us about your current line and the craftmanship involved.

Our line is timeless, enhancing the authenticity of natural and organic materials using associations and contrasts. Extreme quality hides behind a facade of ultra-minimalism. We find our materials at the source to ensure we give the best value to our products. We balance simplicity and exception with geometries that marry, repeat, multiply, layer, and accumulate.

The raw material transformation is done either by us or by local artisans. The lighting manufacture is entirely done in our factory, in Consuegra, Toledo.

What/who is currently inspiring you?

Anything inspires us. We believe creativity is the ability to transform a thing into a completely different thing with a common thread. This thread could be a colour or material association, a shape, or a movement. Our designs were inspired by monuments, people, food, everyday objects, or even cartoon characters. Creativity is the way we process the things that surround us.

What do you listen to when you’re working/creating?

Ideas come in unexpected moments, we rarely sit in an office when creating, so we are not listening to anything. Creation starts with a drawing on the back of a receipt or any paper we find at the moment. Then, if the other likes the idea, we will proceed to a 3D drawing and manufacturing thoughts on how to make it happen. Once the manufacturing process is under control, we usually work listening to podcasts (Acquired, How I Built This, Lex Friedman, Formula for Success (Javier), The Minimalist podcast (Charlotte)).

What’s in your “culture queue” (music, books, film, exhibits, etc.)?

We just had a baby six months ago, so to be honest, we kind of disconnected from all the recent cultural activity.

What’s your favorite city?

Not one but many, Here are Charlotte’s favourites:
Paris (for its beauty)
London (for the food/nightlife)
New York (for the vibe)
Hong Kong (for a cultural shock)
Asturias, not a country but a province in Spain (for the beach and nature)
Madrid (for the quality of life)

Do you have a go-to outfit/uniform when you work?

Not really. The temperature in the center of Spain is very extreme (both hot and cold), so we give priority to comfort over the design. Everybody wears what they feel like.

What can’t you live without?

My computer, I love to work.

What are you most excited about this year?

We are moving to a new house and a bigger factory.