In November Dodds & Shute were invited to visit the factory of one of our favourite suppliers, De La Espada. Their dedicated factory in Northern Portugal located near the Silver Coast specialises in solid wood furniture craft steeped in tradition and innovation. They collaborate closely with a select group of talented designers (Neri&Hu, Autoban, Matthew Hilton, Studioilse and Luca Nichetto) which result in diverse yet aligned product families.
We saw the care that De La Espada put into hand selecting every piece of wood which is sourced from sustainable farms and is the highest grade of wood available. The trees on the farms are pruned regularly to allow for consistent grain patterns and fewer knots, ensuring exceptionally strong planks of the highest quality. Nevertheless this role requires an expert eye and careful assessment and only the best of the best is selected for use with rejected wood being used to power the factory. Once planks are considered to have sufficient structural integrity any knots and cracks are removed, wood with minor blemishes are reserved for undersides of products, while the most consistent planks are reserved for the most visible surfaces.
One of the most important roles in the factory is that of the man in charge of final assembly. After finishing and upholstery, it is the responsibility of one gentleman to combine all elements together. Having worked in all areas of the factory he has a deep understanding of the products, allowing him to make any final adjustments. He is essentially the first meticulously stage of quality control to ensure strict De La Espada standards are met.
It was deeply impressive to observe the skilful movements of the craftsmen and women as they constantly inspected the wood, through the various stages of selecting the timber, cutting, sanding, gluing assembling and finishing. The factory was a real blend of human experience combined with the new generation of computer driven machines. This modern 21st century craftsmanship beautifully reflects the De La Espada furniture, a combination of classic and contemporary for any purpose.