Ideas, like large rivers, never have just one source.
Willy Ley, rocket scientist (1906 -1969)
In common with many successful companies, Panespol® lifted off from just one great basic idea.
But unless you want to fall out of the sky, you cannot stop there.
To maintain your impetus, ideas must keep coming.
So, just where do the ideas come from for Panepol’s ever-increasing, chameleonic range wall-coverings?
The firm’s creative leader, José Juan Leva Candela, admits to being constantly surprised by his sources for new textures and finishes or from where decisions arrive on what familiar surfaces from our surroundings or pasts to turn into super-realistic, best-selling imitations.
“What will prove successful often comes from the strangest inspiration, not from something out there you can see,”
says the managing director.
“Forms and finishes change,”
“and trends surprise. So you need the power of invention.”
Invention was most certainly the power behind Panespol’s initial thrust, when at the turn of the century José Juan launched his polyurethane wall covering panels, astounding the market with a durable, light, easy-to-apply system that effectively replaces all the breakable, unworkably heavy, and labour-intensive products produced to cover the same surfaces.
José Juan must constantly respond to trends and that most fickle of forces, fashion, as he answers the wishes of an entire retail and contract design sector for easy solutions to revamping spaces in locations ranging from shopping centre stores to hotels,
“One trend fades, and another comes in strong…or it moves from place to place geographically. Satisfying shifting trends, from the shock of the new to unpredictable revivals, is an international game,”
says the MD.
José Juan is a man who travels a lot, although slightly slower than your average jet-setter, for this company leader loves to go by train, looking out on changing landscapes, taking in cities and towns, thrilling to the rivers and mountains he counts among his favourite enjoyments.
“When I travel, I get a good idea of trends, and then my mind lights up in a flash and I have something new,”
“Trains are superb. I love meeting people and having great conversations. I go all round Europe by train. The journey from Zurich to Milan is fantastic.”
A man of unpretentious tastes in decor and food, he prefers his restaurants to be “neither too light nor too dark”, while he prizes “practicality, spacious sleeping quarters, and minimalism” in hotels.
New ideas travel back with José Juan to the workshop, and then they need to be thought through, developed, and challenged by market demand. Ultimately, the success of an idea is determined by the customer and, for a company that listens patiently to what the customer requires, feedback is a key source of inspiration.
“An idea may come from the client, and that can be a very welcome surprise…but trends are also surprising and difficult to read,”
“Right now we are experiencing a trend in concrete finishes. Who knows if it will last two years, or much longer? After years of showing off natural brick, who would have thought people would suddenly want stark, white brick?”
Meanwhile, over thousands of kilometres of rail track, this company MD will calmly wait to welcome new ideas into his head, walking along the street in Milan or Paris, having a coffee in Zurich or chatting with a complete stranger in Barcelona or Madrid…or, who knows, back in his office sitting talking on his phone to you, the client.