Over the next few weeks, Mood Board Magazine will be bringing you a series of interviews from the most inspirational designers and entrepreneurs. For this first edition, I sat down with Bonadea founder, Gemma Martinez de Ana. Her line of products -a fusion between accessible luxury and luxury- has caught our eye, and her story too.
1.Mood Board Magazine: “Tell us a little about your background: who is the woman and entrepreneur behind Bonadea?
Gemma Martinez de Ana: I come from a small town in the North of Spain. I have always been passionate about food and being around a table with my loved ones. The role these pieces played in family gatherings – lunches, dinners and parties – forged a deep emotional connection and understanding of how beautiful design can be used to help celebrate the day-to-day occasions we all have in our lives, how it can become part of our own expression and family make up.
As a child, reading books really pushed me to travel and study abroad. When it comes to design, my most influential experience was probably living in Milan, where my spare time would be dedicated to discovering the architecture, arts and history of the city. I love travelling, and I would always pick my favorite items while visiting different countries. My desire to make those unique pieces available to a larger audience inspired me to launch Bonadea.
Fuerstenberg’s ‘My China’ cup, Manfred Limited Edition Gold Hare, Sieger by Fuerstenberg’s crocodile knife rest. Photocredit: Sarah Barlondo for Mood Board Magazine
2.MBM: What is the meaning behind the name?
GM: The actual name, Bonadea, is a Greek Goddess and the name itself means “the Good Goddess”.
Bona Dea ([bɔ.na ˈde.a] “The Good Goddess”
3.MBM: Were you already working in design before Bonadea?
GM: My background is actually in tech. I had a rally entrepreneurial role, and both my experiences in the UK and Italy, really pushed me to move forward with this project.
“As a child, reading books pushed me to go and study abroad”
4.MBM: Tell us about one of your exclusive pieces?
GM: This candelabra by French-Lebanese designer Carla Baz. She has created this piece exclusively for us. After training with Zaha Hadid and Vivienne Westwood she then decided to go on her own.
The reason why I wanted to show you this candelabra, is not just because it is incredibly well designed, but it is also about the ethic behind it. It is artisanally made in Lebanon, and it generates work locally. You can see how in the UK, Spain and France for example, mass production is affecting so many artisans that end up losing their trade. For me it is extremely important to preserve that craft, those skills and give them the exposure they deserve.
5. MBM: How do you select your products?
GM: We hand-select every single piece that is available online for its combination of unique design and uncompromising quality, just like I used to do while traveling. Take the Parure Plate (below) for example, it’s by Marie Daâge, a French designer based in Paris. Marie Daâge mixes the pigments herself and paints everything by hand, you wouldn’t be able to find these unique pieces in department stores.
6.MBM: As a woman how do you feel working in the design industry?
GM: I do think that the design world is for women. Sometimes women are not equally recognized in male dominated industries, but I am very much inspired by the country I live in, where the 3 most powerful positions are taken by women; the Queen, the Prime Minister and the head of the Metropolitan Police.
“I dont believe in buying nice things, storing them and using them once a year.”
7. MBM: Do you get involved in the design process of exclusive pieces?
GM: I try to interfere as little as possible. I have conversations with the designers but then, I want them to be free with their creativity.
8. MBM: What is your price range?
GM: At Bonadea we showcase the finest decorative pieces and luxury tableware, we also offer bespoke and customized product, all of which are hand-crafted using noble materials, so from a price point of view, we are very much in the luxury market range.
9.MBM: Do you have a role model?
GM: Through my life, I have always looked up to other people. I think it is important to have examples and aspirations, from Natalie Massenet to Lauren Santo Domingo, their achievements have inspired me, but my biggest role models have been my grandparents, without a doubt.
10. MBM: And finally, where can our readers find your products? And in how many countries are you currently available?
GM: We ship worldwide and you can order online through our website. We also work with interior designers and the trade industry on residential and commercial projects.
Gemma’s passion for design transpires through the quality her range of products has to offer. Witnessing Gemma’s genuine interest in preserving craftsmanship was truly inspirational. Her work and ethic brings light on artisans that put their heart and soul into creating the most unique pieces, which we hope you will enjoy as much as we do.