The year 2017 is the 175th anniversary of the foundation of Sagaseta, a true landmark in furniture and interior design in Pamplona. To celebrate the event, we spoke with Ana Sagaseta, who, jointly with her brother Juan, represents the youngest generation leading the company. We asked her about her relationship with the family tradition to find out what the keys to the company’s success had been in their process of adapting to changes and reinventing Sagaseta over all these years. We also asked her how the bulthaup brand joined the company on its path.
We know that Sagaseta was established in 1841. Could you tell us how it developed from then on?
Yes, that was when the company was established as a cabinetmaker’s workshop. In the early 20th century, my great-grandfather Juan Sagaseta started signing his made-to-order furniture with his own brand name. In 1940, my grandfather Agustín bought a building on Calle Mayor, the main street in Pamplona, right across the street from the small original workshop, aiming to expand the shop’s floor space, given the increase in furniture demand after the Spanish Civil War. My father inherited the family furniture business from his father in the 1960s.
At the beginning, my mother joined the business as an assistant, but her entrepreneurial spirit and her open-minded attitude quickly drove her to take charge of the business, renewing and updating it. While she handled the showroom and sales, my father was responsible for the company’s administration. My mother went to the Milan and Cologne fairs and started importing furniture from Italy, from Denmark… She would travel by car, sometimes even without hotel reservations; if she thought there was something she had to see, she would do whatever it took to get there. In fact, at the age of 80, she still visits the Milan Furniture Fair every year, and we spend a week there–in more comfortable lodgings, I must say. With her passion for the world of furniture and of aesthetics in general, our mother set the course that Juan and I–her children–continued from the 1990s on.
How would you define the secret of Sagaseta’s success?
For our family, success consists of being able to continue working on new projects and keeping the company alive and active. Each generation has been capable of acknowledging the value of what those before it had achieved, but all have contributed something and continued the effort to improve, renew and renovate untiringly.
How did your passion for bulthaup arise?Do you remember your first contact with the brand?
In 1990, when I finished my studies and started getting involved in the family business, my mother suggested that I go see the bulthaup kitchens that were being introduced in Spain for the first time. She was in love with bulthaup kitchens, which were entirely different from the rest at that time. They were very functional and beautiful, with those blues, greens, dark greys and a series of wonderful light wood veneers. Those were the kitchens we wanted for our homes.
What is your relationship with kitchens, gastronomy and cooking? What role does the kitchen have in your daily life?
For me, my home is a refuge and the kitchen is its central space. It’s where I spend most time alone, with my family, and when we get together with friends. We really value the quality of the ingredients we use and a simple way of cooking them. My kitchen is big and full of light, with windows facing north and east so the light comes in when I’m having breakfast, and a large table where we share wonderful moments.
Do you have bulthaup at home? What product did you choose, and why?
Definitely! What else would I have? If there were another brand I liked better, I’d have no doubts, but there is none! In our home, we wanted to do something different. I have two spaces. One we use for storage, pantry, with the refrigerators, biofresh, and a big freezer. The other space is the kitchen-dining area, with a big table and a seven-meter long line of bulthaup b3 base units with lots of cabinet space for pots and pans, cutlery, etc. Everything is very well organized, each thing has its place. Being such an ample space, and given that I already had a few bulthaup steel units from a few years back, we decided to make a composition combining different materials and colors, a collage of sorts with saw-cut wood, high-gloss lacquers in shades of cayenne, clay, grey and white, and a beautiful 1 cm-thick stainless steel countertop.
How do the bulthaup brand values fit in among your customers in Pamplona?
Navarra is a region where people value materials that are long-lasting, understated, functional, high-quality… and, needless to say, beautiful as well! That’s bulthaup. We have a loyal customer base; they are people we know well, who share these values and don’t tend to yield to passing trends. They prefer quality, durability, timelessness. The community that arises around the company shows up to all the events we organize; we aim to broaden this community over time.
What bulthaup product line do you sell most in your showroom?
bulthaup b1 for white kitchens, and b3 when we use materials such as sand beige aluminum or the new laser-edge finish in gravel and clay colors.
Is there a project that you feel particularly proud of?
We have designed about 600 kitchens over 25 years. There are some that I feel very proud of. It usually happens when the architecture fits in perfectly with the layout and the materials used for the furniture.
What is the decisive factor for buying a bulthaup kitchen among your customers?
If a couple wants to install a high-quality kitchen in their home, it’s important that they know bulthaup. They will find something different in a very appealing space. If, in addition, they find good advice, people they get along with easily, and a fitting team that does everything within its power to achieve the best result… then the decision’s easy!
What is your typical customer like, if there is one?
The customer whose priorities are quality and good service. The process of selling and installing a bulthaup kitchen requires a very close relationship and an affinity with each customer.
Has that relationship ever become the beginning of a beautiful friendship?
In general, we have very warm relationships with all our customers. We are lucky enough to deal with delightful people with whom we have friendships that go back many years. Some of these relationships actually continue with their children when they grow up. That’s the best praise we could ever ask for!