Established in 1999, Lievore Altherr Molina is a Spanish design practice of a truly global nature – both in its client base and the cultural roots of its three principals, who met in Barcelona.
Alberto Lievore, the company’s founding head, was born in Argentina in 1948 and studied architecture at the University of Buenos Aires.
In 1972, he opened Hipótesis, a furniture showroom selling his own designs, but a few years later was forced to move to Spain to escape the political situation in Argentina at the time.
He formed Grupo Berenguer in 1977 with Norbeto Chaves and later Daniel Perrando, Jorge Pensi and Oriol Pibernat.
Lievore set out on his own in 1984, forming Alberto Lievore & Associados, but remained very close to Jorge Pensi, with whom he set up the SIDI project in conjunction with On Diseno magazine. SIDI became the major platform for Spanish design.
In 1989, Jeanette Altherr, who had studied industrial design in Darmstadt, Germany, was pursuing further study in Barcelona when she met Lievore and joined his studio.
The third partner, Manel Molina, is a Barcelona native, who had studied artinterior and industrial design at Barcelona’s EINA design school.
Around this time, the group designed the ‘Manolete’ armchair for Perobell: it was a throne-like, one-armed upholstered chair that has become an icon of Spanish design.
A name change in 1999 – to Lievore Altherr Molina – recognised the newer partners, and the group has since gone from strength to strength.
Represented by leading Spanish manufacturers Andreu World, Perobell and Sellex, Lievore Altherr Molina also designs furniture for Italian companies Casamilano, Bellato, Arper, Tacchini and Verzelloni. Its strong affinity with timber hasn’t prevented the group from exploring other possibilities.
The firm’s ‘Rothko’ chair, from 1994, was made to exploit a new ecological material called Madéron, a composite material from nut shells and resins that could be moulded just like plastic. The trio has also explored outdoor public seating made from industrial mud and won awards for its metal-rod ‘Leaf’ furniture for Arper.
Lievore Altherr Molina’s work can be summarised as quietly elegant and contemporary – fitting into interiors rather than seeking attention. The trio designs mainly for European furniture manufacturers but also, more recently, for American company Bernhardt Design.
Best known for…
The early pieces are little known outside of Spain, but the company’s international profile has grown with its work for Andreu World, with the ‘RDL’, ‘Ronda’ and ‘Smile’ (pictured) chairs being added to the brand’s collection.
Successful products for Arper – the polypropylene ‘Catifa’ chairs and wire ‘Leaf’ (pictured) outdoor pieces – show the firm’s versatility.
Lievore Altherr Molina has achieved many honours, including the Spanish National Design Award in 1999, and more recently, the group’s ‘Smile’ for Andreu World was named Best Dining Chair by Wallpaper magazine in 2008.