It all began 100 years ago in the area of Aiguafreda, 40km from Barcelona, when Jaume Soldevila Canamasas set up his little carpenter’s workshop. His sons, Pere and Josep, stepped in after the war to carry on the business. And it was their striving that took Soldevila Construccions De Fusta from the old 400 sq.m building to a new plant of 1500 sq.m, sitting on the same site where the fourth generation of the family has overcome the market downswing and now faces the new international markets with modern machinery and unfaltering enthusiasm.
Today, Jordi Soldevila is the managing director of the company, boasting a surface area of 7500 sq.m and a team of 25 people, with a total turnover of more than 3.2 million Euros. Significant figures that are constantly growing, for a company focusing on interior design and decoration. A company that models the wood on request, to meet the customer’s individual needs. «We can produce any type of item in wood and structural work, - explains Jordi - whether it’s furniture, panels, doors, special furniture items, windows or wardrobe structures: in short, anything that uses wood and its derivatives as its raw material. We’re something of a rarity in this respect, because it’s hard nowadays to find companies able to manufacture any sort of element, starting from a piece of wood». From start to finish, a complete and painstaking service: «We cover the entire process, from design to construction and assembly. We can count on highly experienced technical staff, and we don’t just manufacture - we help the customer to design with 3D tools. That’s how we can arrive at an end product of the highest quality».
It’s a type of work that calls for concentration and enthusiasm, combining the accuracy of the machines with the artisan’s constant attention. «The labour operations accompany the entire manufacturing process, and even more so in the case of those special products that call for a specialised human eye in spite of the high levels of machine technology. There’s no substitute for the experience of a carpenter who has a lengthy knowledge of the market and knows how to combine hands and machines in the best possible way. That’s the only way to create elements like the basilica of the Sagrada Familia: something that’s one of its kind».
The majestic Catholic basilica, masterpiece of architect Antoni Gaudí who was a leading exponent of Catalan modernism, has become the artistic icon of Barcelona. It’s a must-see for over 3 million tourists who, despite the never-ending worksite that blocks the overall view, are left spellbound by its grandeur. «As a matter of fact, we’d been wanting to make our own contribution to the Sagrada Familia for a long time - says Jordi -. They called us because they were looking for a company able to create a very complex decoration, with sections and profiles that are hard to automate in a processing centre. And it was lucky for them that we had the 3D technology and expert technicians to design such a complex element and then automate and produce it». A challenge that Biesse was able to meet, supplying a processing centre fitted with suction cups: a decisive solution for transforming the basilica into a success, «because it allowed us to automate enormous and highly complex elements of its geometry. And, what’s more, Biesse has a branch in Spain so technicians are on hand to offer an excellent local service. That’s very important for a workshop like ours».
This particular commission was a fascinating but onerous challenge for Soldevila, not least because it wasn’t only a question of wood. «We had to combine the glass part with the wood part, and a company that works with Intermac machines helped us with this aspect. And so the staff at the Sagrada Familia understood we were able to handle both wood and glass at the same time. That’s why they decided to work with us». Technical know-how and technological skills went hand-in-hand, guided by computerised calculations and simulations perfected to the last millimetre. It’s the power of the software, in Jordi’s opinion: «Without that, it’s practically impossible to produce works like this church. Software allows you to give a shape and drawing to elements that are difficult even to imagine and, obviously, impossible for a worker to automate in front of his machine. And minimising the errors at the same time». The result is genuine perfection, bringing together the warmth of wood and the captivating heritage that history hands down to us.
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