Jorge Pensi

Barcelona, Spain

Regarded as one of Spain’s leading designers, Jorge Pensi originally hails from Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he was born (1946) and educated in architecture (1971). Soon after graduating, Pensi fled Argentina’s military dictatorship for Catalonia, where, after procuring citizenship in 1977, he established Grupo Berengeur, a Barcelona-based design agency, along with compatriot architect-designer Alberto Liévore and theorists Norberto Chaves and Oriol Pibernat. The group enjoyed a frenetic and varied output, engaging in pedagogical work as well as furniture design for a range of clients. 

In 1984, Grupo Berengeur splintered, and Pensi and Liévore went solo, establishing their own eponymous firms in Barcelona. Specializing in furniture and lighting design, as well as brand and event staging consultation, Pensi’s firm quickly came to be seen as a leader in contemporary Spanish design. Pensi’s work aimed at a timeless minimalism and purity of form tinged with a warm, expressive sensuality. His cast-aluminum Toledo Chair (1988), produced by Amat and, later, by Knoll Inc. / Knoll International, became an instant design classic; it’s only design from Spain that’s found in Vitra’s “Design Masterpieces” collection. Other standout designs include his cleverly svelte Regina and Olympia Billar Lamps for Spanish lighting manufacturer B.LUX (both 1988); as well as his cast-aluminum and lacquered wood Orfilia Chair for Thonet (1989). 

Into the 1990s and 2000s, Pensi continued to broaden his worldwide base of clients, collaborating on designs for Kusch+Co (¡Hola!, 1993), Akaba (Gorka, 1993, which is often compared to the modernist work of Danish master Arne Jacobsen), Disform (Glassbox, 1995), Punt Mobles (Temps Chair, 1997), Cassina (Artico and Duna, 1998), and Mobles 114 (Gimlet, 2003, which won a 2004 Good Design Award). Along the way, he garnered his adopted country’s most esteemed design honor—the 1997 Spanish National Design Prize for outstanding professional achievement.

Today still feverishly active, Pensi is, as of writing, working with Inorca (Colombia), Akaba (Spain), Resol (Spain), Estel (Italy), Pedrali (Italy), and OFS Brands (USA).