Alexander de Caires & Luis Santalla - Erasmus entrepreneurs

Success stories

Recent testimonies of successful business networking - Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs programme







New entrepreneur:
Alexander de Caires (United Kingdom)
Age: 28
Company name: exarchitectures.com (Start-up)
Sector of activity: Architectural, construction, engineering and inspection services


It's an exciting time for Galicia, as they transition to create more added value architectural wood products. I’m glad to have met the passionate people involved whilst collaborating with an innovative design and build studio Flu-or Arquitectura.


Host entrepreneur:
Luis Santalla (Spain)
Age: 33
Company website (13 years of experience)
Sector of activity: Architectural, construction, engineering and inspection services

Participating in the Erasmus program for young entrepreneurs has been an opportunity to meet Alex and discover his professional skills. His experience, his interests, and his ideas have enriched our projects. Above the professional point of view, we have achieved a good friendship.


Period of exchange: 07/2020 until 03/2021
Duration of exchange: 6 months

 

Results and benefits

 

3 new jobs created
2 new jobs created
1 new contract
2 new countries reached
1 new country reached
Galician Wood and Architecture

 

Alexander de Caires created Ex Architectures in 2019, a design and build studio combining performance, art, architecture, and woodwork making furniture and spaces that connect with people in new and unexpected ways. The studio collaborates with artists and designers whilst seeking sustainable timber sources in Galicia for its projects in London. Seeing the business opportunities that the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs programme offered, Alexander decided to apply as a New Entrepreneur. Luis Santalla, co-founder of Flu-or Arquitectura is an experienced entrepreneur, who has been leading this studio for more than thirteen years. Flu-or Arquitectura is a vibrant, creative, and well-established architecture studio based in the city of A Coruña, Spain; its work is sympathetic to the public as well as engaging with ephemeral forms of architecture. Luis felt the need to get in touch with innovative points of view and incorporate new ideas in his studio, thus decided to get on board with the EYE programme. Alexander found Flu-or and with Luis he realised that there was a strong connection between their work; he felt that a collaboration would be hugely beneficial for him to understand their working processes and the challenges they encounter through their innovative and often ephemeral design and build projects.



Working alongside Luis and the architecture studio Flu-or Arquitectura on a range of projects mostly based in Galicia. Alexander’s objective was to work on traditional Galician architectural rehabilitation and furniture design and build. Over the course of six months, he was pleased to be involved in many of these types of projects as well as renovations, new builds, and competition entries. In turn, Luis and his studio were also keen to involve Alexander in the different stages of each project. For this reason, he was able to take part in site visits client meetings material supplies competition presentations, and construction processes. In addition to the work with the studio, Alexander was also actively investigating and engaging with the wood industry in Galicia. This process began with a literature review to develop an initial understanding but quickly developed to meeting professionals, participating in workshops and courses, and visiting sawmills and manufacturers.



The first project they worked on together was a competition entry entitled ‘Telar’ for an architectural installation in the Teatro Valle-Inclan Madrid. First, they were shortlisted, then they presented the project and won the competition, after which they developed designs and constructed the installation on site. In addition to this physical outcome, Alexander gained a broad and extensive knowledge of wood as a material for construction, specifically of the Galician forestry and timber industry. As a result, both entrepreneurs are more able to specify and source products and they believe the contacts and knowledge they have gained will hugely benefit their practice and create opportunities in the future. The collaboration has also more recently been awarded the winning entry to design and building a bench for the London Festival of Architecture. This project includes a partnership with Finsa, a prominent wood supplier in Galicia who will be providing the wood for the project.



For more information, please contact the local contact points involved in the exchange:

New entrepreneur's contact point:
The British Library Business & IP Centre (London)

Host entrepreneur's contact point:
Cámara Oficial de Comercio, Industria, Servicios y Navegación de Santiago de Compostela (Santiago De Compostela)

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