Light my life

Introducing Hidalgo Monci the studio of David Hidalgo

How long have you been in business?

The first project emerged 35 years ago as Hidalgo Monci Iluminación. I joined the project with Fuerza y Luz when I was finishing my degree 22 years ago. Despite being two different companies, both share lighting projects especially in the area of Marbella where we are best known.

Why illumination? What attracted you to this line of work?

My grandfather started in the electrical equipment sector 50 years ago as a representative. Every morning he would take his suitcase full of pegs, plugs, etc. and he drove through the villages selling from door to door. The business started to get better and better until he managed to set up his own warehouse, But after about 20 years he joined them too. The company grew in Marbella, Madrid and Melilla until in the 90’s when it went through a serious crisis. At the same time my grandfather had bought a store, where he began his journey with Fuerza y Luz as a parallel business. Once Electricidad Hidalgo began to die, my father took the reins of Fuerza y Luz until he could also re-launch Electricidad Hidalgo with another nearby store.

During this time I finished my studies in Economics, which I combined in helping in both family businesses. I started doing job interviews and I got selected at a Bank. When they called to offer me the position, I realized that I didn’t want to work for anyone.

I met with the family and asked for the freedom to develop the business. It was clear that they didn’t want a lamp shop but a design center for lighting projects. I started to train in the sector visiting European fairs, I studied lighting calculation software, and I visited important manufacturers, with the aim of growing the business. I wanted above all to introduce the creative element in the business, be closer to design and architecture. Little by little the store that I was working in, Hidalgo Monci, began to grow within the lighting sector. So much so, that the family finally gave me all the commercial responsibility. I created a team to strengthen the design part with architects and interior designers. In this process I contacted a group of architects who also carried out international projects, which allowed me to work in Angola, Miami, England and southern France. All this consolidated us as a brand in the Marbella area. Today we are partners of Marmorin Design Center, a large design showroom in the middle of the golden mile that brings together different sectors of high-end interior design.

What is the importance of illumination?

We don’t like to answer that question. It´s the end customers that need to realize the importance of lighting in a project. Lighting has the ability to change and enhance a low budget project a priority, in the same way that you can take on a much more ambitious project if you do not have the right professionals. It is a very delicate and subtle element that requires a lot of involvement since it evolves at the speed of light and contains a very strong technological component. It´s key because it´s related to architecture, furniture and especially to the person.

What do you consider the most important principal of design?

In the first place, it´s to capture the perception, the desire or the need of the final customer, to be able to achieve the final result and adapt to the budget. Many times it makes you more creative. And above all, try to obtain the freedom to develop your own creativity. We have created our own label that does not have to please everyone but it allows us to innovate. When we manage to incorporate our own style in our projects we work in a much more complete way.

What are the key elements you consider when coordinating an installation?

The human element is fundamental. We are lighting designers but not installers. Hence the importance of communication with the team that will materialize our projects. The feeling both with the architects and with the final workers is essential.

 

Would you consider your installations works of art?

I wouldn’t call them works of art. I do consider that some of our projects contain a very important artistic component. But lighting is only part of a project in which many people participate and the final responsible is the architect. When all the people involved achieve perfection and the client also collaborates with the necessary sensitivity, we could call it an artistic project.

What sets monci apart from other illuminacion companies in southern spain?

The human factor is the key, a solid team. Our work is based on buying and selling high-end lighting products; we work with the best firms in the national and international sector. Therefore there is always a very important subjective component. When you sit in front of some plans you have to create the light for that space with a certain objective.

What are clients looking for when they come to you?

Usually they are looking to differentiate themselves. To work with light, going far beyond just buying luminaires. They also seek confidence in professionals that will help them achieve a differentiating effect for their project. For the type of product with which we work, high-end, the economic element is always important. Our clients look for something more than economical, when contracting us. We have to be up to date with all the sensibilities, the design, the architecture, and art. They are usually people much more open to art, culture, travel, even a particular way of understanding life. This way it is easier to create that feeling between that person and our team. We all understand that both lights and shadows are fundamental when it comes to having a personal and powerful character in each project.

The main thing is to capture the personality of the final customer, what they intend to achieve. You have to know what environment they are looking to create or what kind of
customers they are looking to attract.

Who are your main clients?

Our main clients are architects and interior designers who work for a final client. They are the ones who contact us.In the end, it ´s a working relationship between different actors and we all have to feel happy. Not only the final client, of course, but also the architect, who puts part of his soul in each project and we as creators of the lighting in the space.

How do you advise your clients? What factors do you consider when meeting with clients, e.g. budget, space?

The main thing is to capture the personality of the final customer, what they intend to achieve. You have to know what environment they are looking to create or what kind of customers they are looking to attract. Use psychology to reach into their mind and heart to know their desires. Also be agile enough to translate their needs and materialize them on time. In general, the client does not think about light ing until the end of the project and that is why our reaction capacity has to be on point.

 

What are the biggest challenges you come across?

There have been two projects that are turning points in the history of our company. One of them was the lighting of a castle in the south of France, a château of the sixteenth century that was bought for a private residence. To illuminate something so beautiful respecting the architecture but turning it into a home, being so immense was a real challenge. The other is recent and all the merit corresponds to my father, Emilio Hidalgo. It´s the Parque Nevada shopping center in Granada. It was inaugurated less than a year ago and is the largest in Andalusia. It has been a project of high technological level and has involved about two years of work, sleepless nights and many complications. We performed highly advanced engineering work. There are luminaires of 10 meters in length and 6in diameter made by engineers from Denmark. Without a doubt, it is the biggest quantitative and qualitative project that we have carried out as a company.

 

In your experience, what is the key to developing a good team?

I think you never stop learning how to deal with a human team that ultimately depends on you. First of all, you have to know that despite the differences in status, the people you are in charge of are people who also want to grow and develop as professionals. On the other hand, you have to have the necessary sensitivity to make them part of the company, to feel that it is also theirs. After all, human capacity is the key, the beginning and the end of any company.

What are the top illumination brands you work with?

Practically with all the leading brands in the sector. To mention some of the international Flos, Artémide, Prolic, …

What brand would you say is at the forefront of illumination at the moment?

As in all areas of life, also in the business, the times fluctuate. But today at an international level I would highlight Flos and nationally Vivia.

What is t he key to success in illumination?

Like any company, if I had to choose I think there would be three factors: perseverance, believing in your projectand in the human team that surrounds you. I would also highlight psychology,sensitivity and the capacity to risk.

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