In the world of design, everything is progressing incredibly fast. The more interesting the idea, the better the market position. We love quality workmanship, luxurious materials that naturally connect with Italy, ingenuity and extravagance associated with America, the elegance – chic of France, and the precision of Switzerland. The winner is the most creative and at the same time the highest quality manufacturer with the best name. Mavenci took it all differently and built a company on one of the most romantic islands of the Indian Ocean. CEDRIC LINCOLN, Director of Mavenci was inspired by the beauty of Mauritius and used materials that the surrounding nature offers generously. Mauritius has an amazing number of beautiful nooks and creeps full of quality natural materials such as wood, lava rocks, corals, which have an incredibly beneficial effect on our body. Mavenci, with its brand Cypraea, has combined the quality, uniqueness and power of nature with timeless design.
Ivana: The company has a 46-year tradition and is one of the oldest factories on the island. Cedric, tell me, what led you to work for Mavenci?
Cedric: After returning back to Mauritius with my French, Wood Engineer’s degree in hand, I joined a large furniture manufacturer where I was quickly promoted to become the General Manager. After working in this company for almost 10 years, in 2014, I was contacted by one of the owners of a small family business “Quality Furniture Ltd“ to join their team. None of his children wanted to take over the business. On my side, I needed new challenges and I was proposed to invest in the shares of the business, so I accepted the deal. This was one of the most uncertain times of my life, having to leave a well organized firm to work for a small family business in which I had to start again from scratch. In 2016, to give a fresh boost to the company and to communicate the fact that we do not manufacture only “quality furniture“ but also timber decks, kitchens, timber roofs, doors, etc, we have decided to change the company name to Mavenci, pronunciation “mavenchi”: Maven for Expert and Chi for Energy.
Ivana: I really like that you built the company on relationships with your staff and communicate with them as well as with customers. I think it’s very important. Is such an approach common in companies in Mauritius and in your industry?
Cedric: Honestly speaking, I don’t know about other companies in my industry and especially in Mauritius but I do feel that the gap between employers and employees is tending to grow with the process of industrialization. All tend to get standardized just to make things easier and more competitive. At Mavenci, I always try to keep it on the ground and concentrate on serving the clients in the best way. This starts with good communication and offering the client the best value for their money.
In terms of service, we deal with our clients the same way we deal with our staff; exclusively and personally. We are the oldest furniture manufacturer on the Island and we strive to provide our expertise to help our clients to always find the solution they seek.
Following the above you will understand that the word “Maven” in Mavenci means it all. A maven is an expert with a wide knowledge in a particular field and we consider ourselves as experts in our business. This is why our clients have now come to trust our opinion and they always come back after the first order.
This is the straight forward approach that has contributed to build our reputation both in Mauritius and abroad.
Ivana: Mavenci mainly work with natural materials such as glass, steel, copper, lava stones, leather, wood or sand from the most beautiful beaches in the world. Is it true that natural materials have very strong positive effects on human health?
Cedric: Well, the “chi“ of Mavenci was chosen because of its meaning. The balance of the energy flowing around us is crucial and we try to transform our clients premises with the right energy each project deserves. We do use a large palette of natural materials but most of all, we work in harmony with these resources and the environment from where they come. Nature is the source of all good energies and we believe in it. So, using natural materials coming from this unique environment will unavoidably have their own positive attributes. For example, Lava stone with its healing and stabilizing properties was given to soldiers during battles to calm them. Coral sand helps in-body circulating problems. Wood improves the air quality by moderating humidity and creates a feeling of warmth and comfort. I believe that each and every material you can find in nature has been created for some reason.
Our unique approach means we fashion nature in ways unlike anything else, combining our years of experience and skill with daring designs to create something a little like magic, like MAVENCI.
Ivana: You work in symbiosis with a holistic approach, collaborate with world designers and use natural materials. How difficult is the preparation of individual projects?
Cedric: When we have to supply a project designed by an architect or a designer, there is normally no preparation to the process, except on the technical aspect. We just make sure we follow the drawings and bring our expertise where needed. Basically, there is nothing very creative here because we follow their concept and make sure they are happy. When they are happy, the client is happy…
On the other hand, when we have to propose our own designs to clients, this is another story. We have to spend many hours on the concept just to try to propose something different. This is very difficult today with the spread of the social networks where everything tends to become already seen. Therefore, our main role is to set the goal further and blend nature with furniture to create the extraordinary.
When there is natural communication between the client and our furniture, I know we have created something unreal. I just have to look at the client’s eyes to feel his emotions and this is what passionates me.
Ivana: Mauritius is one of the most beautiful and at the same time most romantic islands I have visited. To what extent is it the inspiration for the design, which makes up the main design of Mavenci?
Cedric: In 2017 when I went to the bank with my new business plan, I wanted to create a furniture line that would be sold worldwide. Taking a look at what we were doing and what was available worldwide, we needed to propose something that was not yet available. There are so many furniture brands worldwide and I realized that all the materials used were almost always the same. Veneered boards, glass in standard shapes, marble in neat finish, furniture bases in clean patterns, etc, etc. This was the case because most of the luxury brands are from Europe and from North America.
Starting from there, I knew that our island had its own country soul so I started to make samples in materials that we had locally. The first one I did was the combination of coral with sand and lava stone with sand that we finally used 2 years later on our aqua collection.
One part of my business plan was also to find a foreign designer to create our first pieces. This is not that we don’t have designers in Mauritius but I needed an outsider to make sure he captures the essence of our Mauritian soul. We are born in Mauritius and we tend to forget the beauties we have all around us. This is natural for a human being.
In 2018, we hired the young Italian Architect Francesco Maria Messina who worked with us for 2 years and who designed our collections in 2019 & 2020.
The new collection 2021 will follow our same brand’s mission but will now extend to international environmental issues, not only the ones that are touching our country.
Ivana: Tell me something about the uniqueness of Cypraea?
Cedric: I think Cypraea is the first furniture brand in the world that is inspired 100% by Nature. We are surrounded by nature, we manufacture in nature, we use natural materials and the main focus of the brand is to connect people to nature. Each and every piece we make can blend in nature like it was always there. Each collection has its own story, each piece of furniture has its own nature inspiration and most importantly is the way we communicate for saving the environment. We are not a designer brand, Cypraea has its own DNA and this is the reason we are exposed in art galleries rather than selling to distributors. There is a lot more behind our pieces than just the design; we have a story to tell and our pieces create emotions.
On another note, we are most probably the only island in the world supplying luxury furniture at an international level. We are based on a small stone sitting in the middle of the ocean and suppling furniture from this ad-hoc area gives us this inaccessible touch that others don’t have. Nature is becoming scarce, we are scarce.
To add on this rarity, all our current collections 2019/2020 are supplied only in limited editions of 9 pieces. In fact, some pieces are already sold-out.
Ivana: What successes has the company achieved in recent years and which of them are you most proud of?
Cedric: Our best project in Mauritius is the New Caudan Theatre in which we have supplied all the wood from the floor to the roof, only exception for the chairs that were supplied from Italy.
Our greatest success is to have our CYPRAEA furniture permanently exposed in Milan and in London. My biggest pride is to have brought this small family business to an international level only in 5 years.
Ivana: What are your next plans?
Cedric: For Mavenci in general, I am busy trying to find well established strategic partners with the same vision as mine to grow faster on the international market.
For Cypraea next year, participate in the Salone Del Mobile 2021, expose our upcoming collection of 2021 in Spain, Dubai, New York and Los Angeles. If I have some free time left after all of this, I will try to have a rest.
I believe that in life it is possible to just follow your dream, continuously and persistently build your vision step by step. Success one day comes simply because it is a natural result of a great effort, Le Globless.