What is the international reach of the company?
In 1996, it was immediately established that the market to be reached would have to have an Iberian dimension. In 1997, we undertook our first work in Barcelona and, in a natural progression, after a few years, we opened an office in Madrid and later in Barcelona. With the crisis in 2011, the operation in Spain became much less appealing and we decided to close both offices. It was thanks to Spanish architects that we were challenged to work on projects in Italy, such as the creation of office space, a veritable challenge at the time! Another major challenge was being involved in two projects in Moscow. In 2010, we made a strong commitment to the French market, setting up our BEC - France branch. The knowhow acquired over the years and the fact that the Portuguese labour is highly appreciated, has ensured us a strong market penetration. BEC has a strong international presence, and is present in France, England and Morocco. In 2018 it represented about 80% of its production.
To what extent is your collaboration in exhibitions, such as AD Intérieurs, important for the company?
Our collaboration with AD Intérieurs began in 2015 by a happy coincidence. We were responsible for the construction of the exhibition’s entire scenery, involving about 60 tons of material, the assembly of which was accomplished in just two weeks. It was a success and the start of a partnership that endures to this day. This partnership has significantly increased our reputation, especially among French architects and designers, but we must continue to prove ourselves to deserve their trust. You can’t take anything for granted! The 2015 edition resulted in a relationship with one of the largest construction companies in the world, VINCI-Construction, which, through its PLENDI brand, dedicated to projects in the luxury segment, has allowed us to be involved in projects that initially would have been impossible to access, such as the renovation of the Mandarin Hotel in London. Other works are already being planned within the scope of this relationship.
What was the most challenging project you have developed to date?
It is difficult to choose just one, not least because we are continually challenged, and also it depends on what parameter you gauge it from. In terms of technical difficulty, I would say doing the offices for Fraunhofer Portugal, on University of Porto Campus, to which was added a completion deadline of just four months. In terms of amount of work, deadline and work conditions, it would have to be the renovation of the Mandarin Oriental in London, given the very nature of it, which represented a new organisation and management paradigm for the BEC. And projects in Moscow and Casablanca, for their distance and for their logistical difficulties.
What goals does BEC plan to achieve in the short/medium term?
Our main ambitions include consolidating partnerships developed in the countries where we operate, as it is with them that we can grow in a continuous and sustained manner. The construction of a new industrial unit will also make a great contribution to this sustained growth, while also responding to the new demands of the global market, of which BEC is clearly part.