With an ambitious expansion plan focused on the U.S., Madrid-based Uno de 50 intends to more than double its 29-unit store count within five years.
Uno de 50 has also launched a collection of 20 designs to celebrate its 20th anniversary. Each of the 20 items in the line was selected from a different year, starting with a padlock key chain ($70) first introduced in 1996, the year Uno de 50 was founded. A striking gold and silver necklace ($660) was created this year for the anniversary collection.
From 1997, there’s a leather and silver bracelet ($350) inspired by the Movida Madrileña movement, in which Uno de 50’s founders took part. It’s part of the brand’s permanent collection. Uno de 50’s 1998 gender-friendly silver necklace with the gender symbols for man and woman ($240) was ahead of its time while pieces such as a 2003 paintbrush charm ($70) reflects the brand’s kinship with art. A 2014 bracelet ($220) heralded the brand’s launch of gold jewelry.
“We tried to show and compile all the different characteristics that make Uno de 50 what it is by reflecting on the unique pieces that show the company’s spirit,” said Jose Azulay, president and chief creative director of Uno de 50. “Some of the products used to be in the catalog. We brought them back because this is the best way to bring our origins and beginnings back.”
Azulay said reaction to the collection has been strong. “The pieces have been a success and there’s been a lot of demand, so we’re thinking about leaving them in the catalog for a little while.”
Uno de 50 has been growing its store count, opening since May five U.S. stores at Manhattan’s Westfield World Trade Center; Disney Springs, Lake Buena Vista, Fla.; Lenox Square, Atlanta, and Westfield Valley Fair and Stanford Shopping Center, in Santa Clara and Stanford, Calif., respectively.
The brand in October will unveil a 655-square-foot store at Westfield San Francisco Centre and in February a 748-square-foot store in SoHo will bow. Uno de 50 is also working on relocating an existing unit at Westfield Century City to a 434-square-foot space in a better location in the mall.
“The U.S. is one of the priorities of our expansion plan,” said Azulay, adding that Uno de 50 signed a lease to open a store at Manhattan’s Hudson Yard, which is under construction. Azulay said Uno de 50 intends to open in the U.S. 60 stores in the next five years and 40 to 50 units in other locations worldwide.
Azulay said the company is talking with an Australian group about franchising. “We’re in discussions with a big Chinese group to introduce the brand into the market through a franchisee that works with luxury brands,” Azulay said. Uno de 50, which operates two units in Toronto, plans to unveil stores next year in Vancouver and Montreal as well as units in Venice and Florence.
“Our products are unique and completely different in the market,” Azulay said. “We express that through product design and the design of the stores themselves. We create our own furniture, designed by our team. When a customer goes into a store, they can immediately identify it as Uno de 50.”
Two cases in point are the new Paseo de Gracia flagship in Barcelona, which is housed in a building designed by Antoni Gaudí. The building, known as La Pedrera, has odd-shaped recessed windows that make it look like a grotto. Uno de 50, in keeping with the aesthetic, created organically shaped displays framed by heavy metal and suspended from above so they look like they’re floating in air inside the windows.
A rendering of an upcoming store opening on Lincoln Road in Miami shows in the windows egg-shaped baskets carved from wood and suspended by what looks like molten metal with ledges inside the baskets displaying the jewelry.