CRAFTSMANSHIP HANDED DOWN THROUGH FOUR GENERATIONS
The history of our family in the world of woodworking starts at the beginning of the XXth century by the hand of Sebastian Bernal who is devoted to the realization of luxury railway vehicles for the First Class, becoming the head of the national company railways’ workshops in Malaga.
At age 11, his son Adolfo Bernal, probably inspired by the work of his father, decides to become a cabinetmaker. Being only 17 years old, his innate talent and virtuosity in the woodworking allowed him to establish his own workshop and lead a team of workers. Later, to be exiled from Spain, goes to Switzerland, where he began working as a carpenter in a workshop in Geneva. After a few years in this workshop, one of his clients Mrs. Salmanowitz, discovered his talent and became his patron. This allowed him to open his own workshop for cabinetmaking and furniture restoration in such Swiss city. During this time, Adolfo Bernal becomes an important restorer and he is appreciated by and started working for people of high society and nobility, such as the Aga Khan royal family, the Barons Rothschild and the Princess of Liechtenstein, among others. Furthermore, Adolfo Bernal restored furniture pieces auctioned at Christie’s and Sotheby’s, as well as furniture stamped by renowned French cabinetmakers and some pieces which belong to the French heritage. Due to his successful career in the world of woodworking, the Geneva’s government appointed him artist and he was subsequently invited to the latest Swiss national exhibition as representative of the Swiss art abroad.
While in Geneva, Adolfo Bernal trained and supervised his daughter Esperanza Bernal, who was studying cabinetmaking at Swiss school. Furthermore, her other daughter Ana Bernal began working in his workshop in the late 70s, who was first in charge of the administrative tasks and eventually trained as a specialised cabinetmaker in marquetry and gilding, also learning the art of locksmithing.
In the late 80s, Adolfo decided to return to his homeland Spain, where he set up his workshop and worked for private customers and the best antique dealers in the city of Marbella and Sotogrande over 20 years. Since it is a very international city, Adolfo could restore furniture of the high society from various European countries, including UK, France and Italy, as well as the U.S. During this period, his grandson Sébastien Hohl decides to learn the trade of his grandfather Adolfo Bernal in 1992, with just thirteen. Sébastien worked together with his grandfather for 14 years, learning the techniques of woodworking and restoration of antique furniture, becoming an independent cabinetmaker later. Hence, Sébastien Hohl and his aunt Ana Bernal work in this beautiful craft nowadays, continuing the family tradition that began four generations ago.