In a small village in the district of Porto, Rebordosa, two men began the adventure of a lifetime: making chairs and changing the history of their families.
Neighbours and competitors, Abel Leite and Elias Dias had a small workshop on the ground floor of their homes where they dedicated themselves to the art of making chairs almost completely by hand.
The models that came out of their hands were rich in carvings and curves, and at the time only accessible to the upper classes of cities like Lisbon and Porto.
At that time, the oxcart was the main means of transport in rural areas but it was not, however, accessible to all. The chairs were carried by women called “carreteiras” who transported them on their heads to the “despachante”.
The lives of these two men cross thanks to the love of their children, Mário Leite and Rosa Dias, who were to marry in 1959.
After years of hard work and dedication to his craft, Mário Leite, the current owner’s father, decided to improve the facilities in order to increase production.
In 1992, Mário Leite (father) created the Fenabel brand with a view to internationalising the business and initiated trade relations with Spain. The name of the hitherto Mário Leite, Lda was changed to Fenabel, Lda, a combination of his sons’ names, Fernando and Abel (Mário Abel, the current owner).
In 1993, after many years of love for his work, Mário Leite (father) succumbed to a heart attack and Fenabel was transferred into the hands of his children.
A new cycle began with further improvements to facilities and equipment, and Fenabel added to its business name a definition of its raison d’être: Fenabel The Heart of Seating. The ultimate symbol of Fenabel’s dedication to its customers, this name was suggested by an English customer who identified Fenabel as a company that works with passion, soul and the utmost dedication. At this point, Fenabel belonged exclusively to the son Mário and Elsa Matos Leite, the current owners of the company.
This date was celebrated with great pride because Fenabel managed to improve the working conditions of the current 80 employees, created more showroom and finishing space and purchased more equipment, allowing it to produce more and better.
During these years of growth, Mário and Elsa Leite successfully led Fenabel and continued the dream of the patriarch, further internationalising Fenabel by participating in national and international design competitions, as well as international fairs in: Paris, Milan, Shanghai, Cologne, New York and Las Vegas.