Los Angeles Times
October 11, 1963 - February 11, 2023
Cisco Pinedo, entrepreneur and furniture designer, died of a heart attack while on vacation in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico on February 11th, 2023. He was 59. What Cisco was able to pack into his life is almost impossible to capture. His drive was fueled by his pursuit and achievement of the American dream.
Cisco was an immigrant from Mexico who came to America to work the fields of the Central Valley. He was deported three times before gaining residency under the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1987. Three years later, he and his wife Alba cashed out their 401k, using the $10,000 to start Cisco Home. His furniture designs attracted the who’s who of Los Angeles. Within five years they grew their company into a multimillion-dollar business, which provided employment for many family and friends, and created generational wealth for their three daughters. Popular throughout the industry, Cisco worked with many other furniture makers, believing that collaboration and competition spurred creativity and opportunity.
As an entrepreneur, Cisco took many risks. After the LA riots in 1992, as businesses fled the South Central area, he moved his factory back into the neighborhood where he learned his craft. In 2003 Cisco and Alba personally invested $3 million to build the award-winning LA Design Center on Western Avenue, an anchor that helped revitalize the neighborhood.
The LADC project solidified his belief in how beautiful, functional design can impact a community. In 2006 Cisco renovated a 23-acre abandoned cotton mill in High Point, North Carolina into a showroom, factory, and design center. A decade later he purchased an old quilting compound in Round Top, Texas, that he transformed into Cisco Village, a creative hub for artisans.
Life for Cisco wasn’t all success, and he faced many challenges. During the 2008 recession, when the furniture market crashed, he and Alba had to choose between selling the company or restructuring to try to keep it. After sitting down with their three daughters, they decided to fight and rebuild the company. “We’ve been through riots, survived fires, and more,” Cisco said, “and we’ll overcome this.”
Always a pioneer in design, Cisco was one of the first shops to make washable slipcovers, a stylish solution to the uncomfortable and unappealing plastic covers that had donned upholstery for decades. He also pioneered the green furniture movement, including helping force California to ban toxic flame-retardant foam in upholstery.
Just as in his business ventures, Cisco was a thoughtful social advocate. He co-founded two non-profits, Making Education The Answer (META) and Refoundry, both of which helped people who lacked opportunity and education.
Cisco had insatiable passion for life. A constant traveler with an innate curiosity, Cisco enjoyed exploring new cultures, often bringing one of his daughters with him. When he visited small villages in Peru, India, and Ethiopia and elsewhere, he marveled at the beauty of the traditional crafts, the extraordinary food, and the ingenuity of people all over the world.
Cisco was also renowned for his love of cuisine. A true “foodie”, he enjoyed cooking for his family, as well as for customers, vendors, and friends, often bringing different groups of people together over food. “Our house sometimes felt like a bed and breakfast,” his daughters often joked.
His loss will leave a permanent void for everyone who knew him. His generosity knew no bounds, and his love for family and sense of home was the source of his energetic, loving spirit. He is survived by his wife, Alba, three daughters, Maurishka, Natalie, and Amanda, and granddaughter, Mara.
In lieu of flowers, and to honor Cisco, the family requests donations be made in his memory to META at meta-foundation.org