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Rethink Barcelona studio, at the new Actiu showroom, the transformation of workspaces

Rethink Barcelona studio, at the new Actiu showroom, the transformation of workspaces

SEPTEMBER 2015 | 3 minutes

The new Actiu showroom in Barcelona hosted the conference “Offices Rethink Barcelona 2015”, organised by the Via Group, where one analysed the transformation being experienced by workspaces. The event which was framed within those organised to celebrate the opening of the new Actiu showroom, was attended by nearly a hundred professions and has brought together recent experiences and those underway in the building sector from the first-line such as CBRE, Wortmann Architects, Vilalta Architecture, Areazero 2.0, Plug & Go Corporate Architecture, Torres Interior Estudio Architecture studio and Isabel López-Vilalta + Associates.

From CBRE, its director of Design & Build Barcelona, Gonzalo Kindelan, shared their recent project of Nissan in the city and analysed how the aim of the company was to attract and retain talent, increase productivity and improve their financial aspects; for this, they had to work five key issues, such as identity, versatility, materiality, welfare and sustainability.

Johannes K. Wortmann, an architect from Wortmann Architects gave an overview of several office projects from this office, to show the difference between work carried out before the crisis compared to recent projects, emphasising the importance of adapting each project to the distinct identity of each company, highlighting that currently in Barcelona, foreigners are creating more companies than local people.

The architect Xavier Vilalta from Vilalta Architecture, spoke about the internalisation of work which is currently being undertaken in his office. His projects range from a shopping centre to the headquarters of the United Bank in Ethiopia, to an office tower in Astana (Kazakhstan) as well as other commissions in Nigeria, Tunisia and Brazil. Vilalta stressed the importance of analysing local culture to get to know how to transform the needs of each society into architecture.

The director of Areazero 2.0Lola Antón, showed several recent projects from her company such as the remodelling of the Mondelez offices in Madrid and the relocation of Eurofred offices in which offices disappeared and big, flexible spaces appeared and which also sought the feeling of home and comfort. All of which have the same importance in common, which Areazero 2.0 attaches to the perspective and the vision that the companies have of themselves.

Meanwhile, the director from Plug & Go Corporate ArchitectureCovadonga González Quintana, spoke about the climax that exists in the sector with the entry of partners and funds, as well as the changing trend which is occurring in the decision to change offices. They are no longer carried out for cost or energy savings but seek to solve other intangible items such as the retention of talent, innovation, motivation and an increase in productivity (which increases to 19% if the workplace is well designed). The companies are working to adapt themselves technologically and recognise talent of the new generations.

Joaquim Torres, interior designer from Torres Interior Architecture Studio, analysed the keys to optimise space, resources and work and how to reinvent underused spaces in offices, to create well-lit environments, ones with good acoustics, which integrate areas of pause for employees and especially, those which are expressive environments, to transmit the corporate vision of the company

Isabel López-Vilalta, interior designer from Isabel López-Vilalta + Associates, revealed the keys of their various work focused on different sectors; such as advertising agencies, the Pasqual Maragall foundation and the offices for senior management of the Sabadell Bank, and in which, they always aim to address the needs of each organisation.

For the grand finale a debate between all the speakers took place in which there was a complete review of the sector with issues such as the upturn in projects after years of hiatus; the change in the concept of the office, led by open space environments, with large, flexible spaces and areas for 'pause'. Also, on the importance it plays, in a short period of time, the rehabilitation of the market and the development of existing buildings and the relevance of sustainability and the certification to begin projects and implementations.