Utopicus Francisco Silvela

Spain

Just like in Utopicus Gran Vía and Príncipe de Vergara, Actiu participated in the creation of the new space that the renowned flexible space management company has inaugurated in Madrid. In a building in the La Guindalera neighbourhood, owned by the real estate company, Colonial, the new centre is located in a superb location, next to the M-30 and easy to get to by underground and bus.

Until Utopicus moved into the building, different companies had used it as offices, with old and highly compartmentalised layouts that did not match its new tenant's philosophy. "We had to get rid of everything and redo the installations and start from scratch," explains the project manager, Idoia Otegui. From there, the architect designed a space that, just like all Utopicus centres, opts for a highly personal image, tailored to reflect the city of Madrid and that affirms the value, personality and local customs of the neighbourhood that it is part of.

To achieve this, the entire design took inspiration from the urban features of La Guindalera, with its brick, the enamel colours of the arabesque tiles, the iron grilles, the wooden panelling, the lanterns, the letterboxes, the flowerpots and the cherry trees; and its terracotta, ceramic and terrazzo textures. As well as the characteristic "Madrid" aesthetic, with the typography typical of its commercial establishments, the houndstooth, the chairs of its bars and the Manila shawls; and in its toponymy, its atmospheres and the popular sayings.

Utopicus' new flexible offices take up the first four floors of a building, shared with other companies that are part of Colonial's portfolio of clients. Just like in its other centres, this location at street level offers greater connection between the workspace and the city of Madrid, as well as preventing risks, due to having its own entrance. While the lower floors are reserved for more social spaces, with 'fix' and 'flex' work areas, canteen areas, training rooms and private offices for small companies, the upper floors are used by larger companies and large corporations.

On the ground floor, and with a clear height of six metres that enables taking in the entire glass facade which floods the space with an abundance of natural light, 'mentidero' (gossip mill) gives the Club area its name, a flexible work area, designed for meetings, having coffee, get-togethers and events. Next to it is the premium meeting space, 'La Guindalera', and the 'desaprendizaje' and 'equivocación' training rooms, with a movable partition wall between them, enabling them to be joined together in a large agora if need be.

Utopicus' commitment to pulling off a more lounge format in the training rooms, as "a space to discuss things and pass on knowledge, which goes beyond the conventional training room", finds its best ally in Actiu's Bend soft seating range. With a wheeled base and upholstery in three shades of grey and blue that stand out from the yellow carpet, the Bend 10 model enables the space to be laid out in very different ways; in a circle, in small groups, almost like a living room, forming rows or even around the perimeter. The space is rounded off with upholstered seat cushions with a non-slip base, also by Actiu, which offer comfortable seating on a small tier.

Just like in other Utopicus spaces, the work station furniture is Actiu's. Chosen because of its great ergonomics and an image far removed from the excessively technological aesthetics of most office chairs, Stay adds a more domestic and cosy touch. Formaldehyde-free, straight lines and easy-to-assemble, the Vital PRO desks are highly flexible when it comes to configurating the different spaces, with Bucks cabinets with wheels that provide storage space and enable things to be kept nice and tidy.

To respond to the diverse needs of professionals, all floors have lounge and coffee areas, telephone and videoconferencing booths, concentration areas and meeting rooms in different sizes and formats. All this, as well as a 'siestadrome' and the so-called 'fondas' (food stalls). Dining rooms at lunch time and training rooms that can be booked for the rest of the day; the latter being able to be used as extensions to the 'flex' work areas or informal meeting areas when they are not in use.

Special emphasis is placed on the design of the corridors as linking spaces; with a classic, timeless image that blends classic skirting boards, mouldings and cornices with wooden windows; and a contemporary treatment of the spaces and colours at different heights on walls and ceilings. As well as corners and cul-de-sacs with different uses and which lend their name to the most authentic sayings and expressions.

The entire space is painted in bottle green, mustard yellow, terracotta red and bluish, the four basic colours used in early 20th century Madrid and which were used in the glazed tiles on the façades of La Guindalera.

Equipped with the BMS (Building Management System) to reduce its energy consumption, the building opens out onto three streets, giving every space the chance to enjoy natural light and have views of the outside. With more operational ceiling lighting in the work stations, communal areas and corridors, the widespread use of white glass globes, typical in Madrid since the 19th century, and more domestic floor lamps have been chosen. In the meeting rooms, large decorative lamps are adapted to the atmosphere and the name chosen for each and every one of them.

With more than 25 spaces, each with their own personality, as well as furniture and lighting chosen to enhance the characteristics of each room, Utopicus' new flexible workspace in Madrid can be summed up as: authentic and 'Madrilenian', making it a unique space.

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