LocationPasseig de Gràcia, Barcelona, Spain
Architect in ChargeTobias Laarmann, Yolanda Yuste López
BuildersEbanistería Agüera, 7Works General Contractor, Cristalería Bonanova, IEAISA
Text description provided by the architects. YLAB Arquitectos designed the Inaugure Hospitality Group Headquarters in Barcelona at Paseo de Gracia, one of the most important shopping and business addresses in Barcelona.
We were invited to tender for the design and project management. We knew that to win the project we had to produce a design that met the client brief from a functional perspective, yet far exceed their expectations with the design concept and remain within budget.
Paris based consultancy agency Future Brand was appointed to manage the project corporate image, and as such distributed the basic brand strategy concepts. The client side project management distributed the functional information required to plan the office space efficiently, such as number of staff, number of open-plan spaces and closed offices, required number and size of meeting spaces, individual and departmental relationships; specialized areas, such as IT server room and functionality, and basic functions which include the pantry, storage and equipment areas. Inaugure Hospitality also asked us to create an organic, functional and an inspiring work space that encourages good communication; a place where people enjoy coming to work.
Our starting point came from an organic development of the distribution with its functional areas.
We wanted the space tell a story, creating a tension between closed areas and voids, making the corridors and open spaces look as one continuous, zigzagging and soft curved element. In order to strength this idea some functional areas were visually integrated within the open space, separated by a transparent glass partition.
From there we wanted to create the illusion of movement throughout the space, drawing individuals along the corridor and inviting them to look around the next corner.
In the reception area an extra large white corian counter in front of a wooden paneled back wall give visitors a great first impression of the office. Closed to the entrance, in a more quiet zone, a lounge area provides a flexible environment for visitors and employees to rest or have a chat.
At the Passeig de Gracia facade, the large scale meeting room, the Chairman’s office and a second office are facing the Antoni Gaudi’s Casa Mila, offering the right view for internal and client meetings.
The partitions are conceived to skillfully separate the individual areas, sufficiently blocking the view while allowing a maximum amount of natural light into the area.
Most walls are covered by an elegant wall paneling in ivory white lacquered wood, adding a glossy high quality finish to the whole space.
Closed to the meeting room this cladding is perforated forming a strong illuminated graphic which, at first glance, appears like a random array of freeform cut-outs shaped by scripted parametric textures. Only viewing it from a distance and a second look reveals that it displays the map of an important West African investment area like Dakar, the capital city of Senegal. This futuristic concept extends a wide arc to the origin of Inaugure as part of the Teylium International Group, as a West African holding company based in Senegal, with Inaugure Hospitality pointing to the future as a modern firm. Future meets History.
We faced various challenges during the concept development stage, one of which was planning a contemporary bright reflecting white look, as given by Future Brand’s corporate brand concept and adding a multi color scheme for the office furniture, as given by Inaugure’s Chairman.
As a result we created a white ambient formed by carpets, built-in furniture, walls and ceilings and introduced a slated warm Lenke wood (Afzelia africana) to the scheme, which we felt added warmth and a calming influence, as well as spiritual properties, according to West African cultures. Finally each room was given its own identity through different colored fine wool upholstered furniture.