The renewed showroom Ofita in Barcelona hosted the conference “ Rethink offices ” sponsored by Grupo Vía, to analyse the transformation undergone by offices spaces. With the attendance of around one hundred professionals and after an in-depth analysis of the offices market in Barcelona by Cushman & Wakefield, it put together recent and on-going experiences within the sector of office buildings of frontline firms such as GCA Architects, BCA, SCOB, B01 Arquitectes, Lagranja Design, Guday Terreros Arquitectura and Octavio Mestre Arquitectos.
This conference ” Rethink offices ” introduced new office projects as well as the keys to reinvent work spaces, the AGILE methodology, the importance of developing co-creation and talent retention spaces, the transmission of brand values, the importance of the sustainable refurbishment of offices and office design trends, among others.
From Cushman & Wakefield, its Spanish Research Director, Ramiro Rodríguez, shared macroeconomic figures of the sector which has seen how in the last few years unemployment expectations have decreased and consumer confidence has increased in such a way that it has led to the recovery of investment figures (500 and 450 million euros in Madrid and Barcelona). The surface available for new offices in the Barcelonan market shows a downward trend since 2013 and the percentage of empty offices in business centres is of 2%. In a way that this last year and a half, the majority of buildings under construction are located in new business areas such as Plaça Europa in Hospitalet or the 22@ (which have seen the average price of rentals rise). Rodríguez analysed how clients, when setting up their offices, bear in mind the challenge of having the spaces transmit the corporate brand and culture, retain talent, incorporate millennials, provide employment satisfaction, increase productivity, favour creativity and allow new models of occupation for the different employees. Moreover, it also highlighted the factors which according to different surveys, most impact on employees’ satisfaction: the quality of air and acoustic comfort, as well as temperature conditions and visual perception.
” Rethink offices “; the architect Octavio Mestre (Octavio Mestre Arquitectos) highlighted the importance of refurbishments achieving low consumption buildings and at the same time that these spaces transmit the corporate culture and offer innovations (although sometimes they encounter bureaucratic obstacles) as well as conceiving spaces for different uses depending on the time and achieving a balance between open spaces and privacy. In turn, architect Olga Guday (Guday Terreros Arquitectos) explained the transmission of Vodafone brand values at its offices in Figueres (Girona) when being inspired by the chromatic use of Rothko paintings and dynamism based on classic music staves which distance you from the perfect harmony of traditional formats and generate a sequence in the building which likewise offers different openings depending on the façade on the grounds of its orientation leading therefore to eco-efficiency.
From Lagranja Design, architect Jose Manuel Fernández, discussed how offices are no longer “working premises” but rather put the employee at the centre seeking ways to make it happy with more festive and domestic spaces, even in unexpected employment sectors as it is the case of Miura Private Equity. In turn, architect Sander Laudy (B01 Arquitectes) presented the work done in the sustainable refurbishment of Vichy Catalán offices at the Barcelonan street Còrsega, which moves from high-consumption, poor health standards and high occupation spaces to energy-saving offices thanks to the opening of spaces, an open plan distribution, the use of the patio for crossed ventilation purposes and the incorporation of the terrace as a useful space.
The architect Sergi Carulla (SCOB) showed the new project he is developing for One CoWork at the centric street Estruc of Barcelona, refurbishing a building of the 40’s into a co-working office adapted to different spaces (hot desk, fixed desk and office) in which the entrance of daylight has been maximized (using the elevator shaft as small patio). It was a tight building which has undergone huge transformation freeing the floor and achieving an open space with four floors betting on flexibility and at the same time, recovering the original building stripping the walls and ceilings revealing the legacy of the previous period.
From BCA, Albert Blanch revealed two of their works in progress: on the one hand, the refurbishment of an industrial building at Almogàvers 177-189 facing the great challenge of providing light and quality to organize the centre to receive light and seeking open spaces, introducing different patios and using the deck; and on the other, the new offices of D38 in the Zona Franca in a newly constructed building based on an initial project of 2008 which has been reactivated once more betting on major passages and open floors as well as outside spaces forming part of the activity of the building and boosting common and meeting spaces.
Francisco de Paz (GCA Architects) gave a lecture on the recent works done to the headquarters of Cuatrecasas at 22@ of Barcelona: a complex of 25,000 m2 for over one thousand people where the client itself encourages betting on spaces promoting state of the art office trends to retain talent and offer wellbeing to employees. The building is conceived around an atrium linking the different boxes which compose the floors and incorporate a diverse program with opens pace, offices for different purposes depending on the moment, gym, cafeteria with a healthy menu, multitask rooms, auditorium, informal meeting spaces, phone boxes and useful outdoor spaces with Ofita furniture.