What was the brief?
The brief was to design and materialise a horeca space in Madrid that would bring a different approach to urban leisure. I was contacted as a conceptual designer that has a trajectory on experimental object design and has also touched upon on an extended understanding of the field of design. For this project a specific team of collaborators and advisers was put together in order to redefine the demolition and construction process of the space as a source of material and strategic opportunities, creating the resulting space out of this set of conditions instead of mostly defining the elements from catalogues. This way, the counter brief we proposed was to include this mindset plus a thorough awareness of the social and environmental implications of all material decisions that were to be taken.
What were the key challenges?
The continuous key challenge this project brought up was consequent to the sustainability dogma expressively designed for this project. All material acquisitions were previously analysed in order to understand the life cycle impact of each possible material. This way, choices were made on what material to implement, and also on what brand to choose in order to find the less damaging to the ecosystem: we looked to the production conditions of different industries, distance to the construction site, energy used, long term impact fo the material, etc. This dynamic imposed a communication setting of continuous feedback loops that many times forced the construction company to work with suppliers they were not normally working with.
Another key challenge was also derived from the dogma designed for this project, and it consisted on a continuously open creative process that was taking every material leftover or demolition waste as a source for the furniture and illumination elements of the space. This way, rubble was used to make benches, copper pipe to make radiators, ventilation pipes cut outs to work as table legas, etc. This open creative process supposed a weekly challenge to the creative team but also to the construction company which was always supportive to this strategy.
What materials did you choose and why?
Many materials, as mentioned, were sourced from the demolition of the space itself. For instance, apart from the already mentioned items, all furniture has been made with reclaimed wooden beams from the previous use. Others, as the ceiling lamps, were sourced in scrapyards and we worked with social foundations to upgrade them for their new use. Also, as a rule of design through out the creation process, we were searching for the simplest possible option, many times creating functional elements out of construction items that were either very basic or mandatory. In this case, we can highlight the illumination system created from standard PVC piping and boxes, the radiator coils made from copper pipes, all the fence and technical ceiling elements made with construction rebar steel mesh. Lastly, many other elements were craft produced by local artisans and were designed to fit their specific techniques and use their local material sources.
Facade cladding: Steel, made ad hoc
Flooring: Micro concrete
Doors: Steel, made ad hoc
Windows: Double glass with gas chamber
Roofing: Acoustic recycled fabric panels, Geopanel
Interior lighting: Upcycled and reclaimed elements designed and produced by Lucas Muñoz
Interior furniture: Reclaimed wood from construction site, designed and produced by Lucas Muñoz
Ventilation system : Adiabatic terracotta systems designed and produced by Lucas Muñoz