Expansión – Interview with LLuís Sáiz, Architect and Founding Partner of Grup Idea.

 

Emelia Viaña. Madrid
It is called Grup Idea and it is one of the most recognized Spanish companies in the design sector. Specialized in the implementation and construction of spaces for brands, one of its founders is Lluís Sáiz, who emphasizes the importance of the message when designing places for the enjoyment of employees or customers. “The most important thing is to understand what the brand wants to convey, what its values are, its way of working and its mission. Then it has to be landed in the physical premises through materials, composition of spaces, transparencies, taking into account the user’s experience. The most important thing is to tell a story and that there are no contradictions between the business discourse and the materialization of the space,” he says.

– Are companies increasingly willing to invest in space design? Yes, they have realised that it is no longer enough to make a profit and that customers and workers must see a coherence between the business discourse, the ways of working and the design of the spaces that represent them and guarantee their well-being. Design must be understood as a strategic tool for business change and as a representation of brand identity.

-What impact does the design of spaces have on workers? There is a reciprocal impact between worker and space. It is necessary to put the user in the centre. A design is useless if it is not useful to the people who use it. Spaces should not only be a support for people to integrate, use and enjoy it, but should also connect positively with the user, facilitate their work and help their personal development.

 – What are the trends in the sector? We are increasingly looking for spaces that are more versatile and adapted to new ways of working. The concept of fixed workstations is being eliminated and work tables are being shared. We are looking for stories to tell and values to transmit. Anything that is aligned in this sense is valid. It is inevitable to talk about and take into account the synergies between office and restaurant spaces, wellness, mindfulness and sustainability. Materials are also very important. We don’t like those who imitate others, we prefer stone to be stone and wood to be wood. If we want companies to be transparent, design must also be transparent.

– Do you follow these trends or do you have your own way of working? In a global society you have to know how to discriminate between what is fashion and what makes sense to use. Internet allows us to know almost at the moment the type of design that is being carried out in any part of the world, but it is not a question of doing the same thing for the sake of it. We like to listen to the client. You can’t standardize design solutions. Although the need is similar, the design must be customized.

 – You have offices in Barcelona, Valencia, Paris, London and Mexico City. Clients such as Swarovski, Victoria Secret, Lego, H&M, Ho-lister or Adeslas. What do they want?  There are no equal clients. With our turnkey way of working, we advance with the client in the design from beginning to end. We imagine space and develop it through design, architecture, branding, engineering and construction.

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