Phygital experience emerges in retail and hospitality at Rebuild 2021

REBUILD 2021 and the National Congress of Advanced Architecture and Construction 4.0 has finished a new edition at the IFEMA MADRID centre. The aim of the congress has been to revitalise construction at a time of economic recovery after covid and to explore the keys to the sector around the axes of industrialisation, sustainability and digitalisation. Miquel Àngel Julià Hierro, director of strategy and design at Grup Idea and vice-president of the Retail Design Institute Spain, once again conceptualised, presented and moderated two round tables focused on the Retail 4.0 sector and sustainable and data-driven hospitality. In total, REBUILD welcomed 10,673 congress attendees over three days and was attended by up to 280 firms linked to the business and 380 experts.


How to save the Commercial Architecture sector


The session dedicated to Retail, entitled ‘How to save the Commercial Architecture sector’, analysed how the digitalisation of spaces, products, uses and customer journeys of clients and users should facilitate a different commercial infrastructure. Carlos Aires CEO & Founder of Marketing-Jazz, María Callís Bañeres, President Retail Design Institute Spain and Francesc Máñez Sanz, Retail Adviser and CEO of Qmax Consulting, took part in the round table.

In the new 4.0 scenario, the speakers agreed that today’s consumer is a ‘phygital customer’, hyperconnected, who values speed and flexibility, who seeks experiences and feels part of a community. This profile requires retail scenarios that are different from those known until now, which take into account a non-linear and omnichannel shopping process. Phygital Retail, a hybrid between digital and physical, is born precisely from this new shopping experience and is the central research topic of the latest monograph published by Es Design and co-written by Miquel Àngel Julià and Yuka Nakasone in spanish.

On the other hand, the new shopper is looking for stories, values and emotions, not just products, which must now be more original, sustainable, healthy and respectful of others and our planet.


From landscape hotels to Fast Track offsite hotels


Digitalisation and the use of data in the hospitality sector was the focus of the second session. The round table was attended by Yuka Nakasone, International Growth Strategist at Global Bridge, Jorge Alonso Architect and Urban Planner at Chapman Taylor Global Architects & Masterplanners and Sergio Baragaño, CEO at ROOM 2030.

To begin with, Jorge Alonso detailed the advantages of modular design and offsite construction, with construction at scale, which saves time, waste and reduces costs. From the concept of construction, we move on to the concept of assembly. All the lessons learned from other sectors, such as the automotive industry, are the starting point for a new architecture. Sergio Baragaño also draws on his experience in offsite construction with the manufacture of modular intelligent rooms that integrate new technologies, optimise the assembly and industrial manufacturing process and make industrial manufacturing more dynamic. In this way, they manage to create a customisable and competitive product in terms of quality-price and a sustainable housing solution in line with the 2030 agenda.

These new solutions are part of what Yuka Nakasone calls industry 5.0, an era of data and connectivity that allows companies to optimise operations, both in the construction of hotels and rooms and from the point of view of hotel management. One example is through the recent regulation that allows the digitisation of hotel registry books in Spain, which adds to the set of digital interactions that the user already carries out with the hotel, from the first search for the establishment on the internet, the loyalty programme to the post-stay review.

All of this is part of a new scenario characterised by this hybridisation of the physical and digital space where each company must choose the customised path with the technology that best suits its size and activity. To achieve this path, it is also necessary to rethink the design of spaces and the way they are conceptualised. This is precisely, according to Miquel Àngel Julià, the goal of the Onoffteam team: to design, implement and build both the physical and digital space from the beginning of the conceptualisation of a new business model.

As Yuka Nakasone and Miquel Àngel Julià Hierro explained, “space must not only be phygital, a hybridisation of physical and digital, but hybrid in every sense. It is necessary to have a sectorial transversality that in turn allows innovation led by transdisciplinary teams with crossed views and different expertise”. As Miquel Àngel stated, “In order to achieve a better planet on which to live, Design must now more than ever be Co-Design”.