Sectoral cross-cutting, hybridization of spaces and healthy architecture at Interihotel 2021

On February 15, Grup Idea was present at the round table on sectoral cross-cutting that brought together topics such as the hybridization of spaces between the hotel, retail, corporate offices and housing sectors and the importance of healthy architecture and lighting in comfort. The session ‘Sectoral cross-cutting. The hotel as an architectural typology of the future ‘opened the digital edition of the Interihotel fair on hotel interior design.

During the meeting, they talked about the necessary transformation of hotel spaces from the hybridization of other sectors: Coworking, Coliving, Retail and other 24-hour services. In the round table, Miquel Ángel Julià Hierro, architect, coordinator of the Grup de Treball Retail of COAC, director and teacher at Escola Sert and Director of Strategy and Design at Grup Idea participated as presenter and moderator. Also participating were Felip Neri Gordi, Facility Management expert and collaborator of the Happy Working Lab team, and Tainá Zagonel, architect and project manager at Grup Idea. In addition, Gisela Steiger, creative director and co-founder of The Light Squad Studio; Nieves Fernandez, architect specialized in ephemeral installations and retail, chief architect at Method Montes; and Sonia Hernandez, founder of Arquitectura Sana.


Hybrid design of spaces and the promotion of the digital environment


Miquel Àngel Julià began the round table reflecting on the crisis situation of the current building typologies and the path towards hybridization and the change of uses in spaces such as homes, hotels, corporate offices, hospitals or schools. “The pandemic has allowed us to do a Stop & Think. It is necessary to question the building typologies with which we have so far designed and created the city. We must conceptualize new spaces with the help of hybrid systems ”.

For Felip Neri, an expert in Facility Management, this hybridization and coexistence of uses in the same space is now a reality. From Happy Working Lab they convert housing properties into shared homes where you live, work, study and share services and recreational or sports activities

Also due to the pandemic and the slowdown on tourism, 75% of the hotels in Barcelona are closed and, some to respond to the inherent expenses, have also become co-living rooms, taking advantage of a typology very close to this use . Felip Neri pointed out the opportunity of these two approaches to respond to part of the affordable housing problem.

Tainá Zagonel, architect, interior designer and expert in physical retail, spoke of the importance of acting agile in times of pandemic. Zagonel, who has recently worked as a project manager in retail projects for major brands, spoke about Grup Idea’s experience in design, engineering and management for the four sectors in which they are specialists and how many businesses are hybrids in the present and its uses are mixed. “Also in the context of the work, we have had to incorporate technological tools to expand connectivity, work with the team remotely and give the client peace of mind in project management”.

Promoting the digital environment is also one of the actions carried out through the R&D department of the Método Montes where Nieves Fernández works. “Hotel typologies must change to survive. Hotels could generate virtual spaces for conventions and create content in them. We must think about the digital native generations and convert the spaces so that they understand us ”, she stressed. In other words, the future goes through finding the perfect symbiosis between the digital and physical world, to enter the current language and needs.


Healthy architecture and lighting criteria for greater comfort


In addition to designing multipurpose and flexible spaces, it will be necessary to put the biological and physiological needs of people at the center. Sonia Hernández-Montaño, promoter of Arquitectura Sana, accompanies various entities to introduce health criteria in their projects. “Until now, there has been a very rigid and sectorized vision of spaces reduced to a single family model. According to Hernández, in hotels the standardized typologies should also be transcended so that the spaces are adapted to the real needs of use. From his point of view, spaces should be designed with optimum biotic quality, choosing biocompatible materials and systems, as in the case of lighting adapted to chronobiological criteria.

For her part, Gisela Steiger from The Light Squad Studio, explained that lighting is increasingly essential in the search for user comfort and that strategies must be adopted to improve the user experience, both in work spaces and in relaxation. You have to achieve comfort. “In multipurpose spaces, we achieve comfort by zoning and highlighting materiality”, he added.

Finally, the speakers shared their impressions of how we will live in 2030: in community places, multipurpose, healthy, safe, comfortable and natural spaces where artificial light is only a consequence of natural light. “Many changes do depend on the administration but also on ourselves as active people and aware of our consumption patterns and the impact of our decisions,” Sonia Hernández said. The session can be retrieved on the Interihotel page ‘Sectoral cross-cutting. The hotel as an architectural typology of the future ‘ in spanish.


The medicalization of hotels, at Interihotel 2021


The first week of Interihotel 2021 ended with the presentation of the Hotel-Salut Case Study on the medicalization of the Catalonia Plaza Hotel in collaboration with Hospital Clínic during the coronavirus pandemic. The objective of the Hotel-Salud project study was to compile the accumulated experience and set guidelines for future assemblies.

The study was carried out by the teaching team and postgraduate students of the Escola SertProyectar el Hotel del siglo XXI  and Facility Management, and had the support of the architects of the Facility Management, Retail and COAC Architecture and Health.

For this, Miquel Àngel Julià Hierro, presented and moderated a round table in which the following participated: Sandra Bestraten, President of the Barcelona Demarcation of the COAC; Anna Prats, Treasurer and coordinator of the COAC Working Groups: Daniel Isern, director of the postgraduate program in Hotel Design 3.0, at the SERT School and Lourdes Sitjà, director of the Hotel Catalonia Barcelona Plaza. To close the session, Manel Casals, Gremi d’Hotels de Barcelona director and General Secretary of the Barcelona Hotels Guild, were present. The session can be retrieved on the Interihotel link Case Study: Hotel-Salut Project in spanish.

Reflections and studies like these and the changes that are taking place in the tourism sector, lead us to reflect not only on the change in regulations in the hotel sector, but also on the need, as Julià said, to “have a transversal view between the different building typologies, connecting the different uses according to the user’s demands”.