Two dialogues to reflect on new spaces and sustainability

The cycle “(E) co-designing the spaces of tomorrow” took place on Wednesday 16 June, two dialogues co-created by Barcelona Design centre and FINSA that dealt with how, from the perspective of technology, the co-development of projects and the integration of the premises of circular design, we can and must create environments that generate a positive impact for both the planet and people.

DESIGN DIALOGUE: Spaces and environments with a positive impact

Moderated by Maria Isabel Gabarró, PhD Architect and Associate Professor and Director of the Master’s Degree in Architecture & Design Business Management, School of Architecture – UIC Barcelona.

Maria Pomar, technical consultant at FINSA, stated that at an industrial level, caring for the environment is of great concern to them throughout the process: “that the entire chain of custody be maintained, and end up with a product that has consistent and environmental certifications. We are also concerned about the people who will use the products.”. She stressed the importance of listening to what both the end user and the prescriber need, the furniture industry and the habitat itself, and what materials are most in demand right now. She also mentioned the circular economy: “sustainability is the whole circle, it not only affects the material but also the people who work, from the time the tree is planted until the material is enjoyed.”

Ignasi Llauradó, co-founder of Fern studios, explained that in their companies it is very clear that data and information on the sustainability of materials are basic. “Certification is a step, but we have to see if we technically fit the project, not only aesthetically but also functionally”, he added. He spoke of a win-win situation between studios and companies that develop new materials, as “they observe our demands and trends, and when they manage to merge them and create a material that meets both, it’s great”.

Aka Márquez, Project Consultant at Matter HUB (Matter Barcelona), stated that information on certified and traceable products is the pillar on which they work at Matter. “From here we develop our methodologies to evaluate all the materials and choose the most suitable for each project, also understanding that the sustainability of a material comes not only by the processes of manufacture, composition, origin… but also by the context and the application it can have in each project”, she added.

Sergio Sanz Pont, founding partner of Sanzpont, said that internationally the treatment of sustainability is very different in each country, so it is important to have a methodology “that saves energy and is based on sustainable approaches, because it is not the same to do a project where it is very cold or very hot, and this is something fundamental”. According to Sanz, it is important to be able to communicate the benefits that a certain promotion can have on the end user, “such as comfort or energy saving, but it is also important what else you can contribute in spaces to enjoy the natural environment or if you generate activities where they can create a community ”. He also added that “the more these values ​​are communicated, the better the public will understand that they are important.”

DESIGN DIALOGUE: Co-developed Construction

Moderated by Roberto Molinos, co-founder of Modelical architecture studio.

Begoña López, consultant in industrialization, has spoken about the integrated components and the new interest of the sector by these: “they are components that once integrated in a work fulfill automatically the function by which were prescribed”. She also said that digitization is fundamental, as well as the vertical and linear integration of the manufacturers of these components, and gave an example of how the automotive industry works.

She mentioned process engineers, an independent service that makes all the gear work. She said that they are a key figure in integrating the different tasks and innovations into the work, and that it is a missing figure to complete the circle.

She also stressed the importance of serial manufacturing in order to reach competitive prices.

José Ojeda, co-founder and COO at 011H, is working on a value proposition where sustainable buildings (with a zero carbon footprint) are created, building quickly and reliably, all at a market price. The key, for him, is how they do it: “we work as a design and build company. We focus on design and construction, but we do it with a mindset of partnership. We work with partners to see how together, with the process and materials in mind, we can make a leap with the benefits ”.

In addition to the benefits of collaborative projects, Ojeda has also put on the table changes in the sector that are going at a different pace and that are outside the scope of collaboration, such as the creation of scalable solutions, the integration with manufacturers, developing technological solutions …

According to Jacinto Seguí, Director of Technical Consulting at FINSA, we are at the ideal time, because we are starting to do things collectively and collaboratively because society is asking us to do so. He said that we need to “unlearn” the profession: we are in a time of change and therefore we must start working transversally, collaboratively, there are no roles (architect, interior designer, designer), we must all be from from time zero (industry, manufacturing), and keep in mind that designing, managing design, and building design are three different doses but all three are necessary. If we don’t do it collaboratively, we won’t succeed”.

Miquel Àngel Julià, Director of Strategy and Design at Grup Idea, emphasized that technology has always existed to collaborate. “Taking as a reference the claim Think, design, act, I think we have thought a lot about it, we have designed very little about it and what we have not done has been to act, so I stay with one of the three, and in this think we have not yet created knowledge in this country, we have made little compatibility, we have allowed very few sectors to enter”. He added that it is important that all companies meet the Sustainable Development Goals in order to be able to act in the market.

For Ignasi Pérez Arnal, director of the REBUILD congress, the manufacturer has taken the big step to integrate into the value chain, analyze what space it wants to occupy and see all the actors and agents in the chain and see how it can relate to each of them. Among other things, the integration of external knowledge within companies and transversal teams stands out. The vertical of the manufacturers will have to be taken into account in the future because if not, one wonders, “who will industrialize the construction?”.

He also spoke about the servitization of construction: “it is necessary to build thinking about services: active material, change the flexibility of spaces, co-livings… The end customer wants service, not just a product”.