IGuzzini Ibérica Headquarters in Sant Cugat
The “il Cielo” iGuzzini lighting headquarters in Spain is the last of a series of constructions that have adopted sustainable energy and natural and artificial light management as the cornerstones of their design. The building, located in the Parque de Actividades Empresariales Can Sant Joan in Sant Cugat del Vallès, is the result of optimised energy efficiency, not just in terms of consumption but also in the way that energy is generated.
iGuzzini Sky is located at one of the major highway interchanges of the Barcelona area, in an extremely very fragile landscape. In order to avoid modifying the existing topography, a large part of the building’s programme is underground while the rest, the office building, stands above the ground, suspended in the air.
iGuzzini Sky is, at heart, an R&D centre for the development of technical knowledge and expertise in lighting systems, the facilities for which are located both inside and outside the building.
Most of the programme is housed in the huge underground container—built with concrete walls and screens, and barely disturbing the natural lay of the site—volume it shares with spaces for stock and distribution, product management, a showroom and a garage. Of these only the stockroom requires natural light, and thus is equipped with some skylights in a roof that also serves as a showroom for outdoor lighting systems.
The north side of the building houses the technical installations and is somewhat offset from the natural terrain to provide direct access for maintenance of the latter.
Concrete proved the ideal material for the construction of this container, employing conventional concrete retaining walls around the perimeter and precast concrete columns and screens inside. This system also provides high thermal inertia, reducing considerably energy consumption.
The indoor showroom features a large indoor exhibition space for the entire iGuzzini product range and space, including an auditorium, designed as a centre for product presentation and the dissemination and sharing of knowledge.
Another space—known as the theatre of light—is dedicated to the simulation of a range of lighting conditions for the purpose of precision testing and design of virtually any sort of system the company makes, including prototype development. The high-ceiling theatre, a key facility in iGuzzini’s research efforts, is equipped with movable structures, height-adjustable platforms and a high ceiling adaptable to changing needs in the placement of lighting systems.
Like the indoor showroom, the outdoor showroom is designed to provide the optimum setting for the exhibition and testing of the company’s entire outdoor product range. It is conceived as a large pixelated space with different interchangeable pieces in order to provide the broadest possible range of supports for product testing and display. Based on systems normally used in the interior of buildings, it features a height-adjustable raised floor for easy access to wiring and a great deal of freedom in the placement of mains connections. The enormous flexibility of this floor makes this large, open showroom one of the most advanced in existence.
Like the underground volume, the corporate office building hovering above it and the landscape, is equipped with the latest technology in technical and climate management and control systems. The principal rationale of its design is to optimize natural light. The building does not seek orientation toward any roadway in particular, but rather avoids imposing this sort of hierarchy on its environment. A large open courtyard framed by the main structure—the pentagonal column system from which the building hangs—ensures homogeneous light in the workspaces. This lightwell acts as a centre point of the office spaces and plays a key role in overall energy management of the building. The column system, meanwhile, leaves the work spaces free from structural elements, opening them up to both the courtyard and the surrounding landscape. A sunscreen covers the building only where absolutely necessary. Indeed, this is another rationale of and way of reading the project: as an expression of bare necessity.
Il Cielo iGuzzini does not belong to the ground on which it sits. Like a balloon, Leonidov’s aerostat, it will attempt to escape from this world, seeking a new sky. It will describe the conditions of the light, natural and artificial, in its interior, it will refer to its origins, recognizing a geometric order, but above all it will want to speak to us of aspirations.
- Moored to the ground, it belongs to this place, and to all other places.
In reality there are forms that can only be drawn once, buildings that can only be built once. The second time is a replica. We believe in this opportunity for iGuzzini.
Because this form, imperfect, slightly deformed, belongs to the world of iGuzzini; its identification is easy, and not everyone can, with authority, appropriate this profile, this geometry.
A light, a big world, a big atrium around a shared central court… where the sense of belonging is proudly made explicit.
Il Cielo iGuzzini does not seek to boast of explicit technological innovation, since that would soon date it as new technologies rapidly superseded its own content.
But it does seek to be an example of current development towards well understood sustainability in both technological and energy terms.
Our proposal seeks to exemplify, in architecture, the conditions closest to humankind, of collectivity, of ambition, of excellence… and to survive the passage of time because its origin is in the formal search that expresses such conditions.
Il Cielo iGuzzini is located by one of the roadway hubs of Barcelona, in a fragile condition of stability on the site where it sits. Without modifying the topography, a large underground space is previously delimited, regular in form, providing for storage, parking, showroom, auditorium, technical services. Its roof is proposed as an exterior technical floor such that it works like an outdoor showroom.
Atop this underground container emerges the company building, spherical in form though slightly deformed on the south side.
A large central void, occupied by the single column from which the entire building is suspended, permits greater light and energy control inside. The spaces within the sphere are offices and, on the upper floors, research facilities.
Project name: IGuzzini Ibérica Headquarters in Sant Cugat
Location: Avinguda Generalitat, 168, 08174 Sant Cugat del Vallès, Barcelona, Spain
Coordinates: 41.491269, 2.057528
Type: Office Building, Reseach / laboratories Center
Specific Use of Building: R&D centre for the development of technical knowledge and expertise in lighting systems
Project Area: 9,000 sqm
Project Year: 2006, Competition: First prize
Construction Year: 2008-2011
Cost: < 12M €
Completion Year: 2011
Client / Owner / Developer: Miquel Chiva – iGuzzini Illuminazione Ibérica S.A.
Architects: Mias Arquitectes – Barcelona, Spain
Principal Architect: Josep Miàs
Project Leader: Silvia Brandi
Technical Advisor: Carles Bou
- Pablo Varesi, Adriana Porta, Fausto Raposo, Hélène Barbot, Andrés Dejanon, Mario Blanco, Horacio Arias, Anna Mañosa, Janine Woitoshek, Stefania Carboni, Margherita Corbetta, Mannick Eigenheer, Isabelle Glenz, Diogo Henriques, Silvia Lai, Pier Francesco Lisci, Roberta Luna, Francisca Marzotto, Ines Reis, Diego Romero, Emanuela Scano, María Tapias
Civil Engineer: Carles Bou, Josep Miàs
Environmental Engineer: Josep Juliol – PGI Engineering
Lighting Consultant: Josep Masbernat – iGuzzini Illuminazione Ibérica SA
Structural Engineer: Agustí Obiol, Josep Ramón Solé – BOMA
Sustainability Consultant: Josep Juliol – PGI Engineering
Text Description: © Courtesy of Mias Arquitectes, iGuzzini Ibérica
Images: © Mias Arquitectes, Adrià Goula
Materials & Suplier:
Curtain wall: JANSEN AG
Lighting: iGuzzini Illuminazione SpA
Metallic structure: NG – TRUMSES
Raised floor – floors: Marazzi Engineering – Marazzi
Tensile membrane: IASO SA
Textile solar protection: Serge Ferrari SAS