Roca Barcelona Gallery
The Barcelona-based Roca, one of the world’s top producers of bath furnishings and tile, wanted to increase its visibility. So the company approached Carlos Ferrater’s Office of Architecture in Barcelona (OAB) in 2008 to transform a small 1960s office building it occupied into a brand showroom. Although the timing was precarious — right when the financial crisis hit — design architect Borja Ferrater developed a successful stage for Roca’s products and services, thanks to scale, materials, and public allure.
The development of this project is a study of special interest to us. Designing a project for a client like Roca is a big challenge, but a bigger challenge is creating a successful design.
A whole range of possibilities is open to us by working with a company that is continually evolving with concerns about a current image that meets contemporary demands. We are aware that proposing a headquarters/social center/showroom for a business, brand, institution, etc. is more than creating just a building, it is representing and projecting an image through architecture, and therefore the building should express a corporate image in the collective memory.
Another challenge is creating a flagship project for a company like Roca in Barcelona which entails making a project for a large company in a big city – not just a big city, but as we see it, an epicenter of events, a global city in which there are many different types of looks and ideas which makes it a strategic city for the development of the best companies. Typological study: since this type of building is based on its uniqueness or character, the exterior has a role of greater importance, especially since it is the first impression of the building.
Even though the principal material of the façade is glass, the building does not function as a large window display. The glass works in different ways so that at some times it appears transparent and functions as a type of veil and reveals a bit of the inside but at other times it is simply perceived as transparent. In this way, the building becomes a unique piece, both day and night since in daylight it functions as a piece that attracts passers-by due to the seductive effect of the veil, and at night the building becomes a beacon.
The logo/brand is presented on the façade in a discreet way, which is achieved by reducing its size in relation to the rest of the façade and utilizing transparencies or shades through which visibility is reduced, or completely blends the logo into the composition of the entire façade without being too evident. In all cases, the image of the architectural object predominates over the image of the product itself, allowing the building itself to incorporate the corporate image of the brand in the collective memory.
The resulting interior features dramatic volumes with installations that invite visitors to browse the company’s products and explore its bath solutions through state-of-the-art interactive displays. An additional exhibition space accommodates business and consumer events, often in conjunction with collaborating companies. “[Roca] wants to erase the detachment that companies have from society,” explains Ferrater.
According to Roca brand and communications director Xavier Torras, the gallery has received thousands of visitors since it opened in fall 2009. He estimates that business gleaned just from the buzz generated by the building amounts to $1.2 million. Awareness and positive perception of the company have also grown. “This is the first time in our communication history that we have had results like these,” says Torras.
Project name: Roca Barcelona Gallery
Location: Carrer de Joan Güell, 211, 08028 Barcelona, Spain
Coordinates: 41.386577, 2.128960
Structural system: Preexistent concrete structure with some metal reinforcement columns.
Gross Floor Area: 27.000 sq.ft.
Construction cost: $14.6 million
Construction Year: 2008 – 2009
Completion Year: October 2009
- Advertising International Festival Cannes lions Award – France
- Spainish communication Effectiveness Awards – Spain
- IDLD Lighting Design Awards – United states
- LAMP Lighting Solution Awards – Spain
- Wallpaper Design Awards – United Kingdom
- Architectural Recorded Awards – United states
Client / Owner / Developer: Roca Barcelona
Architects: OAB – Office of Architecture in Barcelona
Project Architects: Lucía Ferrater, Borja Ferrater, Carlos Ferrater
Project Team: Birgit Eschenlor, Rodolfo Reis, Emiliano Scotti, David Abondano
Interior designer: OAB
Engineers: JG CONSULTING, JORDI BERNUZ
Lighting: OAB, ARTEC3
General contractor: EMPTY SA
Text Description: © Courtesy of OAB
Images: © OAB, Alejo Bagué