Tourism Office | JOSE MANUEL SANZ Arquitectos

Casa de la Panadería at Plaza Mayor in Madrid Madrid / Spain / 2015

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ENG - Located in one of the most attractive and emblematic places in Madrid, the new Tourism Offices in the center of the capital will no longer just be a place for tourists to find information about the city, now it will be a place to visit in itself, thanks to the innovative design that blends seamlessly into the historical characteristics of the space.
The area transformed by the project is located on one level, occupying a part of the ground floor of the building known as the Casa de la Panadería. Its function is to provide information, and spread the cultural and touristic values of Madrid, as well as providing a small space for administrative support. In addition, there is also a major audiovisual component for use by visitors.
In the words of José Manuel Sanz, “In architecture, the most important thing is what you want to transmit, using materials to realise a vision. In this case, the symbiosis between the idea and the material was very clear, which is clearly visible in the resulting project". This is a great example of how HI-MACS® has been put to the service of the project and has proved to be the ideal material to complete it.
With the main goal being to recover the original configuration of the location, Jose Manuel Sanz and his team took charge of updating the information center, bringing a modern touch and using the most current technology to inform visitors. In this way, the use of HI-MACS® for most of the furniture contrasts perfectly with the existing materials, creating a space with personality but still rooted in its historical essence.
After completing all the renovations, the building re-opened its doors to the public in October 2015, after five months of work. When redesigning the ground floor, factors such as the importance of the fluidity of the space, the distribution of the work area and customer location were taken into account.

The spaces
The challenge lay in the fact that tourism offices are information centres, used to find clarity and efficiency to serve the public. This is an aspect that has been taken into account throughout the development of the refurbishment.
The area is divided into two areas, firstly the vaulted space, where the old bakery stood and, secondly, the area that was the courtyard of the house. For Jose Manuel Sanz and his team, the main thing was to recover the original configuration of the space, as well as freeing up the central space of columns, allowing it to be apparent. Although the space is viewed as a whole, with a surface of 321 m2, it has different areas: the area for attending to the general public, where people who visit the city can get answers to their questions; an area for exchanging information about restaurants, museums, etc.; and a shopping area in which visitors can purchase products, such as tour-bus and theater tickets, as well as souvenirs of the city of Madrid.

The front desk made with HI-MACS® acrylic stone is the unifying element of the entire Office of Tourism, running the length of it and providing continuity. Its function is to unite the courtyard with the vaulted space, allowing the visitor to know that they will be served at any point of the counter.
At the back of the offices, occupying the old courtyard and where the counter joins the two spaces, is the audiovisual area, where the center's technological setup is available. The goal is to attract visitors to this information, so that the whole place works as one as a service to the public.

The counter, protagonist of the project
The counter is sinuous and winds around the columns and adapts itself to the original distribution of the space, moving in both directions towards the wall to create areas at which to serve the public and thus recover the central space where visitors move about. In this way, the public can go to any point of the desk easily, establishing a friendly relationship. In addition, the use of a continuous desk greatly increases the usability, since it also presents different heights to accommodate people standing, seated or in a wheelchair.
"The possibility of making a single element that could be read as a continuous piece, is what interested us. Which is why we created a piece that is prolonged and meanders throughout the space, tying the different areas of the office of tourism together", this is how the architect José Manuel Sanz describes the usefulness of the counter.
HI-MACS®, thanks to its thermoformable properties and invisible joints, responded perfectly to their requirements. The acrylic stone material makes it possible to produce furniture that is manufactured in various parts, however that fact is totally imperceptible once it is assembled. In addition, its thickness gives a remarkable translucency that allows backlighting to make the counter an especially attractive and light element above the granite flooring. The material shows its maximum versatility in the bench that is integrated into the counter itself. Acrylic stone was also used for the information tables that contain computers or tablets, in some of the display stands and the lean-to seats for user comfort, among others.
Since it is a public space that is in continuous contact with visitors, the durability and strength of the material was also a key aspect. HI-MACS® has a long life as it is very resistant to wear and scratches. In addition, its non-porous surface makes it totally hygienic and very easy to clean.

Materials at the Service of the Idea
All the materials used needed to adhere to the historical nature of the space, allowing simple designs and rescuing both the vaults and the unity of the patio. The HI-MACS® front desk, which is responsible for providing the touch of modernity to the project, helped bridge the contrast between the contemporary and the antique. It should be noted, that in addition to the fact that the material offers a series of possibilities, the way it is handled is also key. In this case, the work of the carpentry Maderama was essential to obtain a flawless finish.
"Materials are the words of the speech that we want to deliver. HI-MACS® offered us the perfect qualities for what we were looking for, with it we were able to achieve exactly what we were drawing: a sinuous counter that could move both horizontally and vertically", says José Manuel Sanz.

Following the main premise for this project, practically all the original materials have been used. Granite is the plane of reference, present around the entire Plaza Mayor, and extending from the door throughout the interior. In this way, we imply that this is a public space that spreads inward, into an information space belonging to the square itself. The granite, which is located all over the floor, has an under-floor heating and cooling system (with low-temperature water), and has a contrasting LED signaling system to make the walk-ways visible. For the walls and the ceilings the existing materials have been used to respect the origins. The vaults were lined brick archways joined by vaulted plaster, with plastered walls, and so they have remained. All the elements blend in one white tone to achieve the fusion of the whole area.
The modification of the climate and lighting facilities was necessary to eliminate most of their visual influence and transfer all importance to the renovated space. In an open space, lighting is critical in creating environments. For this reason, in the patio area, the upper light filters through a louvre lattice that moderates and qualifies both natural and artificial light, which is hidden above the lattice. The artificial light is produced by several lines of LEDs in the roof that provide similar lighting at any time of the day.

"History is always present. Being faithful to our time by carrying out current architecture, while at the same time contemplating the legacy of what we have received, has been our key", summarizes José Manuel Sanz as his work philosophy. This has been abundantly demonstrated in the tourism offices project, where HI-MACS® has played a major role.


ITA - Situato in uno dei luoghi più attraenti ed emblematici di Madrid, il nuovo Ufficio del Turismo non è solo un centro informativo, ma una vera e propria meta storica e culturale a sé stante da visitare, per la sua bellezza semplice ma stupefacente.
Rimesso a nuovo dopo cinque mesi di lavori, l’edificio ha riaperto i battenti al pubblico nell’ottobre 2015. Interamente rinnovata, la struttura ad oggi si estende su un intero piano e occupa una parte dell’edificio noto come la Casa de la Panadería. La sua funzione è quella di fornire informazioni e diffondere i valori culturali e turistici di Madrid, offrendo nel contempo un piccolo spazio riservato alle attività amministrative della capitale.
Nell’intento di ritrovare la configurazione originale del posto, Jose Manuel Sanz e i suoi collaboratori si sono dedicati a ridisegnare il centro in chiave moderna, prendendo in considerazione vari fattori determinanti come la fluidità dello spazio, la ripartizione degli ambienti di lavoro e della zona riservata al pubblico. In quest’ottica, l’utilizzo di HI-MACS® per i complementi d’arredo genera uno stupefacente contrasto con i materiali esistenti, e crea uno spazio ricco di personalità pur restando profondamente fedele alla sua essenza storica.

Gli spazi
Nel progetto si possono individuare due aree: la zona a volta, dove esisteva in precedenza il vecchio forno, e la zona che corrispondeva al vecchio cortile dell’edificio. L’ambiente, ora areato, luminoso e ampio, ha posto al centro un colonnato prima non valorizzato. La superficie complessiva, di 321 mq, è ora adibita a differenti funzioni, non solo per rispondere alle esigenze e curiosità dei visitatori, ma anche per prenotare i servizi e gli intrattenimenti, così come per fare acquisti in un curioso bistrot.

La reception, interamente realizzata in pietra acrilica HI-MACS®, costituisce l’elemento unificatore di tutto l’Ufficio del Turismo, sviluppandosi in tutta la sua lunghezza e dando un grande senso di continuità.
Sul retro degli uffici, dove si trovava il vecchio cortile, si trova ora uno lo spazio audiovisivo con il setup tecnologico del centro. Lo scopo è quello di attirare e stupire i visitatori fornendo loro informazioni in modo interattivo, innovativo e divertente.

Il bancone in HI-MACS® come vero protagonista
Il bancone del ricevimento si snoda sinuosamente intorno alle colonne adattandosi alla disposizione originale dello spazio e muovendosi in entrambe le direzioni verso il muro. La sua lunghezza, così come la sua struttura a più altezze, ideata per servire persone in piedi, sedute e su sedie a rotelle, lo rendono poi, oltre che moderno nell’aspetto, anche incredibilmente funzionale.
“Il nostro scopo era di creare un elemento singolo che si potesse percepire come un’entità continua. Ecco perché abbiamo creato una struttura che si prolunga e snoda nello spazio, collegando tra di loro le varie zone dell’ufficio”: dichiara Jose Manuel Sanz, tra gli architetti che hanno seguito il progetto.
Grazie alla sua caratteristica termoformabilità che permette di nascondere alla vista i segni di giunzione, HI-MACS® è risultato fondamentale per ottenere l’effetto di continuità del bancone. Lo spessore del materiale, poi, gli ha conferito una notevole traslucenza, che interagisce con la retroilluminazione e trasforma il banco in un elemento attraente e particolarmente luminoso, in contrasto con il pavimento in granito. La versatilità del materiale si manifesta inoltre nella lunga panca, integrata nel banco stesso. La pietra acrilica è stata utilizzata infine anche per realizzare i totem informativi e interattivi, per alcuni espositori e per le sedute destinate agli ospiti.
Trattandosi di uno spazio a continuo contatto con il pubblico, HI-MACS® è stato scelto anche per la sua durabilità e resistenza all’usura, ai graffi, alle macchie e agli agenti chimici. L’assenza di pori sulla superficie, infine, lo rende perfettamente igienico e facilissimo da pulire.

Lo studio dei materiali, tra antico e moderno
Tutti i materiali impiegati hanno dovuto rispecchiare il carattere storico dell’ambiente e la sua semplicità estetica. HI-MACS®, qui lavorato da Maderama, è stato scelto, ad esempio, per fare da connessione tra due epoche, andando a inserire nello spazio storico un elemento ultra-moderno in netto contrasto, ma che non risulta assolutamente eccessivo, sfrontato.
Il materiale di riferimento per le superfici, comunque, è sicuramente il granito, già presente nell’edificio così come nella zona circostante della città. Questa scelta non è certamente casuale, ma studiata per linkare gli uffici del turismo alla piazza circostante, con continuità, sottolineando l’identità pubblica dell’edificio e invitando i passanti ad entrarvi.
Il granito è provvisto di un sistema sottostante di riscaldamento e di raffreddamento (con acqua a bassa temperatura), e possiede un sistema di segnalazione a LED che evidenzia i percorsi pedonali. Le pareti e i soffitti sono rimasti quelli esistenti, così come le volte, formate da arcate di mattoni a vista, congiunte mediante mura intonacate di bianco.
"La Storia è onnipresente” dichiara Jose Manuel Sanz riassumendo il suo approccio: “Il nostro motto è quello di restare fedeli al nostro tempo promuovendo l’architettura moderna, ma senza mai perdere di vista il patrimonio tramandatoci”. Questo traspare con grande evidenza dal progetto degli uffici del turismo, nel quale HI-MACS® ha sostenuto il ruolo di protagonista.

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    ENG - Located in one of the most attractive and emblematic places in Madrid, the new Tourism Offices in the center of the capital will no longer just be a place for tourists to find information about the city, now it will be a place to visit in itself, thanks to the innovative design that blends seamlessly into the historical characteristics of the space.The area transformed by the project is located on one level, occupying a part of the ground floor of the building known as the Casa de la...

    Project details
    • Year 2015
    • Work started in 2013
    • Work finished in 2015
    • Status Completed works
    • Type Office Buildings / Recovery/Restoration of Historic Buildings
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