Roca opens new gallery and social activities centre in Barcelona

News /
15 December 2009

Roca, the world leader in bathroom spaces, has chosen Barcelona as the location for its new gallery and social activities centre. The centre, which has been named the Roca Gallery and is a worldwide benchmark reference for the brand´s cultural, social and exhibition activities, will open its doors to the public in the second half of 2009.

For a multinational company like Roca, which is about to celebrate its one hundredth anniversary, the inauguration of this centre is a proud moment which will also communicate the message of the brand's meaning to society, as well as relating its history and its most important recent achievements.

Roca Gallery, located in Juan Güell Street, has been developed in collaboration with the prestigious OAB architects´studio (Office of Architecture in Barcelona) by Carlos Ferrater, his son, Borja and daughter, Lucia. For them, “ creating the building has posed a great challenge and has implied much more than a mere construction job. It has meant the interpretation and expression of the company's values through the medium of architecture”. This modern building features elements such as water, light, and colours, which are the essence of the Roca hallmark, to generate spaces and ambiences unique to Roca through the medium of architecture.

Carlos Ferrater´s acclaim is not only corroborated by the numerous awards he has received both in Spain and abroad, but also by other outstanding work he has carried out. Among some of his most noteworthy designs are the 3 blocks in the Olympic Village for the ´92 Olympic Games in Barcelona, the luxurious King Juan Carlos I hotel in Barcelona or the Toro wine cellars, as well as the Parque de las Ciencias in Granada and the Torre Aquileia in Venice. His son, Borja and his daughter Lucia have also won awards on several occasions for their contributions to the world of architecture, most notably, the first FAD prize in the Ephemeral Architecture category in 2006 which Borja Ferrater received with his father Carlos for their exhibition in Madrid “M.C. Escher. El arte de lo imposible.” (“The Art of the Impossible.”)

The Roca Gallery building is 2,400 sq.m. spread across 3 levels which feature new technological and artistic elements, both inside and out, transforming it into a unique space in which to experience Roca. Roca's commitment to design can be clearly appreciated in the exterior of the building whose facade aims to surprise and at the same time remain unaltered with the passage of time. Made totally from glass, its concept has posed a technological challenge and has been built in a completely innovative way. The objective is for the building to act as if it were a box of light, playing on its transparency, resembling a huge shop window with its interior displayed in a distorted manner. By day, depending on the light, surprising visual effects are created in the interior, while at night, the structure remains totally illuminated thanks to the hundreds of leds which run through it. Roca Gallery is a unique architectural work, not only for the city of Barcelona, but for world architecture in general.

The interior reveals a unique, architectonic interactive space featuring advanced, innovative techniques, which together with the modern audiovisual, sound and light systems, will transport the visitor to the latest generation of the spatial dimension. A zonal detection system and a array of touch sensitive screens allow the visitor to interact with the building and “feel” Roca.

The ground floor, named “Roca World”, focuses on the concentration of the Roca essence : its brand values, its history, its most significant details and the main areas where Roca is working such as on their commitment to reducing water consumption and sustainability, innovation, design and the bathroom of the future. To convey all these concepts in a pleasing, attractive and educational format to the visitor, Roca has installed futuristic consultative tools with the latest technology such as touch sensitive interactive tables or 3D projections. Parallel to this, and on the same floor, visitors can take a quick visual tour of the different bathrooms of the world and discover the importance of water for mankind. They can also watch and interact with the “Rituals” projection which shows, on a life-size scale using real images, the wide range of daily activities we regularly perform in the bathroom.

Visitors will also be surprised by the innovative audiovisual effects of “Momentums” which appear simultaneously at regular intervals in all the exhibition areas, creating sensations related to water and atmospheric phenomena such as rain and ice.

Finally, on the ground floor, there is also the reception area, the Lounge Area, toilets, an online consultation point and a program for designing individual bathroom spaces. On the upper floor, there is a display of the wide range of the latest innovative Roca products, created in collaboration with well-known designers and architects. Through the “Interactive Bathroom Space Visualizer”, the visitor can see and consult the collections applied in bathroom space in large format.

The First Floor is an open, well-lit space called the “Triple Espacio” (“Triple Space”) to house the different temporary exhibitions and socio-cultural presentations which will be programmed during the year. This floor also has a meeting room and video conference centre, both equipped with the latest communications technology.

To celebrate the inauguration of the Roca Gallery, the “Triple Espacio” (“Triple Space”) will host an interesting, temporary exhibition about the history of the bathroom called “El Baño. Una mirada histórica” (“The Bathroom. An historical perspective.”), which will bring together remarkable pieces such as the Dolphin toilet and the bidet from the empress Sissi´s dressing table.

Roca Gallery is a new concept in social space, an experimental, innovative place which extends an open invitation to the city and the public in general. It is the Roca “place of experience” project, where they explain their past, present and future in a unique and surprising way, while at the same time presenting their values and their ongoing efforts in design, research, development and sustainability.

Roca Gallery shows the visitor the importance of water in society, highlighting the importance of its correct administration while simultaneously demonstrating that sustainability and design can go hand in hand, with the best selection of Roca products, developed together with the most prestigious architects and designers. Roca Gallery is a cultural centre which will offer a steady program of socio-cultural activities, such as specific events, presentations and temporary exhibitions on a host of themes, making the building an original space within the sector and an example within society, both culturally and architectonically.

Roca is the world leader in the definition of bathroom space and a benchmark reference in design. The company was founded in 1917, is active in more than 135 markets with more than 65 factories spread over 17 countries. Currently, Roca has showrooms en Madrid, Lisbon and London (both under construction), Sofia, Sao Paulo, Prague, Shanghai, Vienna (under construction) and Casablanca. Roca have always prided themselves on their highly professional teams who endeavour to develop solutions in bathroom space. That is why they have created the Innovation Lab. which functions as a working unit of the Roca Design Centre. The Innovation Lab. works independently from the day to day operations on product development ; interdisciplinary working groups are created to research and probe into different anthropological, ergonomic and social necessities among others. Their main task is to identify future necessities through the study of users´ behaviour and market changes, create new concepts and develop them. Such a process demands the perfect combination of creativity and the right techniques for finding practical solutions.

This is the key resource to drive ahead and lead the company's transformation process whose ultimate goal is its acknowledgement and recognition as the company which defines the bathroom of the future.

In line with its firm commitment to technology, design and innovation, Roca works closely with highly distinguished architects (Moneo, Chipperfield, Herzog & de Meuron), interior designers and design studios (Benedito, Giugiaro, Schmidt & Lackner). Roca is also deeply committed to environmental protection as demonstrated in the creation of its sustainable products which feature water and energy-saving devices.

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