The MOByök. Laser cut reclaimed cardboard, locally made.

Here is one last article about my current business venture in Barcelona. After having written about the VOC-free drywallstips on energy saving, the PVC-free piping, our reclaimed bathroom sinks, the natural wood fibre wall insulationbathrooms and kitchensbedsour office, and some of our furniture, I would like to mention a few more materials and actions we have taken at yök Casa + Cultura in Spain. Recyclability was always a key factor in choosing the materials, as well as proximity.


imageyök’s Instagram/via

The MOByök is a multifunctional piece specially designed for our hotel rooms. You can use it as a stool, table base, foot rest etc. but mainly it is meant to raise your suitcase to a comfortable height while living out of it. Together with designer Marcello Cannarsa we designed it, and fabricated it at the FabCafe inside the MOB co-working spacearound the corner from yök. Marcello collected used cardboard boxes from businesses in the area, laser cut them and then assembled them using only a belt. By avoiding adding other materials such as glue, we made sure the whole thing can still be recycled after its (second) use.


imageyök’s Instagram/via

It wasn’t easy finding VOC-free paints that were also within our budget and worked well. Sometimes with eco-paint you have to add more layers and it still doesn’t cover the wall perfectly. We managed to get VOC-free white walls thanks to CapaSilan by Caparol, whose VOC content is < 1 g/l. A few walls (like the one in the photo below) had a beautiful textured colour so we managed to preserve them as they were by sealing the pores with a natural latex.

image© Carlos Barruz for yök

Good tourism

image© yök Casa + Cultura’s business plan using the Business Model Generation canvas

Last but not least, especially in a city affected by mass (bad) tourism and high air pollution, at yök we are challenged to come up with a sustainable way to do business without sacrificing the experience of our guests, both visitors and locals. The 3 Ps (People, Planet & Profit) are our guideline. We are by no means perfect, but we hope to set an example and a platform for better tourism in our city. Nothing sums it up better than our Manifesto.

I would like to thank Treehugger and especially Lloyd Alter for the opportunity to document our eco-renovation here over the last 8 months since the first article and photos of the space before renovating in february. I received many encouraging emails, more questions and interesting comments from readers around the world. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any thoughts or to stay with us when you are in Barcelona next time.

Here a few more photos from our Instagram feed. From top to bottom we have Fem Ferro building a long-lasting, fully recyclable cabinet for our terrace, Tudor figuring out how to install the w+w, Vitali the electrician, and Maño the carpenter.

We just discovered Works that Work, a magazine in english and spanish “for the curious mind, intending to surprise its readers with a rich mix of diverse subjects connected by the theme of unexpected creativity that improved our lives.” Finally in-depth design stories and not just pretty pictures!

Another classic apartment in the Eixample neighbourhood, recently renovated by Gustau Gili Galfetti. More information and photos via diarioDESIGN

We love the way Nook architects have renovated this old apartment in the barrio Gótico, respecting the old tiles and the textures of the walls for the new layout. More about the project on Dezeen and DiarioDesign (in spanish). If you like this style, also check out this apartment.

A great way to travel for creative minds! Swap your home with another designer or visual artist via Behomm. By invite only.

Books we are enjoying at the moment! 

We like good design made in Spain! And this one comes with a message! #PaísdePandereta is a spanish branded project by Aa studio that is looking for crowd funding via Verkami at the moment. We want one!

Not every souvenir needs to be kitsch or trash. Designer Héctor Serrano together with young designers from Valencia proof this in VLC Souvenir

Above: Local Stamps by Noelia Muñoz. “Xè, valencianízate!”

See all the products of VLC Souvenir via DiarioDesign.

Patricia is testing our wallpaper idea of using the pages of architect Antonio Rovira i Rabassa's publications from 1899-1900. He's the guy who designed the building we are in, in 1869!

Note: We since found out that, due to a fire in the Barcelona register, this information is incorrect, and Rovira i Rabassa designed in fact, the building in front of ours! We still like his drawings though, and decided to use them anyway.

The Marquina family has just launched this Tribute to Rafael Marquina (1921-2013), the Catalan designer and architect responsible for the award-winning anti-drip oil recipient. Get inspired!

Very nice simple multifunctional object, perfect for short-stay rooms.


MAK by Robin Keussen

(via 1003-okmryas)

Impressive hotels… but don’t they all kind of look the same?


Best Urban Hotels 2013: The shortlist

Hôtel de nell, Paris, France