New offices for the “rum of the bat” and its brands.
In 1864, when two brothers from Catalonia, Spain, bought a tin-roof distillery in Cuba to commercially pursue a pioneering rum-making technique, fruit-bats were nesting in the rafters. A symbol of good health, good fortune, and family unity according to Cuban and Catalonian lore, the bat became the logo that launched the Bacardi brand. In 1910, the opening a second distillery in Barcelona made Bacardi the first multinational company in Cuba. More distilleries and a series of acquisitions followed. Today, still family-owned, Bacardi is the largest privately-held spirits company in the world.
At the new Barcelona office, IA’s design pays homage to the company’s heritage and calls out each of the company’s five brands with a distinctive space—the Bacardi Bar, Dewar’s Library, the Martini Espresso Bar Lounge, and the Gray Goose and Bombay Sapphire meeting rooms. Seamlessly incorporating five distinctive brands into the single-floor workspace was challenging, but IA’s experience designing Bacardi’s London office and close work with client teams to craft the brand expression smoothed the way. Bacardi’s classic, signature artwork, adapted for bespoke solutions, is seen across tiles, fabrics, and wall coverings.
Located on a diagonal road, the building and its façade, as well as the floor plate, have angled walls that IA’s design reference to full advantage. Within the workspace, strategically placed arched portals—some of them also angled—lead from one area to another, opening to a different view and ambience for an element of surprise. The diagonal lines of timber floors perpendicular to the façade and carpeting with diagonal strips provide further emphasis and interest.
The design tells the Bacardi story. Materials, provided by local suppliers, reference different highlights on the Bacardi timeline—behind the fully-stocked bar, wallpaper for Cuba; metro tiles for Italy and Martini and Rossi; Gaudi tiles, Miro-style pendant lights, and timber floors for Barcelona. A dedicated story wall adds annotation.
A variety of formal and informal meeting environments host groups of all sizes and accommodate work-style preferences. In one area, seat steps are an option for informal meetings or as an alternative workspace. For large groups, via a folding glass curtain wall, the Bacardi Bar and the Bombay Sapphire Room can be merged. With the goals of working smarter, driving innovation, and enriching the Bacardi work experience for 170 staff, as well as hosting clients, partners, and international colleagues, the project also targeted and achieved WELL certification.
“The rich heritage of the Bacardi brand and the fact that we were working in Barcelona so near to Catalonia took us back to the company’s roots and presented a unique variety of engaging design opportunities,” says IA Project Manager Ilaria Pamigiani.