by Jincy IypeApr 03, 2023
There are various ways in which the disciplines of architecture and design have convinced themselves that their latest endeavours reflect a sustainable way forward. If we were to reflect genuinely on the impact of the construction industry, a logical conclusion would be to seize all future creations and work towards the adaptive reuse of existing structures and reusing existing materials. Even the current ideas of circular economy imply a continuous motion towards constructing; often the aim is to create a structure whose net carbon footprint is zero. This is a number game and not one that authentically reflects a change in our modalities towards curbing our growing climate crisis. This, however, does not negate the effort to develop sustainable strategies.
Spanish designer Lucas Muñoz’s practice aims to redefine the traditional understanding of the functionality and materiality of objects, spaces and their use; his work ventures to present a potential way forward in terms of sustainable design. After engaging in an 18-month long context-specific research, Muñoz converted what used to be a theatre room, Teatro Espronceda, and a Spanish communications agency recording space, into a restaurant, MO de Movimiento.
While one could explore MO de Movimiento based on its aesthetics and planning, it is important to acknowledge that it is an experiment that looks at design as an exercise in re-thinking the ways of building. Most elements have either been produced on-site, hand made at Muñoz’s atelier, or created by local artisans. The project looks at hospitality design, its construction, architecture, and interior design as an opportunity for prototyping sustainable strategies for production, and consumption of design. Recycling, upcycling and using the appropriate materials for the right purposes has led to a conscious definition of each intervention. By respecting and working in conjunction with the life cycle of each material used, the restaurant establishes its own aesthetical language.
Muñoz, who is based between the Netherlands and Spain, sees his practice as a collaborative experiment. In a statement, he said, “When it comes to defining an object, materials should work together similarly to how humans collaborate: direct interaction and honest expression of individual capacities should be at play between materials, as they are naturally expressed within human relations.” This is visible in the details of the restaurant design as well. All the furniture is an assemblage of the wooden elements that were already present at the site. Rubble procured during the construction was re-encapsulated into thick tiles that make up the seats and backrests of the benches.
The walls feature a rough finish, fire retardant plaster, and PVC electricity register boxes and piping are used to sculpt the wall lights, while recycled acoustic textile panels are visible on the ceiling and the old indoor walls. A segment of the space was also modified by removing the roof to create an open-air patio. This patio is the green heart of the space and is designed as a set of parallel rows of benches made from recycled rubble tiles. Between these benches are nine orange trees planted by landscape designer, Fernando Martos.
The main ventilation system for the space uses the principles of evaporative cooling. Terracotta pots filled with water are suspended from the ceiling. These red clay elements cool down Madrid's dry and hot air and are an innovative combination of vernacular knowledge and simple technology. The space heats its own water using the remnant power of its two hand-made pizza ovens. Two massive terracotta ovens, hand made by a Neapolitan artisan, are immediately visible on entering the restaurant. The interior of the oven walls has a silver soldered copper water pipe through which water is heated using the remnant heat of those oven's wood fire. This heated water is stored and used for taps, radiators, and to heat the floor of the open patio during winter. There is a triple filtration of the water supply and it is reused in a multitude of different ways. Water is a scarce commodity in Madrid, and MO de Movimiento is designed to fully utilise every drop for cooling, cleaning and gardening functions.
Recently, MO de Movimiento won in the sustainable interior category of the Dezeen Awards 2021.
Name: MO de Movimiento
Location: Madrid, Spain
Year of completion: 2020
Designer: Lucas Muñoz Muñoz
Design team: Joan Vellvé Rafecas, Inés Sistiaga
Commissioner: Galería Machado Muñoz
Interior design support: Casa Muñoz
In collaboration with artisans: Nanu Youttananukorn, Raphael Coutin, Aletheia, Paloma Folache, Antonio Moreno Arias, Hector Muñoz
Construction teams: Zimenta, Zetus, Fundación Norte Joven
Sustainability team: Cristina Freire, Marcel Gomez
Graphic design: Relajaelcoco