Famous philanthropist Amancio Ortega, founder of Spanish fashion label Zara, established The Amancio Ortega Foundation in 2001. The foundations purpose is to endorse charitable projects within Spain, offering assistance to the country’s poorest and most vulnerable citizens. Particular emphasis is placed on education and social aid, like food, medicine and housing.
Recently the charity built The Padre Rubinos Institute in A Coruña, a multi-purpose municipal centre which is a haven for those in need. The Institute provides a wide range of community services, including a day centre for the elderly, a playschool, classrooms, multipurpose areas, public parks and even a hostel.
Designed by Elsa Urquijo Arquitectos & Tattoo Contract, the designers have achieved with the institute what every community space should be but so often isn’t; serene yet functional, with an overall air of tranquility. The designer’s specified white both internally and externally, with contrast provided in the form of natural wooden accents within the building, and landscaped green spaces with grass and trees outside, all of which harmonize to create a feeling of peace and well-being.
In such a multipurpose building, the furniture needs to be adaptable. Sancal collaborated with the Institute to include some of their most functional yet elegant pieces. Designer furniture is not something that jumps to mind when one thinks of a public space founded by a charitable foundation, but that’s part of the reason this Institute is such a success, and proves that designer furniture and architecture is not the sole right of the wealthy and privileged.
Furniture includes the fun Party sofa by Luis Eslava, quirky cool Tab Tables by Nadadora, the popular Folk sofa by Rafa Garcia and the comforting Soul armchair also by Garcia.
Although solemn social issues oversee the reason for this building, the overall design refuses to walk in these shoes. The Padre Rubinos is one altruistic space that is fresh, modern and beautiful to behold.