Sergio Sebastián. Director at Sebastián Arquitectos
«Any space, no matter how ordinary it may seem, provides a magnificent opportunity for architecture»
Sergio Sebastián is committed to overcoming ‘architecture by numbers’ because he wants clients to be able to “think, imagine, dream and determine a series of requirements. That is what will see us grow”
Sergio Sebastián walks around the new offices of the Zaragoza Accident Insurance Company (MAZ) in the centre of the Aragonese capital, while he explains in detail how his architecture firm has renovated this historic building that was once home to a music conservatory. “They decided to expand the traditional offices in search of a model that was more avant-garde, contemporary and in line with how people work nowadays. It has spaces where employees can relax and just talk, what with meetings no longer taking place in specifically defined areas. New ideas and ways of approaching work arise out of these exchanges,” he points out. Architecture, design, communication and productivity merge in this building «with its infinite reflections and horizons, a contemporary space with a strong sense of nature».
The renovation of these offices is one of the latest works by Sebastián Arquitectos, a Zaragoza-based studio whose “architecture [is] linked to the environment, aware that each place is different and each client has specific needs. And, of course, architecture adapted to the environment,” notes Sebastián. Versatility is one of the hallmarks of the firm, whose work ranges from product design to project implementation. They have a long history in the restoration of assets, judicial headquarters, and buildings for communities, offices and residential homes. Indeed, they are also responsible for ephemeral artistic lighting works whose concept stays in the minds of all those who have experienced them.
«Architecture defines our living environment, creating the stages upon which we live our lives,” explains award-winning architect Sergio Sebastián . His firm has managed to carve out a signature architecture that blends aesthetics, functionality, communication and respect for the personality of the places where they work.
Architecture linked to an environment
«Currently, architecture is showing us that the boundaries between disciplines barely make sense, so this is a really great time for our profession. As technicians, architects, developers and builders, we must propose, promote and construct, but that work must be ratified through the requirements of the client. They must be able to ask, think, imagine, dream and set out a series of needs. That is what will see us grow,» he affirms.
«In the wake of the pandemic, architecture must adopt a less defined, more open model, so that it can produce environments in which the unforeseen may occur»
«The pandemic has totally changed the paradigm in the architecture of buildings for the business world, particularly in terms of the systems and ways of working. Perhaps architecture must adopt a less defined, more open model here, so that it can produce environments in which different situations – the unforeseen – may occur. Architecture is the main intermediary between people and the environment around us, so it must be able to adapt to issues that have not yet been considered».
A question of uniqueness
«Our architecture aims to enhance the values of each place, each milieu. Whatever it may be, arid, difficult or however complex it proves, even that is sometimes also a good opportunity for the architecture project. We are increasingly used to generic environments: all cities looking the same. However, when we go somewhere new, we want to find something that pertains or is particular to that place. Uniqueness is the ticket», asserts the architect.
«We are increasingly used to generic environments: all cities looking the same. However, when we go somewhere new, we want to find something that pertains or is particular to that place»
«One of the things that I am increasingly sick of is building by numbers, where all the buildings look alike, where all the solutions are based around standards or simple matters. That is not what architecture is! Architecture is something that fosters the expressive traits of a region, a zone, a demand, a use, a form. Architecture is something that defines our living environment, creating the stages upon which we build our lives. Therefore, it must be attended to with great care,» he underscores.
Architecture as an opportunity
«Architecture can happen anywhere. It is not a matter of big cities or big budgets, rather the opposite: any commission, no matter how small, any environment, no matter how ordinary, is a wonderful opportunity for architecture. The concept has less to do with rebuilding, and more with knowing how to manage, redevelop and censure everything that we have already done,» he explains.
«Additionally, at Sebastián Arquitectos we are keenly interested in the development of domestic architecture, for private homes. I think it is one of the finest projects an architect can undertake: build a house for someone, their home, the setting for their life and everything that entails».
«The concept has less to do with rebuilding, and more with knowing how to manage, redevelop and censure everything already done»
Communication through light
Another of the action lines that Sebastián Architects has been pursuing for the last 15 years is designing restorative ephemeral artistic lighting, from aurorae borealis to fragmented stars (a tribute to the victims of Covid-19). «It is really exciting and shows you just how good architecture is at communicating. There have already been several cities that wanted to have our designs, calling us to participate in something that is exciting to represent such as, for example, Christmas. There is always this communication with the user, with someone walking down a street they usually use suddenly discovering it radiant, beautiful, pretty».
Take the journey together
Sebastián Arquitectos know how to put together a project because they are well aware how the business world in Aragon works after many years working hand in glove. «The Contract Channel is an opportunity for many companies and people who are working in lockstep. It allows them to converge, to interact; the channel unites these paths. The business world in Aragon is magnificent, but there are also cottage and professional levels with demonstrable solvency. Bringing them together is not just an opportunity, it is almost an obligation,» he affirms.
«In Aragon we have extraordinary raw materials and an industrial infrastructure capable of using them with outstanding vibrancy, wealth and imagination»
«Being in the Contract Channel means being predisposed to good things happening. It is always better to travel as a group than to walk the path alone because we can rely on shared experiences, the journeys already undertaken by others, and our own contributions. “In Aragon we have extraordinary raw materials and an industrial infrastructure capable of using them with outstanding vibrancy, wealth and imagination. Now we just need to export the product that is conceived, developed and made in Aragon», he concludes.