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Kālida Sant Pau, a dialogue between P. Urquiola and B. Tagliabue


More than 25 years ago the NGO Maggie’s Centres was founded in Scotland. Its goal was to create centres designed by renowned architects to provide psycho-emotional support for people with cancer and their families in the different stages of the cancer treatment. The organisation now has more than 20 centres in the United Kingdom; the first one of these characteristics has now come to Barcelona, opened by Kālida, the foundation that takes inspiration in the psychosocial care model established at Maggie’s, of whose international network it forms part.

The building, designed altruistically by the architect Benedetta Tagliabue, of the Miralles Tagliabue EMBT practice, operates between two levels: the Sant Pau modernist precinct, the work of Lluís Domènech i Montaner, and the new Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau. Conceived as a pavilion, its 400-m2 structure is organised over two levels of 200m2 each. On the lower floor, the kitchen is the true heart of the space; south-facing, looking towards the modernist enclave, the wooden shutters create a filter that protects privacy and the glass sliding doors open the building up to nature. The façade is a ceramic brick wall that filters the light, controls the views, ventilates and continues to preserve privacy. Its colour, texture and composition, combined with ceramic pieces in a variety of geometries and colouring, take as their reference the ornamental wealth of the precinct’s modernist buildings. It also has a 650-m2 garden whose main entrance connects with the hospital’s Oncology Unit via a paved area.

The interior design is signed by the architect and interior designer Patricia Urquiola, who together with her team at Studio Urquiola has helped the project receive donations in kind from major furniture and lighting brands. The purpose was to create an adaptable space in which to offer a core programme with individual or group therapy sessions that complement the oncological treatment (yoga, talks, private rooms in which to assess needs and therapy, etc.). In this regard, it was crucial to establish a dialogue with the architecture of Benedetta Tagliabue. “We worked on the hexagonal shape of the floor plan, since it already suggested a subdivision of the spaces for different tasks. Based on this we visualised functional rooms and open configurations that give rise to a heterogeneous yet operative environment with different levels of privacy”, explains the interior designer.

“The atmosphere is warm and friendly, like that of a domestic space. I therefore chose soft colours for the main covers, such as wood and ceramic, which give a homey feel to the general setting. The furniture provides more luminous and bright colour tones, since the space needs to transmit dynamic and positive sensations”, says Patricia Urquiola.

Comfort, privacy, light, connection with nature and protection in a relaxed and domestic atmosphere are the project’s ingredients. The exchange of intentions between Patricia Urquiola and Benedetta Tagliabue has produced a Feng Shui bastion designed on the basis of architecture for caring. Open and flexible spaces and rooms surrounded by greenery to make the hospital environment “disappear”, at the same time enabling the use of landscaped outdoor areas without feeling that you are being watched from the tall buildings that surround the plot.


Sant Antoni Maria Claret, 167
08025 Barcelona. Spain

T/+34 935 537 930

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