Wicona on the façade of Hotel Ohla Eixample: rhythmic, harmonious and full of algorithms

Designed by the architect Daniel Isern, the new Hotel Ohla Eixample sits at the heart of Barcelona’s Eixample district, in what used to be a 1970s office block. 

It has undergone a meticulous refurbishment and the result is spectacular. One of the main issues to be addressed was the noise levels. Built on a subsoil of metro and railway tunnels, the designers had to come up with the ideal system that would ensure the guests’ comfort.

To achieve this, the architect, Daniel Isern, used state-of-the-art technology not seen in Spain before, which puts an end to vibrations and noise. It involved dissecting the existing pillars, fitting seismic shock absorbers and raising the building with hydraulic jacks so that the hotel is suspended, away from vibrations.

A well-tuned musical façade

For the workable openings, concealed sash windows were used – from Wicona’s WICLINE EVO 75 series – from profile to profile (around 2.70 m in height), further lengthening the impression of verticality of the façade. This system, in its 75 mm module, gives performance levels that create maximum thermal and acoustic comfort in each of the hotel’s 97 rooms. 

The façade is also unique in its use of robotics. “With the help of Cerámica Cumella and the IAAC (Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia), we’ve invented an algorithm that uses sound to create a template that a robot etches onto the surface of the ceramic tile while it is extruded. This process allows us to create an infinite number of pieces, each one unique and different but all of them with the same lines. For this piece, we chose “Vivaldi Recomposed” by Max Richter, which, like us, takes something from the past (in the case Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons) and brings it up to date”, says the architect. 

More than 800 pieces of different sizes make up a vast puzzle of vertical ceramic modules, blurring the order and number of storeys. The façade also has five large wooden frames in it that are in fact balconies and that break up the lines of the frontage. This system has been used to create the large ceramic mural that covers the entire ground floor from the reception area to the Xerta restaurant, via the café and the cocktail lounge.

Inside, the new design creates a dialogue between the existing structure, which is exposed and bare, and its function as a hotel, evidenced by high quality materials that never reach the edges of each room.

Another special feature of this hotel is the heated outdoor pool on the top floor; unique among Barcelona’s hotels.

Project: Hotel Ohla Eixample
Location: Barcelona (Spain)
Architect: Daniel Isern (Estudi Isern Associats)
Façades by: Fainsaltec
Wicona solutions used: Wicona’s WICLINE EVO 75 concealed sash windows
Photographs: Wenzel