When a recession hits, creative agencies usually take a huge hit. But when an economic slowdown hit Barcelona, &Rosàs founder Jordi Rosàs saw an opportunity. He rented two underpriced floors of an old bank in the city’s historic Via Laietana neighborhood to establish a new airy workspace for his 18 employees.
Other than the sprawling space that would make any city-dweller jealous, the building’s true appeal rests in its relationship with the city and its history. Inside, remnants of the building’s past life as a bank are everywhere, complete with a massive wooden conference table seemingly more appropriate for stuffy bankers than a dozen creatives with laptops. When the company rented the space, however, the team painstakingly rehabbed each room, one at a time. In the process, they discovered a portrait of the bank’s previous owner, which hung in the office until the owner’s granddaughter happened to glimpse it during renovations and asked for it. “It was hers all along, so of course we gifted it to her,” says Rosàs. If the space looks and feels more like a home than an office, that was the intent. “My personal reason for opening this in 2002 was to have a place to work where my children were proud of me, a place where they could come and visit, and it’s a philosophy I try to share with my team,” says Rosàs.