Specifier Review
The new offices of the Botín Foundation in Madrid

The new offices of the Botín Foundation in Madrid

The Botín Foundation originated in Spain in 1964 to “mitigate the needs and promote the social development” of Cantabria.  Today, nearly 50 years later the Foundation continues to contribute to the development of the society on all levels, detecting and promoting creative talent and exploring new ways to generate cultural, social and economic wealth.


After a stunning renovation project executed by MVN Arquitectos, the Foundation has recently opened new offices in Madrid.  Originally built in the 1920s, the building previously served as a Silversmith workshop before more recently being taken on as the Vinçon department store. Project Architects Diego Varela de Ugarte and Emilio Medina García were inspired by the building’s historic references which led to their design attempts to retain the spirit of the original industrial character. Exposure of the original steel and brickwork depicts the buildings’ past life and effectively contrasts with the new construction work whose finishes are mainly oak, steel and glass.


A key objective was to create an open plan, warm space allowing natural light to fill the whole building. The biggest structural change to the building and one of the most attractive features of the development is a two-storey high atrium for the main lobby.  One of the roof trusses was removed and replaced with a metal structure, creating an opening for the skylight over the atrium area.  The direct daylight and plants in the lobby bring a great character to this meeting place. The ceiling is made up of longitudinal solid slats of American red oak and acoustic absorbent felt.

The red oak slats have a subtle colour variation which adds great character and warmth to the open space.  The ground floor is intended for public activities with a flexible but modular, clear open space.



MVN Arquitectos’ choice to use timber for the floor, walls and ceiling adds warmth to this area. Diego Varela says “the use of oak has been essential to emphasise the contrast between old and new, and the wood looks great next to the worn brickwork.” He adds, “After looking at several species options, we chose oak because it combines the warm tone and hardwearing characteristics we were looking for in this unique project.” All of the oak in the building has been treated with colourless oil to show the grain of the timber without altering its natural tone.

The first floor is office space for the senior management team of the Foundation with a private area for meetings.  The doors and wall panelling as well have been veneered with European oak which is also used for the flooring throughout.


The Botín Foundation are delighted with the new office space.  The highlight is without doubt the stunning lobby with striking tones of red oak set against the old brickwork of the Silversmith workshop.

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