CONNECTION WITH… Cierto Estudio: “we like projects in which we can explore details”

Cierto Estudio specialises in the design of the home, with a special focus on its function as a catalyst in our social lives.  They work on refurbishments, new builds, and collective housing, but the is their favourite because of the possibility for experimentation.  Their take on 250 homes in the centre of Barcelona put them on the architecture map in Spain and they are currently participating in World Design Capital Valencia 2022, with a home renovation project that focuses on the kitchen.  We spoke about this reimagining of such an important space, design, interior design, and sustainability in our CONNECTION WITH… Anna Llonch, a member of the Cierto team.


At Cierto Estudio, you and the team use your projects to reflect on the concept of a home.  How has it changed over the last few years and what kinds of trends are you noticing?

We’ve noticed that there has been a change to household chores which has led to a new way of thinking about domestic spaces.  [Chores] are now shared [among members of the household] and they’ve become more important, especially [the idea of] undertaking them in decent surroundings, with nice views, and [in a space that is] well-connected to other rooms in the home.  We are seeing kitchens that are more open and in special spots that allow inhabitants to cook in a pretty, well-equipped place from which you can even see the neighbourhood, creating a sense of community.  This makes for a cosy and safe environment because, when you prioritise community, you feel that surrounded by family.

Finally, we’ve noticed that collective spaces are becoming an extension of the home thanks to walkways connected to a neighbourhood courtyard where lots of things can take place, like putting a table on a shared terrace, a chat in the courtyard, or the setting up of community laundries or kitchens, something that’s particularly important when it comes to smaller flats.


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How can community spaces coexist with privacy?

With things like courtyards that separate a walkway from a home, window boxes with vegetation, or another kind of filter, like blinds.  In-between areas also do the job in a friendly way: a gate can create an entrance to the home that separates [spaces].  You can also leave a pram or a bike there, or even hang clothes.


When it comes to kitchens, what type of new designs are brewing?

The kitchen is not just where food is served anymore.  Rather, it’s being seen as a social space that opens up to other rooms in the home.  In some projects, it’s the centre of the home, creating a multi-faceted space that isn’t just a kitchen and where other activities can take place, which is something we experienced during lockdown.

When it comes to design, it’s about that ambiguous aspect – kitchens that don’t look like kitchens, in which the more technological aspects are hidden -, innovative materials, and the experimental over excessive functionality.  We’ll see lots of movable furniture that will allow us to move modules to other parts of the house to change the layout.  It’s all about a kitchen that’s not attached to the walls, that’s not a room, but rather a piece of furniture that you can change into a living space or a terrace where you can enjoy a coffee or a barbecue.  The kitchen ends up being just a table with a stove.

When it comes to appliances, there are two opposing trends that are current and coexisting: leaving them exposed or covering them up with the same material [that’s used in the rest of the kitchen].

[What I’ve described] is a trend that we’re seeing with furniture in the rest of the house, too.  We want increasingly flexible interiors and more ambiguous rooms, with furniture that can be moved around, because we are experiencing more changes, including big life changes and moves, and we need to be able to redesign things almost immediately.


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What ideas can we expect to see in your kitchen from Escenarios de un futuro cercano (Scenes from a near future)?

We’ve focused the exhibition on two realities: the foodie perspective, for people who see food as a hobby, something social that’s all about experimentation, and another opposing trend, which is that of a rushed kitchen because we are rarely at home, making it a place where we just put something on a plat, almost an office vibe.

Both trends share the social aspect as well as ambiguity, which translates into a kitchen that lets us carry out different activities and that breaks with the precept of it being a space that is simply functional and for serving.


What do you think World Design Capital Valencia 2022 will contribute to your studio and to Spain’s architecture and interior design scene?

It gives us the opportunity to meet professionals that we admire, and we believe that the event boosts inspiration and other ways of doing things.  We’ve also seen that it’s a place in which to connect with pioneering Spanish design.  As for our participation in the exhibition, we value these small-scale projects that allow us to explore the more creative parts and to get into the nitty gritty, to be freer when it comes to conceptualisation and not so tied to regulations and other conditions.


How important are materials in this new approach to kitchen design?

We are interested in colour contrast and the use of materials that aren’t traditionally associated with the kitchen, like stainless stell with timber.  Of course, this must be done while also guaranteeing durability, hygiene, and minimal maintenance.  We don’t believe there are any specific trends in products.  It’s just about the range of materials that have been introduced [to the market] recently.


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What are your preferred materials?

We like to experiment in all our projects, depending on the needs of each client and where the structure is located.  We like contrasts in textures and colours and mixing natural materials, like textiles, timber, marble, steel, and stainless steel.


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What inspires the studio?

I think we are so connected to images on a daily basis thanks to social media that, now more than ever, inspiration is a constant and always present.  Our internal workshops, where we discuss projects and exchange opinions and strategies, also help.  They are particularly useful when we’re trying to get started with something.


Make sure you catch our articles about ‘Escenarios de un futuro cercano’ and Cierto Estudio’s kitchen design ideas.  You can search for them on the Connections by Finsa website or find them on socials using #ConnectionsByFinsa.