Innovation Lab: ELISAVA & ElBulli 1846
My role & responsibilities - UX Research, Personas Creation, Graphic Design
Timeline - 5 months
Context - Since his legendary restaurant El Bulli closed in 2011, Spanish chef Ferran Adrià has been making progress on his plans to repurpose the building. He decided to collaborate with 25 students from one of the top design schools in Spain, ELISAVA.
How do you create a place where anything can happen?
Ferran Adrià tasked us to rethink the exterior space of elBulli1846 and convert it into a place for work and creative thinking. To add to the difficulty of this challenge, we needed to keep in mind the restrictions in place to protect the Cap de Creus natural park.
In order to create a space that will generate an infinite number of possibilities, we began to synthesize the information we received from our visit to Cala Montjoi. We realized that we needed to conduct more research in three main categories: Place, Discourse, and Actions. I was on the discourse team.
I analyzed several interviews, news broadcasts, articles, exhibits, to have a better understanding of the language used when describing elBulli1846 & Ferran Adrià. After documenting the key verbs and phrases that I heard, I created 15 reference cards.
The next step was to start imagining the different possibilities that could happen at ElBulli1846. Randomly, we selected one card from each of the categories mentioned above (Place, Discourse, Actions) and documented the situation that was presented. In the end, our proposed solution to the challenge proposed by Adrià, would have to make this situation possible. I helped come up with, and document, 20+ different possibilities. In total, we presented Adrià with over 100.
After coming up with more than a hundred different possibilities of what could take place in elBulli1846, we created three new lines of work: 1) research creative places around the world, 2) design a catalog that includes all the technical elements in order to create the solutions that we were proposing and create topography maps for four places (la Puerta, Camí de Dalt, la Feria, and the Ágora), and 3) think about the user experience of elBulli1846.
With my background in UX, I offered to help with the third line of work. Taking previous research into consideration, and conversations with Ferran Adrià about his vision of the place, I created the following personas:
- VIP/friend of Ferran
- Student who is participating in a postgraduate course at elBulli1846
- Visiting researcher (long-stay)
When imagining the experiences of the individuals mentioned above, I considered place (Ágora, Feria, Camí de Dalt), season, climate conditions, duration of exhibit/space/architecture, and the effort required to provide such an experience.
I started the final presentation to Adrià by introducing him to the three user personas that we created and their accompanying scenarios.
As a part of the final presentation, we presented Ferran Adrià with a manual called, "The Infinite: Instructions of Use". We included all of the possibility cards, topography maps, sketches, and other documentation that we felt would be useful for him to be able to turn elBulli1846 into a space where anything could happen.
We proposed the creation of a network of facilities that would allow for the future implementation of temporary structures. This would allow the technical solution of each of the four areas (Puerta, Camí de Dalt, Feria, and Ágora) to adapt as necessary. We also recommended that elBulli1846 consider three levels of implementation:
- Infrastructure: An underground network of facilities and services, with connection and activation nodes
- Pavements: Urbanized and controlled space of the territory, which is structured in relation to the anchoring points and supply for the different facilities and activations
- Elements: Potential implementations in relation to the infrastructure and pavements, which allow the installation of fixed or temporary elements, lighting, furniture, signage or micro-architectures for the different functions of work, sale or leisure that elBulli1846 should allow .