MAIO – Architectural office based in Barcelona

MAIO is an architectural office based in Barcelona and New York that works on spatial systems that permit theoretical positions materialize. The practice has developed a wide range of projects, from housing blocks or urban planning to furniture or exhibition design.

MAIO’s members combine professional activities with academic, research and editorial ones. They have been in charge of the magazine Quaderns d’Arquitectura i Urbanisme (2011-16), and currently teach at Columbia GSAPP, the Architectural Association and the School of Architecture of Barcelona ETSAB/ETSAV.

MAIO has lectured at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Barbican Center, GSAPP-Columbia University, RIBA, UC Berkeley, Yale School of Architecture and Piet Zwart Institute among other places. MAIO’s work has been published in magazines such as Domus, AIT, Volume, Blueprint, A10 and Detail, and exhibited at the MOMA of New York, the Guggenheim Bilbao, the Art Institute of Chicago and Storefront for Art and Architecture. Lately MAIO has participated at Venice Biennial 2016 in the Spanish Pavillion, awarded with the golden Lion, at Chicago Architecture Biennial (2015 & 2017 editions) and co-curated a Weekend Special at the Biennale di Venezia 2014 together with SPACE CAVIAR and DPR-Barcelona.

MAIO is run by Maria Charneco, Alfredo Lérida, Guillermo López and Anna Puigjaner, who recently has been nominated finalist of the Rolex Mentor & Protégé Initiative 2016 and awarded with the Wheelwright Prize, Harvard GSD.

  • Architecture Effects. Guggenheim Bilbao.
  • Building Stories. Histórias Construídas. Garagem Sul, CCB, Lisboa.
  • Invisible Landscapes, Act I: Home. Royal Academy of Arts, London.
  • 44 Low-resolution Houses, Princeton University School of Architecture.
  • Tempietto Exemplum, Yale School of Architecture.
  • Biennale d'Architecture d'Orléans #1
  • 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial
  • Westopia. Villa Vertua Masolo. Nova Milanese. Italy
  • When in Rome. The Practice Space. RIBA. London
  • A minor Architecture. Espacio Valverde. Madrid.
  • W.I.P. (Work In Progress) Exhibition for DEMO Festival. DADA Studios Gallery. Barcelona.
  • “Re-Constructivism Architecture” exhibition. Lerimonti Gallery, New York.
  • “Letters to the Major” exhibition. Lisbon Architecture Triennial, Lisbon. 
  • Oslo Architecture Triennale. Guided Tour by MAIO On Residence Exhibition. Oslo, Norway.
  • 1a Festivala de Arquitectura Especulativa. Girona, Spain.
  • “Occupied” exhibition. RMIT Design Hub. Melbourne.
  • “Sharing Models: Manhattanisms” exhibition. Storefront for Art and Architecture, New York.
  • “Unfinished”exhibition, Spanish Pavillion. La Biennale di Venezia. Awarded with Golden Lion for Best National Pavillion.
  • “The Way Things Go” exhibition. Monoambiente Gallery, Buenos Aires.
  • “The State of Art of Architecture” exhibition. Selected participant team. Chicago Architecture Biennial 2015. Chicago, EUA.
  • Measure” exhibition. Storefront for Art and Architecture. New York, EUA.
  • “Hábitat” exhibition. Garcia Galeria, Madrid, Spain.
  • “Networked politics at Monditalia”. curatorship Weekend Special for Biennale di Venezia 2014.“
  • “Aproximacions”. Young Catalan Architects 08-09. Barcelona, Lleida, Reus, Girona. Spain.
  • “Strategies for Public Occupation” exhibition. Storefront for Art and Architecture, New York.
  • Finalist. FAD Award, architecture. 22 Dwelling Housing block in Barcelona.
  • Selected work. EU Mies Van Der Rohe Awards 2016. 22 Dwelling Housing block in Barcelona.
  • Selected work for Barcelona City Awards 2017. 22 Dwelling Housing block in Barcelona.
  • First Prize. FAD Award for Ephemeral Architecture 2015. Species of Spaces, exhibition display at MACBA, Barcelona.
  • Honoured Mention. Proxima/Arquia Awards 2014-15 ARQUIA Foundation. Bar Nou Restaurant, Barcelona.
  • Selected work. Proxima/Arquia Awards 2014-15 ARQUIA Foundation. Pool, Menorca; Species of Spaces, exhibition display at MACBA, Barcelona; "De copias y Fantasmas" Fundació Suñol, Barcelona; Micro-U Vallcarca. Public square in Barcelona; Exhibition display system for Massana School of Design, Barcelona.
  • Wheelwright Prize. Harvard GSD.
  • Finalist, Rolex Mentor & Protégé Initiative.
  • First Prize. FAD Award, critical theorism / Quaderns.
  • Finalist. FAD Award, interiorism / Exhibition display system.
  • First Prize. Arquia/Proxima Awards Research 2014 ARQUIA Foundation / Quaderns.
  • First Prize. FAD Award opinion prize, interiorism / Conversion of a washing place into a studio, Barcelona.
  • Finalist. XII Beau Spanish Architecture / Conversion of a washing place into a studio, Barcelona.
  • First Prize. Housing project in Barcleona. Private competition.
  • First Prize ex-aequo competition "Les Portes de Collserola / Porta 3 Sarrià" . Barcelona City Council.
  • Finalist. Arquia/Proxima Awards 2012 ARQUIA Foundation / Floating.
  • First Prize competition "How much does your building weigh?". "Urban Activators Workshop" by Festival Internacional de Arquitectura eme3 / Floating Activators.
  • Finalist. Proxima/Arquia Awards 2008-09 ARQUIA Foundation. Intervention at Casa Sambola’s Courtyard.
  • Selected work. Proxima/Arquia Awards 2008-09 ARQUIA Foundation. Exhibition XII Girona Archi- tecture Awards in Pia Almoina Building.
  • First Prize LampLight Solutions. Award for Urban and Lanscascape Lighting. Exhibition XII Girona Architecture Awards in Pia Almoina Building.
  • Special Mention at the Congress of Spanish Architects. Category: Futurs. Award: New Working Fields CSCAE. Intervention at Cúndaro Street.
  • Finalist. FAD Award for Ephemeral Architecture 2007. Intervention at Cúndaro Street.
  • Finalist. LampLight Solutions. Award for Real Solutions. Intervention at Cúndaro Street.
  • First Prize. Girona College of Architects Awards 2007 for Ephemeral Architecture. Intervention at Cúndaro Street.
  • Finalist. FAD Award for Ephemeral Architecture 2006. Intervention at Casa Sambola’s Courtyard.
  • Finalist. Girona College of Architects Awards 2006 for Ephemeral Architecture. Intervention at Casa Sambola’s Courtyard.
  • East Coast/West Coast, Barcelona-Lisbon.  Fundaçao Gulbenkian, Lisbon, Portugal.
  • Generazione: A call from Rome. Casa dell’Architectura, Rome, Italy.
  • Forum V Arquia/Proxima. Malaga, Spain.
  • ETSAB. Barcelona School of Architecture, Barcelona, Spain.
  • Schweizerisches Architekturmuseum, Basilea, Switzerland.
  • Arch Lecture, UC Berkeley, EUA.
  • RMIT Design Hub, Melbourne, Australia.
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, EUA.
  • Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam, Netherlands.
  • Atelier Clerici, Milano, Italy.
  • COAC Colegio de Arquitectos de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain.
  • A Coruña School of Architecture, A Coruña, Spain.
  • Harvard GSD, Massachussets, EUA.
  • EASD, Valencia, Spain.
  • GSAPP, Columbia University, New York , EUA.
  • Yale School of Architecture, EUA.
  • Forum IV Arquia/Proxima Granada, Spain.
  • Washington University, St. Louis, EUA.
  • FAU Lisboa, Portugal.
  • Brussels School of Architecture UCL-LOCI (mid-term guest jury),  Brussels, Belgium.
  • GSAPP, Columbia University, New York , EUA.
  • Brussels School of Architecture UCL-LOCI, Brussels , Belgium.
  • Forum III Arquia/Proxima La Coruña, Spain.
  • Architecture PLUS Under 40. Madrid , Spain.
  • oung Catalan Architects Arquia/Proxima Selection 08-09. Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, Reus. Spain.
  • Forum II Arquia/Proxima Madrid 2010. Madrid School of Architecture ETSAM , Madrid, Spain.
  • Massana School, Center of Arts and Design. Barcelona, Spain.
  • BAU School of Design. Barcelona, Spain. 
  • ”A collage conversation from Cristiano Toraldo di Francia & Guillermo López. Archifutures Vol.1: The Museum. 2016. pp.126-145 (ISBN 978-84-944873-6-1)
  • ”Discusion”. The Form of the Form. Lisbon Architecture Triennal 2016 pp.182-197 (ISBN 978-3-03778-504-1)
  • ”Renovation and adaptation of a Home-Studio”. Unfinished / Spanish Pavillion Biennale Architettura 2016. pp.98-99. (ISBN 978-84-608-7088-3)
  • ”Restaurante Bar Nou”. ON Diseño n.365. 2016 cover, pp.102-105. (ISSN 0210-2080)
  • ”Bar Nou/Reforma Integral de Son Amengual/Especies de Espacios/Microurbanización Vallcarca/Piscina en Puntaprima/Muebles Skinny/Sistema expositiva+Aplicación”. Futuro Imperfecto. Arquia/Próxima 2016. (ISBN: 978-84-617-4548-5)
  • ”Exposición Especies de Espacios”. ON Diseño n.361/362. 2016 pp.102-105. (ISSN 0210-2080)
  • ”Bar Nou” International Magazine of Space Design/bob/. November 2016. pp.98-99. (ISSN 1739-2845)
  • ”MAIO”. ON Diseño n.360 2016. 2016 cover, pp.42-45 (ISSN 0210-2080)
  • ”On Rooms: No vacancy”. Perspecta, The Yale Architectural Journal n.49:Quote. 2016. pp.234-255 (ISSN 0079-0958)
  • “La dispersión militante de MAIO”, El Cultural, 8-14 May 2015, pp. 34-35. (M-4591-2012)
  • “Reciclatge Urbà”, Time Out Barcelona, n.271, pp.16-17. (ISSN 1888-3850)
  • “Hospitality”, Interior Design, June 2015, pp. 115-118.
  • “Pa amb Tomàquet Reloaded”, Tapas, n. 2, April 2015, pp.78-79. (ISSN 2387-0524)
  • Reforma de vivienda y estudio”. Arquia/Próxima Fuera 2014. Fundación Arquia, Barcelona, 2014, pp.246-247. (ISBN 978-84-940343-6-7)
  • ”Quaderns d’Arquitectura i Urbanismo”. Arquia/Próxima Fuera 2014. Fundación Arquia, Barcelona, 2014, pp.56-57. (ISBN 978-84-940343-6-7)
  • ”Sistema expositivo en el Museu Marítim de Barcelona”, ON Diseño, n.353-354, 2015, pp. 130-131. (ISSN 0210-2080)
  • “Reforma de lavadero en estudio”. XII BIENAL ESPAÑOLA DE ARQUITECTURA Y URBANISMO. Madrid, 2013, pp.130-139. (ISBN: 978-84-695-8307-4)
  • “Reforma y adecuación para una vivienda-estudio. Barcelona”, On Diseño, n. 335, July 2013. (ISSN: 0210-2080)
  • “MAIO office in Barcelona”, AIT. Architektur, Innenarchitektur, technischer Ausbau, April 2013, pp. 102-106. (ISSN: 0173-8046)
  • “Designer’s Office”, Interiors Magazine, February 2013, pp.172-175. (ISSN: 1227-1829)
  • “Floating”. Arquia/Próxima 2012 Nuevos Formatos. 2012, pp.1-16. (ISBN: 978-84-939409-8-0)
  • Mínguez, C. “Studio Visit 01 - MAIO”, Domus, n. 982, October 2012, pp.104-105. (ISSN: 0012-5377)
  • “Exhibition XII College of Architects Award 2008, Girona”. Lighting Concepts 2009. LAMP S.A., pp.48-51. (B 246102009)
  • “Intervención en la calle Cúndaro. Girona Temps de Flors”. ON Diseño, n.296, 2008, pp. 284-287. (B 38681-1978 ISSN 0210-2080)
  • “Ephemeral intervention at Sambola Court, Girona Temps de Flors”. Lighting Concepts 2008. LAMP S.A. (M261319 2008)
  • ARQUINFAD - FAD Award 2008. (B 40184-2008 ISBN 978-84-612-6481-0)
  • “Ephemeral intervention at Sambola Court, Girona Temps de Flors”, INDE, December 2007-January 2008, Editor College of Architects of Catalonia –COAC-, p. 56. (B 49372-2000 ISSN 1134-0223)
  • “Intervención en el patio casa Sambolà”, DETAIL, n.4, July-August 2007, p.443. (ISSN 1578-5769)
  • “Echa un vistazo”, ON Diseño, n.287, 2007, p.320-324. (B 38681-1978 ISSN 0210-2080)
  • ARQUINFAD - FAD Award 2007, pp. 470-473. (ISBN 1888-2951)
  • “Ephemeral intervention at Cúndaro Street, Girona Temps de Flors”. Girona College of Architects Award 2007. College of Architects of Catalonia –COAC, p. 52. (ISBN 978-84-96842-19-9)
  • “Ephemeral intervention at Sambola Court, Girona Temps de Flors”, INDE, December 2006-January 2007, Editor College of  Architects of Catalonia –COAC-, p.27. (B 49372-2000 ISSN 1134-0223)
  • “Ephemeral intervention at Sambola Court, Girona Temps de Flors”. Girona College of Architects Award 2006. College of Architects of Catalonia –COAC-,p.78. (ISBN 84-96185-91-5)
Spatial Identity System for Bar Nou

The refurbishment of an existing bar, placed near the center of Barcelona, demanded the creation of a new and easily recognizable spatial identity, that could be applied and repeated in other locations.

To that end, a new vaulted ceiling system has been created in order to provide domesticity while keeping a continuous perception of space.

Once the rules are defined, these are followed rigorously. The ceiling vaults are extended up to the front line of the façade and intersect the windows and the walls in a free way. Thus, the encounter of the vaults with the preexistence is made visible through the windows, which show the section of the interior space and its domestic atmosphere. However, there is no system without an exception, or viceversa, no exception without a system. On the access facade the timber frame of the ceiling is displayed in order to make clear its non structural nature and strengthen its sceneographic nature.

Besides the space, the project has also developed the design of the interior elements including furniture and lights. Both the chairs and tables introduce common materials in domestic tradition, such as cattail or mirrors. With regard to lighting, three complementary typologies have been designed. With urban scale in mind, the project uses figurative neon lights to emphasize its presence in a busy and crowded crossroad. Meanwhile, the interior suspended lamps consist of a pivoting metal tube arm that allows them to adapt to the changing position of the tables and in turn draws from outside a constellation of points in permanent modification. Additionally, three-legged lamps provide a domestic and atmospherical light.

Client Private

Architects MAIO

Team Anna Puigjaner, Maria Charneco, Guillermo Lopez, Alfredo Lérida 

Collaborators Ana Domínguez, Miquel Àngel Vaquer 

Photo José Hevia

Situation Barcelona, Spain

Year 2014-2015

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