Designing for the Contract sector: 7 questions for the 4Cadires design studio


4Cadires is an interior design studio based in Barcelona, which consists of architects and designers with extensive experience in the Contract sector.
The first question that comes to mind is this: why does it have such a peculiar name, i.e. 4 Chairs?
4Cadires was established 15 years ago as a company that sold chairs, long before it became a design studio. Its team has grown over the years and so have its services.
4Cadires now comprises a multidisciplinary team offering a comprehensive commercial interior design service.
We interviewed some of the members of the studio, since they have recently been focusing in particular on offering their clients sustainable design solutions.
We were much intrigued by their achievements, which is why we asked them to tell us more about their philosophy and how they develop their interior design projects.
This is what emerged from our conversation:

1. What kind of projects does 4Cadires specialize in?

Our interior design studio specializes in the Contract sector and offers design and décor services for a variety of commercial settings by drawing on its extensive experience in designing bars and restaurants.
We recently began to expand into the healthcare sector, seizing the opportunity to design clinics and aesthetic medicine centers.
Our approach is based on creating functional, welcoming and aesthetically appealing spaces that offer comfort to both professionals and patients.
By working closely with our clients, we are able to gain an insight into their visions and goals, and we then use our experience and creativity to turn these ideas into tangible achievements. We take pride in delivering innovative custom solutions that exceed our clients’ expectations.
Our team of designers and architects is highly experienced in the field. This enables us to understand the details and requirements of each project. In order to do our job, we make sure to keep up to date with the latest trends and technologies in the field of interior design and are committed to offering sustainable, environmentally-friendly solutions.

2. What are the specific challenges involved in designing and renovating a restaurant?

Such tasks pose challenges that do not only involve aesthetic performance. Critical issues need to be addressed with utmost care in order to design functional spaces that are also successful. Some of these challenges include:
- Spatial layout. One of the main challenges is to achieve an efficient spatial layout in order to maximize seating capacity, optimize customer and staff flows, and meet safety and accessibility requirements.
It is essential to strike a balance between customer comfort and operational efficiency.
- Kitchen design. The kitchen is the heart of a restaurant: therefore, when designing a kitchen, it is necessary to take into account workflows, storage requirements, adequate ventilation, and food safety. It is essential to create a functional space that ensures excellent performance and makes it easier for staff to work together.
- Ambience and aesthetics. In order to attract and retain customers, the ambience and aesthetics of a restaurant are of key importance. The challenge is striking a balance between an appealing design, suitable lighting, good acoustics, and choosing materials and colors that reflect the brand’s identity in order to create a certain atmosphere.
- Ergonomics and comfort. Customers and staff alike should feel at ease at the restaurant. In order to create a cozy ambience, it is important to take several factors into account, such as choosing ergonomic furnishings and paying attention to acoustics and temperature control.
- Rules and regulations. When designing and renovating a restaurant, there are a number of local, state and federal rules and regulations concerning safety, accessibility, hygiene and licensing that must be complied with.
These requirements may differ according to each location and type of establishment, which is why it is essential to be well informed about the applicable standards.
- Budget and timing. Designing and renovating a restaurant requires a substantial financial investment. The challenge is finding the right balance between the project’s budget and quality as well as meeting deadlines so as to ensure minimal disruption to the restaurant’s business.

3. How do you approach the design process of creating functional and appealing spaces?

Our approach to design is all about combining functionality and aesthetics.
We strive to understand our clients’ needs, optimize space, create visually appealing environments, use appropriate lighting, and choose quality materials and furnishings that comply with applicable regulations for use in public spaces, while keeping an eye on sustainability.
Our end goal is to create functional and aesthetically pleasing spaces that offer those who use them a pleasurable experience.

4. How do you choose materials and finishes for renovation projects?

Before choosing materials and finishes for our renovation projects, we carefully evaluate project requirements, identify the preferred style and aesthetics, assess the quality and durability of materials as well as functionality and performance, take into account sustainability and the budget, and carry out extensive research.
This approach enables us to make informed decisions and to make sure that the materials and finishes we choose meet our clients’ expectations and needs.
It is essential to find materials such as SapienStone surfaces, which not only comply with the technical requirements set by applicable standards, but also requirements in terms of design and aesthetic appeal, ensuring that projects are successful in all respects.

5. What aspects do you consider when choosing countertop surfaces, tabletops, and bar counters?

Bars are often a key element of a restaurant’s design: in fact, the look of the bar is essential to the project’s overall design. We look at several key aspects when choosing countertop surfaces, tabletops and bar counters. These include:
- Durability. The surfaces we choose must be durable and able to withstand everyday use and wear and tear. For this reason, we seek materials that are resistant to scratches, stains, shocks and heat.
Durability is a quality that is especially important in high-traffic areas such as bars and food preparation areas.
- Hygiene and ease of cleaning. We place emphasis on the use of surfaces that are easy to clean and keep sanitized. This prompts us to opt for nonporous materials that will prevent liquids from being absorbed and bacteria from forming.
We also look at resistance to common cleaning products and disinfectants to ensure effective and safe cleaning.
- Aesthetics and style. The surfaces we choose must complement the overall look of the space and add to the desired ambience. In order to do this, we take into consideration the architectural style and theme of the establishment as well as our client’s personal tastes. Among other things, we look for surfaces that will add visual appeal, in keeping with the overall design.
- Functionality and specific use. We assess the functionality and intended use of the surface.
For instance, for kitchen countertops, it is important to consider heat resistance and cut resistance. In the case of table tops and bar counters, resistance to stains and spills may well be something to pay close attention to.
- Costs and budget. We take into account the project’s budget and try to find surface options that are within budget.
We strive to find the best solution, within the available budget, in order to strike an optimal balance between quality, durability, and the price of materials.
- Sustainability. When choosing surfaces, we highly value sustainability.
We seek sustainably-produced materials, such as recycled products or renewably-sourced products. We also look at whether materials can be recycled at the end of their life cycle.
Tables and chairs help define the look of an establishment. This is why, for example, we use warm materials such as wood and textiles so that customers can enjoy a very comfortable experience at the restaurant and at the bar.

6. As for your spaces, what advantages do you see in using SapienStone porcelain stoneware countertops?

SapienStone countertops offer outstanding qualities in terms of resistance to impacts, scratches and high temperatures, and are therefore a great solution to ensure that our projects deliver the best possible technical performance. In addition, the fact that our clients can choose from many designs and looks allows us to customize projects and thus meet all kinds of aesthetic and stylistic requirements.
SapienStone surfaces are hard, safe and nonporous, which means that they can be used for both bar counters and kitchen countertops, or even to manufacture elegant and durable tabletops.
What is more, these surfaces are very easy to clean and maintain, so they retain their original appearance over time.
All of these factors make them an excellent choice for our design spaces, since they are fully compliant with the standards of quality, functionality and aesthetics that we strive for.

7. What considerations do you make when choosing a supplier for a specific project?

In such cases we look at several key aspects. The main aspect is the quality of the supplier’s products.
We also think that technical and aesthetic aspects must go hand in hand: in fact, we believe that it is essential to have the required certifications, but that there is no need to sacrifice aesthetics.
To conclude, as for our relationship with SapienStone, we were very pleased with its customer service and the assistance provided while using the products: these aspects play a key role when using such products in our projects, making it possible to deliver outstanding results.
A huge thank you to 4Cadires for letting us interview them and congratulations!

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