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“Environmentally friendly materials are here to stay”

by Elena Abascal
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Creative, enterprising, constant, patient. If there is a word that defines Nayra Iglesias it‘s “passion”. She gives her all to every project and brings out the best of her team. At Hisbalit, we interviewed the director of In Out Studio and she has revealed the secret to her success: “to be the best you can be”, and the coming trends in interior design for hospitality after the State of Emergency.

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Architect, interior designer and specialist in Corporate Project Design and Management. Which role do you most identify with?

I would consider myself an architect with the soul of a designer.

How did you get your professional start in the world of architecture and design?

I started working at a very young age, at 19, as an intern in different studios in Barcelona. Little by little, while finishing my degree, I got more involved in the realities of the profession. I realised it wasn’t my thing. I’ve always had a creative side and I couldn’t make use of it until my first project in retail. At that moment I found myself doing something that I knew I could do better than anything in the world. I started working in interior design, I studied, travelled a lot, and became an entrepreneur.

Nayra, if there is something which characterises you, it’s your enterprising spirit. In 2008, you launched your own studio, In Out Studio, and since then it has been one success after another. How were your beginnings as an entrepreneur and what is your formula for success?

I started in black year, after 12 years of working for another firm. I had professional success and financial stability but never felt fulfilled. I am one of those people who feel uncomfortable with too much stability. And so, when I feel I’m not moving forward I like to make a change, even though I come from a family of civil servants and they have never been very entrepreneurial.

When I started out as an entrepreneur I didn’t feel vertigo. It was something natural, instinctive, something that took shape over time. My formula for success is to be the best I can be, not to have hang-ups, to be different, constant and patient. Good things always take their time.

Restaurante Kai La Caleta proyectado por Nayra Iglesias
 Kai La Caleta | In Out Studio

What advice would you give to lovers of design thinking of starting out, especially at this complicated moment?

Don’t hesitate. Go for it. But you don’t have to do it alone. It’s important to surround yourself with people who can contribute something. Believing in yourself and in your work is the key.

How would you define your work philosophy and what values define In Out Studio?

Passion is the word that defines us. I apply this on a daily basis in the studio. I love to give my all and bring out the best of myself and my team. It’s everything: to motivate them and involve them in every project. Dedication is contagious, and I believe that we all have something to learn and it’s an enriching experience! It doesn’t usually happen when you’re doing something you don’t enjoy.

Functionality or aesthetics? Lines or curves?

Both. Always. A good design is beautiful, but it must also be functional.

I personally love curves, it’s the purest form in nature. It’s very human but it has to be combined with straight lines to give a sense of order in this world where we have to create separate spaces.

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Violet Bliss | In Out Studio

Will geometry play a part this year?

I believe so. Geometry allows us to bring order when things are chaotic. It’s a compositional technique we all understand and that has allowed us to be creative since the earliest times.

Your studio specialises in the luxury sector, retail, leisure and hospitality. What are the keys to decorating these types of spaces?

To work on the design of experiences from a global perspective. We are a studio that offers integral project design: from its visual identity to the architecture and industrial design. We also design the lighting and furnishings for our projects. I have always felt comfortable on a small scale; it fits perfectly with my obsession for details.

You have participated in international projects, including retail spaces for famous brands like Inditex, Suarez, Manolo Blahnik or Camper. What was the project that represented a ‘before and after’ in your professional career and that you remember with special fondness?

I would be unfair to point to just one project, but I love to travel and now that I miss it, I remember the first shop I designed in Sydney for Camper. It was very modern; it had a catwalk that also served as a display; clients could try on the shoes and feel like they were on the catwalk in Madrid Fashion Week. Working on the design of the boutique for Manolo Blahnik in Barcelona was an important project for me because I respect him as a craftsman and an artist and for what his shoes mean as a woman.

Nayra Iglesias \ Kai La Caleta

What would be your greatest professional challenge?

To do something I’ve never done before. I love challenges. I would love to transform a hotel or a shopping centre and give it a radical makeover. I think it is a vital moment for creativity because many buildings don’t really work for the functions they now have.

Speaking of interior design in the hospitality sector, what will be the trends in the coming months? How will the new health and safety measures affect design in these types of spaces?

I think new health and safety measures will be applied by trying not to lose our sense of humour or closeness. For this, design is key. At In Out Studio we are consulting companies and restaurant chains on how to optimise and improve all those aspects related to image and experience, entirely revising their branding, designing new packaging because the majority didn’t offer delivery service, and what is more important, adapting their interior and exterior spaces to be in a position to offer serve their clients soon. We don’t aim to reproduce the same experience as before, nothing is the same, but to take advantage of this change to offer clients new experiences in the restaurant but investing as little as possible because we believe these are temporary measures that will be lifted in future. That’s why it’s important in restaurant design to create flexible spaces.

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Kai la Caleta / In Out Studio

How can you create designer terraces given the situation we will have this summer?

By creating different typologies of terraces. Some solutions are already being considered, inflatable solutions, but we like the idea of latticework and we always include this type of system, not only for terraces but also for interiors. Last year for the Marisquería Norte Sur we developed a system of pivoting panels which on one side separated the space and on the other was a bottle rack and also a decorative feature that gave light to the terrace. The perfect solution to provide intimacy and maintain the proper distance between clients.

What colour will set the tone for hotels and restaurants?

I don’t know but I think we will want vivid, cheerful, natural colours, something vibrant and very sensorial. Psychologically, we need to reconnect with the world and clients will look for hotels and restaurants that invite them to dream, where they can relax and at the same time enjoy what they had before: the sea, mountains and contact, even if only visually, with other people.

Tienda con ventanas grandes

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Kai la Caleta / In Out Studio

How can a small business enhance their interior design without a large budget?

Before beginning with the interior design, I would start by taking a global view of all the aspects that affect their image and then deal with the interior design, because the façade may be the place to put the most emphasis. That’s why it’s very important to have the help of a professional designer. If we find the interior needs an improvement, the most economical is to identify what areas have the greatest visual impact and to play with the design, making strategic changes in colour, surfaces and lighting. You have to dedicate time to analyse the individual needs of each business.

Speaking about interior design for homes. Will there be changes in trends and styles after confinement?

Yes. I’m about to launch a new method to help those who want to improve their interior design at home because we have all realised how important it is. We need interiors that are flexible and that allow us to enjoy the space, regardless of its function.

What colours and materials are here to stay?

All materials that are environmentally friendly, but also those that offer a lot of scope for creativity. Ecological cement, wood, natural fibres, stone, ceramics and of course mosaic tile. Oddly, all the materials that are easy to clean.

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Suite Violet Bliss /In out Studio

Creativity is one of the hallmarks of your work. In 2019, you received the “Most Creative Space” Award at Marbella Design with Violet Bliss. An unusual suite that stirs the senses and where we at Hisbalit had the opportunity to participate. What creative elements made this project unique?

It was a sensorial explosion because we wanted to stay away from traditional formulas and create am irreverent and vibrant spaces where the colour violet would take centre stage.

For this space you created a “personalised mix” with our mosaic tile. Did Hisbalit’s mix configurator help give free reign to your creativity, bringing your ideas to life in mosaic tile?

Yes, and you have no idea how helpful Hisbalit’s on-line digital application is. The possibilities are endless and without this technology it would have taken much more time to decide on a pattern.

Violet Bliss is also notable for its striking explosion of colour, violet, a combination of sensuality and spirituality, masculine and feminine. Do you identify with explosive colours or do you prefer softer tones? What colour palette defines you?

I work to develop concepts; I carefully study the needs of each project and then work to develop an idea where colour plays an important part. Sometimes I want to be provocative, other times to transmit a feeling of calm, and so I use colour to create experiences for the client.

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Kai la Caleta / In Out Studio

Another project of yours from 2019 also had a big impact in the sector. The restaurant Kai La Kaleta was a finalist in the Architecture Plus Awards and was voted one of the best projects of 2019 in Archilovers. What can you tell us about this project?

I think it was a painstaking project and I could apply my experience from every angle. We designed everything, down to the last detail, I even took on the uniforms. It’s very satisfying when you see that your project works, because the goal of my work it to be both commercial and long-lasting.

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Kai la Caleta / In Out Studio

You decided on our mosaic tile for the private dining room to create a snake-skin pattern. Why choose mosaic tile?

Because I wanted to represent a snake, a mystical animal that has great symbolism in Asia, and do it in black which also has a magical connection. I wanted to create the black box, a private, futuristic space with a striking visual impact.

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Black Box/ Kai La Caleta

How important are the surfacing materials when creating a space?  

Everything is an essential part of the composition of the interior. It may even be a single material that gives form to the entire project. It has a lot of weight, compositionally speaking; and technically it is essential to choose the right material in terms of maintenance.  

Our mosaic tiles are eco-friendly. Is it important for you to use environmentally responsible materials?

Yes, I think it’s important to work with eco-friendly materials because for me the environment is of prime importance. Yes to re-use. Yes to second-hand furniture that fits with the new design. And, of course, Yes to using materials that are good for mother nature.

If you had to define Hisbalit, how would you do it?

I think Hisbalit is an innovative company with an enterprising and creative spirit, very much in sync with the values of my studio. Furthermore, if there is something that distinguishes Hisbalit it’s their close attention to the needs of professionals. It’s amazing! Hisbalit develops fantastic collections and colours, oriented to professionals and that’s essential, and very rare.  

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