The Eixample Penthouse is a boutique holiday apartment centrally located in one of the world’s most vibrant cities of Barcelona.
How would you describe yök Casa & Cultura in a nutshell?
Yök are eco-friendly holiday apartments in Barcelona, Spain, with the Casa being the accommodation and the Cultura being all kinds of cultural activities that we do for both the guests and the locals. We don’t want yök to be a tourist bubble.
We’ve based yök on three main points: sustainability, Barcelona, and design.
What was your inspiration to open yök as holiday apartments?
I’m a sustainability designer, and one of my projects years ago was to renovate my own apartment. It received a lot of press and people really liked it, but they couldn’t live there. So that’s when I got the idea to do a bed & breakfast. To make it happen, I got together with my business partner Mari.
It turns out that a bed & breakfast is illegal in Barcelona. There’s no license that lets you do it, so it then turned into holiday apartments. Although, eventually we plan to offer breakfast on the terrace or in the apartments. We also want to offer yoga classes and massages as well.
Please tell us more about the sustainability aspect at yök.
As for the sustainability, it was very important for us not to throw anything away, and to restore everything that’s possible. For example, we had some doors left over and turned them into headrests for the beds. The new materials added are all nontoxic, including the paint, varnishes, lighting, etc. We still have the amenities people are used to. For example, we have air conditioning, but we instruct guests on how to close shades during the day to keep heat out, and we also have ceiling fans to circulate the air.
We give out free filtered water from the office so people don’t have to buy plastic bottles. We have aerators in all the taps and showers to control the water flow. We installed a system that measures the water consumption of all the guests and people will see the energy consumption of each apartment. It becomes a bit like a competition...
We have other automation systems, e.g. if the windows are open, the air conditioning or heating turns off. There’s also a central switch in each apartment that lets you switch off all the electricity so you don’t have to worry if something was left on.
What sort of cultural events do you offer at yök Casa & Cultura?
Last Saturday we opened an exhibition at yök called Homage to the Mosaic. We invited a local artist who does mosaic-type artwork to show his art here. At the same time, we’ve explained the mosaic floors in the apartments.
The events can also be food related, like tasting sessions with Catalan wines and cheeses. Basically anything related to design, sustainability and the local culture, in order to bring people together and enjoy our city.
What’s been the biggest reward to you personally renting out the yök holiday apartments?
When people come to yök and they love it. People come here and are usually surprised by the apartments. They want to know more about the history, culture, and Barcelona, and it’s always nice to share that knowledge with people who are interested.
It’s also nice to spend time with people from other places because it makes you look at your own city in a different way. It gives you a fresh look on things.