Madrid – Since 2009, Spanish bathroom design brand Roca has commissioned seven international 'Galleries' that give more than lip service to synthesizing culture and commerce. Having hosted more than 1500 events in a decade, from master classes and design competitions to lectures, art exhibitions and documentary screenings, the galleries have proven to be a genuinely fresh approach to the showroom format.
In July, however, Roca extended this mission even further by launching a virtual gallery that makes Gallery content – and much more – accessible to anyone, anywhere.
[This virtual gallery is] a space of reflection, of debate, an extension of our Gallery philosophy to a virtual environment
Notably and entirely absent from the digital gallery is any retail function. 'The Galleries, seen as spaces for physical debates, generate a large amount of interesting content that can be transferred to the internet,' said Xavier Torras, Roca's brand communication director. 'It is, rather, a space of reflection, of debate, an extension of our Gallery philosophy to a virtual environment.'
To create the online platform, Roca engaged a rotating committee of seven international experts, including architects Raya Ani and Jane Duncan, urbanist John Palmesino and author Jonathan Bell, to meet yearly to identify, research and analyze current trends and issues. They determine themes and topics to be addressed related to the challenges professionals must now face when thinking of the future: life in the oceans, the future of consumerism, the changing meaning of connectivity. A stable of more than 30 writers, from student design competition winners to the executive director of the American Institute of Architects New York, creates content that changes weekly, offering critical commentary and many points of view. 'The site's richness lies precisely in the versatility of the content,' Torras explained.