Jean Nouvel's Barcelona Hotel has leafy
windows and a plant-filled atrium

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This 27-storey Barcelona hotel by Ateliers Jean Nouvel is punctured by windows shaped like palm fronds and contains a huge atrium filled with palm trees and tropical vegetation (photos by Roland Halbe).

Fira Renaissance Hotel in Barcelona by Jean Nouvel
Photograph by Roland Halbe

The firm led by French architect Jean Nouvel teamed up with local studio Ribas & Ribas to design the Renaissance Barcelona Fira Hotel for the Marriott hotel chain, and it is located in a part of the city that hosts a number of major trade fairs.

Fira Renaissance Hotel in Barcelona by Jean Nouvel
Photograph by Roland Halbe

The building comprises a pair of 110-metre towers that are joined at the top by a rooftop restaurant, terrace and swimming pool. The space between is enclosed by glazing, creating greenhouse-style atrium where staircases are interspersed with greenery from five different continents.

Fira Renaissance Hotel in Barcelona by Jean Nouvel
Photograph by Roland Halbe

The leaf-shaped windows are positioned in front of some of the hotel's 357 rooms, most of which feature simple interiors with white walls, bedding and furniture, plus bathrooms lined with lime plaster.

Fira Renaissance Hotel in Barcelona by Jean Nouvel
Photograph by Roland Halbe

In addition to the rooftop restaurant, a Mediterranean restaurant is located on the fourteenth floor amidst the trees, while the ground-floor lobby offers a cocktail bar.

Fira Renaissance Hotel in Barcelona by Jean Nouvel
Photograph by Roland Halbe

One floor of the building is given over to flexible meeting rooms, offering space for up to 1000 people. Other facilities include a heated whirlpool and solarium and a fitness centre.

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  • someoneone

    This is like seeing window shaped leaves on a tree!

  • Furn Fix Equip

    Weak ideas abound: what a tacky façade. The atrium looks cheap and dim. This project is the antithesis of Cerda’s Barcelona – sad. And I want to like Jean Nouvel but this is difficult to swallow.

  • sor perdida

    I am surprised how easily the project is qualified ‘tacky’, and an ‘antithesis of Cerda’s plan’, without actually explaining why is this so offensive to Cerda’s principles.

    The hotel looks like a traveler’s temporary reclusion in a lush, chthonian space, prone to mescal and sex after a hot day rambling in the city. The leaf-like aperture is Eva’s leaf that I peep through to get a last glimpse of the city of excess, before I embark on my flight back to NY.

    • Antonio

      To be honest, the hotel is not exactly in Barcelona proper but in Hospitalet de Llobregat, where there is no trace of Cerda’s urban plan.

      I like the interior, but that facade is a hard candy to swallow.

      I take that back, I don’t like the facade at all.

  • kadap

    But if windows are now shaped like leaves then everything is all right… Right?

  • kadap

    The interior looks like an interesting environment, especially the circulation spaces. I’d like to see how the planter systems are integrated as far as watering and maintenance. From the exterior, the facade looks like bad wallpaper in my opinion. I don’t know, it kind of seems like an attempt to greenwash a more or less typical luxury hotel.

  • Colonel Pancake

    The plants made of plants are great. The plants made of printed glass are stupid.

  • wwf

    Poor birds.

  • Andreu Puig

    So many comments about Cerda’s Plan but this is not in Cerda’s Plan, this is in Hospitalet de Llobregat, near the Toyo Ito’s Porta Fira project – a totally new area out of Barcelona. The missing link with Cerda’s Plan is the last problem of this project. The biggest fail is the floor plan, how the tower entrance reacts with the ground level, like Nouvel’s Torre Agbar in Las Glorias.

  • Rae Claire

    Ah, there’s my missing grater!

  • amsam

    I’ll say this: I like the plants-as-windows-as-tacky-wallpaper side better than the plants-printed-on-glass side. I think the only real problem is that Jean and co didn’t choose one of these ideas for the whole façade and stick to it.

    One era’s tacky is another era’s chic, (or you can substitute “class” or “culture” for “era”) but discipline is always good.