Bringing Life to Places
Based in Zaragoza, Spain, theleisureway leads genuine, iconic projects and they create innovative places where emotions come alive. Their expertise extends through the entire process from idea to installation. Here, RLI speaks with Gastón Gaitán, Founder of the company to learn more about the company and what makes them stand out from the crowd.
Future places will need to feel like they have been collectively created, which requires a deep connection and appreciation for the layers of interactions between people and the surrounding pieces in their immediate environment. theleisureway identifies and connects with local communities using their three pillars – people, place, and emotion, to merge the community’s needs with the asset owner’s objectives. “We call this methodology leisurethinking and we believe it is the key driver behind our success to date and our main differentiating factor,” explains Gastón Gaitán, Founder of theleisureway. “Every project we work on has a unique story and personality especially created for it.”
Designing leisure spaces will be essential in the coming years. Shopping centers or areas that do not include places where people can enjoy themselves in their free time and relax will become obsolete. “Furthermore, in a world where competition is increasingly fierce, such as in the real estate or retail sector, you must differentiate yourself with innovative, unique, and sustainable proposals. This is what we specialise in at theleisureway. We design and implement projects that create connections between people and spaces so that they would want to return to them, because of the great memories that were made there during their last visit,” highlights Gaitán.
Just like people have a favourite bakery or restaurant, Gastón feels that this mall or this park, this residential area, mixed-use space or resort can also be people’s place of choice for enjoying their free time. Fundamentally, theleisureway’s interventions reactivate businesses by creating innovative, attractive spaces and filling them with life again, especially after a time in which businesses might have lost the interest of their clientele. The company’s focus is on humanising these places and making them more sustainable, through attractive design elements that make them stand out from the competition.
The business currently works in more than 30 countries worldwide, mainly in Europe and the Middle East, adding up to more than 75 projects. Therefore, they are not only developing projects in Spain, although – this year – they are inaugurating a special project carried out in a Spanish shopping centre, which will be in Puerto Venecia, a shopping centre in Zaragoza.
“This project is one of the top five shopping destinations in Spain. With over 200,000sq m of retail and leisure, it is one of the country’s most extensive and original development projects. It is a unique shopping area with a high leisure value and a high attraction for the people in the region, attracting around 19 million visitors a year,” says Gaitán.
The intervention area of approximately 1,000sq m missed personality and a distinctive use. In this context, theleisureway was invited to work on the design of the new outdoor family area to activate and enhance the outdoor customer journey by integrating a unique leisure solution that complements the existing offer, by bringing fresh ingredients that boost the pedestrian flow and make that area part of Puerto Venecia’s story and active life.
Zaragoza is a city with cold and windy winters and sweltering summers, but despite the extreme weather, locals are used to enjoying the outdoors, which is why a green oasis that brings comfort, human scale and freshness was a must-have addition for this space.
“The critical points of the project were the look and feel of the new area, an extension of the architectural language of Puerto Venecia, blending in with the general landscape design: angular shapes and natural textures with an innovative and fashionable touch that’s appealing for everyone with its unique WOW factor.”
The new garden is located at the end of the shopping centre’s natural flow axis, a lake that is the heart of the project and organises and distributes the different areas. As the end pole of this axis, they took the opportunity to generate the background of this landscape picture, a new leisure anchor that would complete the route around the lake, activate it and bring back the flow to a cold area of the shopping centre, extending in the process the flavor and curiosity.
The concept, introduced as “El Manantial”, lives up to its name and presents a modern and fashionable interpretation of natural elements. The immersive landscape, the diverse nature that is discovered and water as the protagonist and generator of the space, creates a new concept of a leisure garden full of life. This extension consists of several social meeting spots, events spaces, areas where children can freely discover and have fun and a large 16m-high tower with a waterfall inside, games, slides, and lastly, an impressive viewpoint over the lake.
“Away from Puerto Venecia, we have recently entered the Middle Eastern market through various projects, with one of our biggest projects yet. The Village, being close to inauguration in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. It gives us immense pride to see how our work and thinking methodology are being trusted by clients from all over the world, especially within Europe and during the years ahead, we are committed to expanding our presence into more uncharted territories and set our own leisure thinking as a philosophy to follow and take as reference,” Gaitán explains.
The objective at theleisureway is to increase the value of a place and attract people to these intervention areas through their projects. This, in turn, creates traffic that enhances the commercial offer.
theleisureway approaches each project with a three-layered strategy. First, the social and spatial layer is focused on architecture, interior design, construction, and installation. Second, the emotional layer involves generating a leisure strategy, developing storytelling, experience mapping and designing a customer journey. Finally, the business layer is concerned with brand analysis and understanding the lifecycle challenges of the asset, as well as the commercial vision.
With a multidisciplinary team that blends technical, emotional, and business expertise, they are able to deliver on all three layers of their approach and this is set to continue in the years ahead.