Iñigo Fariñas: “To design a bolt you need to hace placed 5.000 first”

Iñigo Fariñas, native of Bilbao, embarcs on his first solo adventure following his steps as a hospitality arquitect at CMV Architects

When did you start working at CMV?

I came to Palma ten years ago to work at Barceló Hoteles as a deputy to Tolo –Cursach-, so everything I know about hotels I learned from him. We then both went our separate ways for some time, until he called me because he needed someone who spoke French to take on the reform of a four star hotel in Paris. That’s when we told me we was going to start as an associate at CMV and it wasn’t long before we were both part of the company.

How does this close relation with Tolo works?

It’s almost father-son, he has taught me everything I know about hotels, fair is fair. It’s a very different world, with deadlines and higher expectations.

What particularities do you mean?

Mainly the haste of the deadlines, which are very tight. You need to perform the work from the moment the hotel closes until it opens keeping in mind that every day you miss the deadline is a penalty for the hotel. There’s also the size of the work in comparison to the budget. You always try to keep a safety cushion, but they keep asking more and more. They’re the famous “Since you”: “Since you’re here we’ll take advantage of that and do this other thing”. All of that needs to be included in the initial instalment, so you budget something at a price and deadline and reality ends up being the same thing but at a different price and time. The hospitality client has its quirks being used to immediacy, as a stark contrast to a residential client.

Once in CMV Architects, ¿what were your responsibilities?

Mostly working on hotels, both supporting the inception of the project and during the phase of execution, my speciality. I normally intervene when the structure has already risen, verifying there aren’t any incongruences among the architecture projects, interior decorating and engineering and from there controlling the finishing touches, equipment… Basically, my competency is everything that happens in the hotel from the moment they rise the walls until its delivered.

What were the work dynamics?

At first we were governed by construction management, but we’ve evolved to product management. The process consisted on controlling each of the unions individually, the thirty or so businesses that participate in a construction project.

This seems like a project that requires very careful organization

Yes, you need to be very methodical. I have always organized myself through a quadrant of the suppliers, their elements, each room, deadlines, budget…

Now you’ve departed on this solo project. What can you tell us about it?

Yes, I’ve taken a leap of faith. The idea is that you have a bare room, and I’ll finish it. If you don’t have windows, floor, furniture… I’ll take care of it. I still cooperate with CMV because I bring these technical construction services, equipment, deliveries…

Once you’ve started this solo adventure, has everything you’ve learned at CMV Architects helped you, and if so, how?

It’s been a great school, and it’s helped, not just by meeting a lot of people, but also in architecture and rigor. Before I arrived in Mallorca, I worked for the single-family residential sector, which was basically copy-paste, and the multiple-family residence, in which you followed the minimum liveability regulations permitted to build the most homes possible. At CMV they’re very coherent with the architecture style the work with, their residential projects are high quality, as well as in hospitality. Tolo knows you can’t have people pay for a five star, and receive a four, or even three.

On the other hand, I have learned from a lot of people at construction projects. A construction project is a multidisciplinary entity where you can learn from the tiling guy, or the carpenter… I like to do it because I understand that this job involves continually learning. We’ll reach a point, when we grow up, in which we can be professors of whatever we want. A teacher used to tell me that to design a bolt you need to have placed 5.000 first. That’s why, before you arrive at a construction job and say you have an issue with something you need to have been in lots of construction jobs. Basically, the best way to learn is to treat everyone with respect. In a construction job there’s lots of stress and I believe that they’re not well rewarded at an emotional level, and that is unfair. There’s lots of fires to take out and the one you least expect will be the one to help you.