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Europe-based Urbidermis Focuses on the Outdoor Experience of 21st Century Urban Spaces

In 2004, Urbidermis moved its headquarters from Barcelona to Belloch, 20 miles from Barcelona. Serra describes it as “an inspiring and bucolic place, away from the city, where we work and create while listening to the singing birds.”

As Landscape Forms expands its offering of Urbidermis’ elegant, timeless, and beautifully crafted outdoor lighting and furniture to US and Canadian markets, we thought it a good time to learn more about our design partner from Urbidermis’ Mia Serra and Jordi Muñoz.

“Urbidermis is an editing company of urban elements, committed to introducing elements that promote coexistence, provide human scale to cities, and endow them with identity and a sense of belonging,” explains Jordi Muñoz.

Urbidermis (previously Santa & Cole) started in 1985 as a small company producing lighting and furniture for indoor spaces, but the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona created an opportunity for the Barcelona-based company to move in new directions. City leaders approached Urbidermis with an invitation to develop urban elements for the Olympic Village and renovated urban spaces throughout the city, along with renowned architects. In 1987, the company’s outdoor division was born with a collection of lights and furniture.

“Our outdoor collection was born out of the indoor design world and shared the same design goals of comfort and human-centeredness,” says Mia Serra. As it had done with its indoor products, Urbidermis continued to collaborate with architects and designers on the outdoor collection.

In July of 2018, Santa & Cole separated the indoor and outdoor divisions into two companies. Now known as Urbidermis, the outdoor business will transition to Urbidermis in the next couple of years. Urbi is city and dermis is skin. “Skin of the city,” says Muñoz. “Everything from benches to lighting to microarchitecture to greens – the basis of all the elements.” Indoor elements are distributed by Santa & Cole.

In 2019, Landscape Forms has introduced several Urbidermis designs which includes Perisphere benches, Slope lighting, Arne and Arne S lighting, and Trapecio benches.

“We are at the brink of a new urban paradigm with new spatial contracts,” says Muñoz. “In the near future, the needs, functions, and points to be addressed in the city will be different and more complex. Our working lives will be disrupted by new technologies, new archetypes of mobility, and locally produced solar power and energy for charging. Social relationships will relish more natural and friendly cities.”

“The street once reserved for cars will become a boulevard of greens with new elements, disrupting our relationship with the outdoor space itself and giving prominence to outdoor leisure, outdoor work, and outdoor life,” continues Muñoz. “Connectivity, power, and water will be offered broadly, allowing us to benefit from a more social coexistence. It is important to explore these new human-scaled concepts, focusing both on fast-paced connectivity and slower-paced mobility.”

Jordi Muñoz joined Urbidermis in 2013, first working in product development and now leading as marketing director. Mia Serra, managing director, has been editor in chief of the outdoor department since 2000. He is an architect with extensive experience in urban planning.

“Separating the indoor and outdoor collections gives Urbidermis the opportunity to focus on creating new solutions for recovered public spaces that are tailored to the 21st city,” says Serra. “Everything the company has always done moves to make the quality of life in the exterior richer. This will continue to be Urbidermis’ mission in the future.”