We sent Chief Spa Spy to meet the Natura Bissé team at their new Casa-Fábrica headquarters in Barcelona
When Natura Bissé told us that they wanted to bring their work together in one place, we simply had to hop on a plane and take a look. Their aim: to put their factory, warehouse, development lab, lecture theatre, office space and spa under one roof. Que the fantastic Casa-Fábrica - or Factory House – in Barcelona's Synchrotron Park.
In order to occupy space here, you must prove that your company focuses on innovation, sustainability, biodiversity and conservation. Unsurprisingly, there are strict rules about building sustainably, too.
The building is white - very white - with pale wood and natural light flooding through the entire building through floor-to-ceiling windows on either side.
The lecture area can be subdivided into spa treatment areas for testing new products; the lowest floor overlooks a green garden making it a very peaceful place to work.
The production department works in an eco-friendly way - goods come in on the ground floor where brown paper parcels (without string) are labelled with places of origin. Some parcels come from countries like Mexico, Indonesia, India; others remote exotic islands. We try to guess the contents of each parcel but don’t get many right.
Everything is then passed into an atmosphere-controlled area. The company works to medical grade cleanliness standards, so ingredients must be ultra clean. Goods go out from here as well.
The R+D Lab is the most fascinating: we look into the room through interior glass panels (cleanliness standards mean visitors cannot enter). Inside, three people in white coats work to create a new product. Items are mixed and weighed; stirred and checked. There's even a shaking machine to ensure even mixing. It’s more like a kitchen with scales, pans and mixing machines - but instead of dinner, they are creating the next generation skincare cream.
“How long do you allow to create each new product,” we ask.
“As long as it takes,” is the answer.
It has to work - and be effective - so they go on testing and adapting until they get it right.
Our Chief Spa Spy and the Natura Bissé team
The warehouse area is eerily quiet. Forklifts go up and down selecting packages and delivering them elsewhere; there isn’t a human being in sight.
Up on the top floor is the spa area. Bays can be set up with treatment tables so that new products and treatment protocols can be tested and adapted as needed.
This area can also be used for training. Natura Bissé offers its own training, of course, with specialist training programmes in oncology - their Oncology Aesthetics program trains therapists and offers free treatments to people who have cancer; the brand also works in hospitals and with patient associations.
As we leave Casa-Fábrica we realise that Natura Bissé has found its forever home - a physical embodiment of the brand, with clean white lines encapsulating clever design ideas and brilliant end products.
23rd August 2022
Warm treatment beds; fragrant steam rooms; therapists who listen to what you say; unexpected treats such as back massages that start with hot towels on your feet.
Small towels; crowded changing rooms; black mould in the showers; therapists who sniff; anyone who doesn't take my lavender allergy seriously - until I'm actually sick on them!
Behind the scenes