La Vega Innova iHUB: Blending Nature and Technology in Madrid

Designed in 2024, the La Vega Innova iHUB in Madrid, Spain, is a cutting-edge research facility that seeks to boost local entrepreneurs by creating an ecosystem linking small producers, investors, public administration, and academia. Crafted by Studio Banana, this innovative hub fosters intersectoral collaboration and knowledge exchange, serving as a strategic reference point for agrotechnological solutions in Spain.

A modern, bright office space with open layout, natural lighting, and sleek furnishings.
Modern and airy co-working space with exposed ductwork, natural light, and minimalist furniture.
A modern, open-concept office space with hexagonal ceiling panels, glass walls, and natural wood floors.
A modern, wooden-framed office space with corrugated glass partitions and minimalist furnishings.
Spacious office with floor-to-ceiling glass walls, wooden frames, and modern furniture.
Modern, open-plan office space with comfortable seating arrangements, neutral colors, and ample natural lighting.
A modern office space with a stylish wood and metal shelving unit displaying office furnishings.
Modern, minimalist office space with sleek furniture, pendant lights, and greenery.

About La Vega Innova iHUB

La Vega Innova iHUB, a remarkable project sponsored by the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food, and funded by the European Commission, aims to catalyze local entrepreneurship. Moreover, it creates an ecosystem that seamlessly connects small producers, investors, public officials, research groups, and universities to co-develop and refine technologies tailored to the agri-food value chain.

An Incubator for Cutting-Edge Agrotechnology

Collaborating with Telefónica Tech, the renowned Studio Banana has strategically designed this innovative incubator within the historic headquarters of the National Agrarian Training Center (CENCA), on the outskirts of Madrid. Ultimately, La Vega Innova iHUB stands as a premier destination for agrotechnological solutions in Spain, an innovation lab where pioneering ideas come to life.

Fostering Intersectoral Collaboration and Knowledge Exchange

This dynamic ecosystem seamlessly integrates incubation and acceleration programs, coworking and showroom areas, as well as spaces for training and virtual experimentation with smart solutions technology connected to a global network of agro labs. Consequently, startups, academia, public and private clusters converge to address current needs, trends, and on-site pilot deployments, from inception to final testing and launch.

Honoring Spain’s Identity and Productive Diversity

Guided by an open social innovation strategy, Studio Banana has designed an evolutionary and versatile space. Moreover, they have employed an original storytelling approach that celebrates Spain’s unique identity, wealth, and productive variety. Consequently, the space is organized into “neighborhoods,” breaking down silos and promoting constant flow between teams, information exchange, strategic alliances, and community activation.

A Natural Extension of the Landscape

The spaciousness, brightness, and use of natural materials with a green and earthy tone colorimetry evoke the richness of the earth, blurring the boundaries between the indoors and outdoors. This harmonious dialogue with the surrounding environment fosters a fluid and harmonious ambiance.

Boosting Diverse Dynamics Across Neighborhoods

The strategic layout of uses is geographically organized into three “neighborhoods.” Consequently, the space encourages a harmonious coexistence between teams, intertwining open collaboration areas with private rooms that guarantee confidentiality and concentration. Furthermore, social and lounge areas alternate with multipurpose spaces equipped with the latest technologies, enabling users to engage in various activities throughout the day.

The Agora: A Centerpiece of Innovation

The agora, with its concentric design, serves as the first meeting point and backbone of the neighborhood. Surrounded by a dedicated area for startups and companies to showcase their latest innovations, the agora welcomes the community to meet, pitch, exchange ideas, and celebrate innovation.

Honoring the Productive Wealth of the Land

Visual references, such as agricultural tools, the transhumance map of the Iberian Peninsula, and an herbarium, serve as reminders of the importance of farming, the seasonal migration, and the opportunities offered by the land. Furthermore, the chromatic library, inspired by the diversity of the Spanish territory, encourages reflection through art and technology, comprising 160 hand-sewn pieces that evoke the varied colors and nuances of the peninsular fields and soil samples.

Ecodesign and Certified Materials

Sustainable practices are at the forefront of La Vega Innova iHUB, with the use of timber and furniture from local producers incorporating quality and environmental certifications, as well as recycled materials obtained from discarded bottles. This natural and sustainable approach aligns with the principles of the circular economy.

The Auditorium: A Legacy for the Future

The auditorium features a foldable, soundproofed, timber ceiling as its focal point. This innovative civil engineering feat, conceived by Studio Banana, subtly filters the central lighting into the space, creating a warm and welcoming ambiance. Moreover, it recovers the site’s architectural heritage while providing flexible solutions for future space utilization.

A New Standard of Agricultural Innovation

La Vega Innova iHUB stands as a testament to sustainable management practices. From the meticulous material selection and comprehensive traceability throughout various project phases to the continuous engagement with public-private stakeholders and effective execution, this intelligent, evolving ecosystem sets a new benchmark for agricultural innovation in Spain.

Photography courtesy of Studio Banana
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- by Matt Watts