MBM is in reality an architectural workshop with a compact team of architects and staff, including five partners (Martorell, Bohigas, Mackay, Capdevila and Gual), who are committed to a continuous investigation from project to project engaging both clients and various independent professionals and trades in the creative task. MBM literally draw together on the same piece of paper discussing everything with pencils and erasers, backed up with a dialogue between the pencil in the hand and the latest refined digital technology.
This attitude, not only makes the tasks enjoyable, but allows MBM to easily team up with both clients and collaborators of other professions often with different cultures throughout Europe and beyond. However, MBM insists on a strong leadership to ensure an efficient teamwork and control over the original concept, economy and timing.
It all began when Josep Martorell and Oriol Bohigas when they qualified in 1951, and MB opened their practice over a shop in the high street of the district of Sants, Barcelona. The final M was added when David Mackay, four years after joining them became an equal partner in 1963. Unfortunately, he died last 12 November 2014.
Aristotle is reported to have stated that if everybody was alike cities would not exist. The same goes for MBM, who celebrated their 50 years together in 2001, and remain together today, having incorporated their younger partners Oriol Capdevila and Francesc Gual who partly grew up professionally in MBM. Previously Albert Puigdomènech joined MBM during the run up for the Olympics but died after fighting cancer in 2004.
Following the civil war the modern architecture of the Republic was officially banned. When Martorell and Bohigas set up the practice they soon joined forces with other creative artists calling themselves “Grup R”. Their objective was to continue the line of investigation of the 30’s which is reflected in their early work. This soon developed into adopting the “new realism” from Italy which fitted the simple economy of the post-war. Within this new realism based on bricks and mortar, a regional identity arising from the historical interest in Catalan Modernism emerged.
The sixties brought the practice to intensify its investigation through the social and economic changes while the country was preparing for democracy incorporating a deeper understanding that each project was also part of the city or countryside itself. Being in close contact with the Universities, and political and social movements, and the expanding work of MBM in Europe and beyond the practice continues to question consumer demands and the flights of fashion.