Joan Crous, a Spanish artist, grew up in Catalonia and later moved to Italy where he has now lived for 26 years, since his family founded the ever-growing, well-structured reality called Cooperativa Sociale Eta Beta.
The Cooperative now has 30 employees, 80% of whom are people reintegrated into society, which is the main objective of Joan and his wife, the psychologist Giovanna Bubbico, who deals with all the welfare matters.
“We are a non-profit, mixed type A and B cooperative, founded in 1992, under the form of Association of artists working in research and experimentation of materials, with special attention paid to social welfare”, he tells us.
Eta Beta has multiple missions: on the one hand, it works to provide a new life, on the other, there is continuous research into food and wine areas. We can see this in the products served in the gorgeous bar that has been converted from the old stalls, that still preserves the original architecture with its vaulted ceilings, pillars and mangers, and in the restaurant where training courses are held, 4-hand dinners are prepared involving renowned chefs from several nations, and where interesting meetings can be attended, that cover the topic of nutrition with a therapeutic and emotive emphasis.
“Our cuisine is natural”, he tells us. “We like to talk about monastic km, because what we serve comes from our space, that we also call a monastery, owing to the spiritual essence of the place.” The grounds of the non-profit organisation also contains the vegetable gardens, where pulses and cereals are grown that are then served directly at the table. Raw materials are also processed here, turning them into tasty jams, creams and essences.
Joan tells us how they are also working on the production and cold extraction of oils, used to create fragranced waters.
“We are developing one of the most current innovations in top-quality catering, the creation of a water menu. We needed to find a reality that could supply us with an excellent basis for this project, both regarding flavour and the values conveyed.”
The ethics that Aqua Alma promotes are the same ones that uphold Joan’s cooperative, that wants to reduce the pollution caused by transportation, the logic that also links it to the use of local raw materials.
His artistic eye takes him beyond, so that he can reinvent the aesthetics of the glass bottles provided by the brand that have been personalised with an elegant satin logo.
Eta Beta contains so many stories within it, and everything inside this space tells of the events that created and grew it, from the furniture made using the cooperative’s resources to the people who live within it.
A wonderful example of a sustainable reality.