2020   |   Grupo Ikon

Eco-consciuss coliving and traditional housing complex.


Urbalam is an urban center located in one of the fastest growing real estate areas on the Mayan Riviera. It integrates vertical and horizontal housing, co-living, shops and recreation areas. In this project we build the brand and product concept for this development through design and innovation.




In recent years, Playa del Carmen and its surrounding areas have seen exponential growth: economic, urban, touristic. Cancún is no longer the only vacation center in Quintana Roo, and there is an increasing movement of visitors to other places in the state such as Tulum, Bacalar, Puerto Morelos, and others. Therefore, the need to have a good range of services, shops, hotels and hosing options in these areas, has become one of the main focuses of attention and investment for many real estate developers.

Question: How can we help the people who want to invest in Playa del Carmen to increase their return on investment and their vacational / retirement options?
Answer: A housing development aimed to hotel workers and tourists, which reduces energetic 

At Mentora, we work hand in hand with Grupo Ikon, focusing on solving the problem of available housing, for the market made up of managerial-level workers, who want to live close to their jobs, in a safe area, having shops at hand and basic services they and their families need. Although Cancún is still a nearby city, population growth and the feeling of insecurity reduce people’s willingness to drive long distances in their day-to-day routines.

To solve this, our first task consisted of an in-depth investigation of STEEP trends (in the social, technological, ecological, economic and political spheres) that could impact in some way the real estate development of Playa del Carmen within the following 10 years. Among all the trends that we could identify, we found 3 highly relevant changes for our project.

Collective Living: there is a transition in the models and dynamics of housing, from totally individualized spaces, to shared living spaces. This is because younger people value experiences much more over possessions, the growth of cosmopolitan cities and the demand for real estate far exceeding supply.

Centralized Living: refers to the user’s need to have everything they need to live in one place: work, home, entertainment, services and shops. As cities and populations grow, traffic, insecurity, and having to travel long distances have also become one of the main pain points to avoid when choosing a home. Consumers prioritize walkability, convenience, and quality of amenities.

Green revolution: we are moving from an industrialized housing design and construction system, to a more sustainable and ecological system where bio-architecture comes into play. Natural resources as key materials and sustainable technologies are the main drivers that are causing this trend.

From these 3 vectors of change, we develop an attribute table that serves as the initial basis for the value proposition of the final solution. After that, we conducted interviews with the target market to find out what their aspirations (be goals) were that pushed them to acquire a home in that area, in addition to their currently unmet needs. We find that the target market is distinguished by the search for new businesses or sources of income. The purchase driver is the use of the project in an area in growth and capital gain such as Playa del Carmen.

As for the needs not met by the competition, we find that the user is sensitive to problems of time, mobility and insecurity, considers it essential to have basic services and shops at hand, but currently has to travel a distance that he considers long to be able to access these. Other problems such as the lack of parking, the poor quality of the construction of the houses and the low quality of the telephone and internet networks, were mentioned during this phase of our investigation.

Another important topic that we addressed in the interviews was about coliving, where we had the following findings:

* Increasing trend of people looking for places that foster a sense of community, in addition to providing excellent accommodation
* Poor offer for young professionals who lack an option that offers good prices, finishes and shared amenities.
* Older adult demographic who wants a strong sense of community and an attractive offering of services and amenities but also requires a vital living space.
* Family community demographic segment with the desire to own a multi-dwelling for vacation use, half stay or full stay.

The final proposal is an effort to align an offer of individual and shared housing that is compatible with the be goals and with the unmet needs of the market. The main attributes are: greater mobility and access to shops, superior network services, implementation of energy saving technologies that, in addition to caring for the environment, become an economic incentive for the user and increase the value of the home; and the sense of community that increases the perception of security in the development.

Urbalam Branding

For the branding, the creative team developed an identity that expresses the cultural diversity that exists in Playa del Carmen, since its population is made up of people who come from all over the country and abroad.

The vibrant and contrasting colors speak to us of this diversity and in addition to the fact that naming and other elements of identity are a way of mixing urban concepts with tribal connotations typical of the Mayan culture.


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Mentora®  is a creative agency, specialized in innovation and design, focused on medium and large scale real estate business and projects.

Av. Eugenio Garza Laguera 
No. 955 Valle Oriente, 66267,
Monterrey N.L.