Marc Olivé answers the phone and the first thing he hears is his voice in a fight with the waiter. The man who shouts asking not to touch his nose is the same spiky character, with glasses and a beard, who has appeared hundreds of times on televisions, radios and newspapers around the world saying that his company, Haibu 4.0., Will revolutionize the real-estate market. He said that this year there will be 600 people living in “hive floors” with small sleeping rooms in Madrid and 1,500 in Spain. On the phone from Barcelona, Olivé apologizes because he says he has been touched by a new waiter who does not know him.
“I am here in a giant cafeteria where I have held 3,000 meetings and I plug in my cell phone and it tells me that I have to eat and I, do you want to wait for chicken?”
Olivé, 45, is a man full of energy that can be spent without lunch for an hour and 12 minutes, talking about his project, but is not characterized by diplomacy. A journalist from Eldiario.es seemed to suggest that if the mayor of Madrid, José Luis Martínez-Almeida, did not regularize his homes in four months, he would resort to mercenaries. “How I touch my nose will come my Russian friends to see it.”
That aggressiveness is not his only defect. Olivé is a compulsive liar, a narcissist and a scammer who has been selling smoke to the press for months on floors that don’t really exist, according to the person who helped him create this bubble, Eduardo Jausi, the sole administrator of Haibu 4.0. Jausi, 66, speaks for the first time with the press of the truth about Haibu 4.0. and about Olivé, his friend and partner with whom he broke up two months ago, when the latter landed in Madrid and began acting without permission on behalf of the company.
Since then Olivé has impacted on the agenda of some major media outlets based in Madrid where social gatherings have spent a long time talking about infra-housing and Haibu houses. Mayor Martínez-Almeida has said that they will not give licenses for these rooms and his councilor on urban planning issues, Mariano Fuentes, has labeled “overcrowding of Southeast Asia.” The City Council of the richest city in Spain, Pozuelo, has also come out because Olivé has announced a floor of this type in that municipality that borders Madrid in the west.
It is a story that they know well in Barcelona, where a project full of lies and exaggerations that has gone too far began in August 2018.
I forgot however, you don’t want to put a brake. He ensures by phone that the project is moving at an unstoppable pace. He says that this same weekend 75 people will come to live in flats in Madrid whose location cannot be revealed so that the authorities do not close them or make a protest to the “perroflauts”. It has, he assures, investors in France, Peru, South Korea, Ivory Coast and Sierra Leone. Some, he says, are countries where they are not going to put legal impediments because everything is “Can Pixa”, (messing around in Catalan).
It also reveals a project with the largest supermarket chain in the world, Walmart. He claims that they will build their “hive floors” on the parking lots of the establishments of this American company, which has 11,503 stores worldwide. As proof, it shows some designs uploaded to its website in which a prototype appears on a Walmart supermarket. According to him, it’s a win-win (both win): “They will have 400 residents living in the parking lot who are going to be potential consumers,” he says, forecasting a world full of hives in unexpected places.
A Walmart spokesperson tells this newspaper that the legal department is studying the misuse of its intellectual property. “Walmart has no stores or other establishments in Spain and apparently Haibu is using our name and brand without our consent. We will analyze the matter and we will be in contact with Haibu, “says spokesman Pedro Mucciolo.
An inventor with many dreams
Olivé and Jausi have been friends for more than 12 years. They were joined by their passion for engineering, inventions and social revolutions. Jausi was going through a black stage. He was charged in the Gürtel corruption plot for his role as an accountant for Special Events, one of the companies run by Francisco Correa who illegally secured contracts from public entities controlled by the PP. Even today he remains charged in one of the many pieces still to be judged, according to legal sources that work on the case. His name was stained and that’s why he started using a pseudonym, Eddie Wattenwil. He says he is innocent, one of dozens of employees victims of the corruption of Chief Correa.
Olivé was an inventor with idealistic projects that, according to his old website, dreamed of stopping climate change, modifying capitalism and getting water for everyone. I wanted to devise a transoceanic train, a wind funnel or a solar water purifier.
“The truth is that I am happy with the role that has touched me in this play called Humanity,” he wrote. According to him, the inventors are very different people. “We care about all humanity as if it were our family.”
In the summer of 2018 Olivé and Jausi talked a lot about the injustice of the lack of affordable housing in big cities. They believed that the solution could have been taking better advantage of the space inside the houses already built, in the style of Japanese capsule hotels, hence they thought of the name Haibu, which in Japanese means hive. One day in August Olivé hung posters promoting the idea, according to Jausi, without even notifying him. They had no money, no offices or anything. But El Periódico looked at them and on September 1 the first article appeared. In less than a week they had echoed European media like France 24 or The guardian. The only thing they could show was a model, but on television they solved that lack by showing archival images of hive hotels in other countries or interviewing pedestrians frightened by the idea. They barely had time to serve all journalists. They appeared in the media of Russia, Japan, Latin America, the United States and a long list that they have compiled as a newspaper archive on their website. Some friend of Olivé, Victoria Cerdán, helped them in some programs. Jausi appeared as Eddie Wattenwil among others on Ana Rosa’s show.
They had touched a sensitive fiber. The so-called “hive floors” left no one indifferent. The Barcelona City Council of Ada Colau quickly dismissed them outright because they considered it unworthy to live in these conditions, but others saw the idea with enthusiasm, according to Jausi, including volunteers who lent themselves to collaborate and, more importantly, investors willing to risk their money.
They rode on the wave, narrates Jausi. The idea was to benefit from this free attention to obtain financing. When everything calmed down they would use the loopholes of the system to legalize their floors. They could get a hostel license, but instead of tourists, there would be permanent tenants. What Haibu proposed 4.4. In the background it was not so different from the “cabin hotels” that already exist in Bilbao, New York or Tokyo, that’s why Jausi never understood such a stir. “Instead of having bunk beds where you can smell farts and the neighbor’s feet, ours were private rooms.”
Some friends of Olivé spent 400,000 euros on two “hive floors” in Barcelona, one bought and one rented. They are the only two that Haibu 4.0. has really had, according to Jausi. One for three people was on Constitution Street 114, in the district of Sants-Montjuïc, and another for a dozen, on Rosselló Street 25, in the adjoining municipality of L’Hospitalet.
They operated for months without even having established the company. They took that step in March when they registered it as a limited company. But by then everything looked dark. The Barcelona authorities closed the floors. Olivé and Jausi often fought over the strategy. Jausi believed that a low profile had to be kept, but Olivé wanted to make noise and make incendiary statements. “Wherever you go, the doors of the town halls are closed for your pointless comments,” Jausi reproached him.
Olivé ignored. He arrived in Madrid in December with the idea of replicating what they did in Barcelona. He inflated plaintiffs’ numbers, talked about non-existent projects, planted himself on a plot and told his companions, journalists, investors, whoever, that there they were going to build one of their flats, a tactic widely used by other charlatan businessmen.
It is raising 300 euros of signal to people from Madrid who want to live in these supposed homes. He says he will return the money if the plans become frustrated. According to him he has 3,000 interested. Also mysterious investors around the world. “The whole planet is watching us with expectation.”
On the web, which he controls because he manages well with computing, many photos are fake. The Barcelona architects of a house in Menorca that has appeared in a prestigious architecture magazine took a surprise this week when they found a photo of the luxury home on the Haibu 4.0 website.
Jausi, from a beach in Tarragona, says that everything is a lie. There are no more “hive floors” and nobody should trust Olivé. “We had investors, believe me. But you as an investor, what would you do if you see that you insult a mayor and challenge him?” Says his ex-partner.
“It will end up under a bridge. For me that he has little rope left. What has missed me is that he has come to Madrid and they believe him.” He has already warned his old friend that he will take legal action against him.
He reflects on all this last episode of his life, and regrets that few have noticed at the bottom of the matter, the problem of giving a roof to people who have nothing: “Nobody wrote about the project, they were all superfluous comments on the sayings from one and the other without getting to the bottom of the matter, which was to see the reality of what is happening in Spanish cities, about 40,000 people without a roof and no solutions from the rulers. “
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