The main concept of the space started from the client’s brief / wish to have a very flexible office space that could be easily transformed and sometimes used as an exhibition space or a place where to organise small events, workshops, projections etc.
This is where we came up with the idea of a curtain as the main architectural element that could divide the space in a very soft way and enable flexibility that was required.
When we started to explore fabric and how to enhance its characteristics we started to think about a curved form. Curvature in architecture is usually expensive and quite challenging to achieve with hard materials but very easily achieved with fabrics. The use of a curved form to divide the space gives it a smoother appearance and improves the continuity of the space; horizontally and vertically.
We have 2 curtains, 1 on the upper floor and 1 on the lower floor. Sometimes we can imagine opening only the upper curtain. In that case the lower floor space expands into the office space and can become a meeting / workshop area. Sometimes we can open up the lower curtain so the office space expands into the exhibition area. At the same time these 2 curtains help us create an elegant welcoming experience with a little bit of drama (which is always good as a first impression of a space).
The layout is very simple and clear; in the low, back area the pantry and meeting room. These two are divided by sliding panels so they can be connected into one. In the front, the office and exhibition + workshop space. Since the space is very high (5 metres) we agreed with the client on inserting a second floor, a gallery space which is characterised by the big inclinated surface that generates the double height space on the ground floor / office space, and in the same, a back for the long bench on the upper floor.
To connect the two floors we created a stair that is not a fixed stair but a mobile one. In this way it can be used not only to climb up to the second floor but also when setting up the exhibition wall, managing the lighting etc. In this way we create a very flexible element while not occupying a lot of space on the ground floor.
We wanted to introduce a bit of colour to the space and since the client (and we) are connected by our italian experience and city of Milan, We selected the red colour used in the Milan metro station, red line) which we applied to the visible columns. The large green storage / passage space compliments very well the red elements.
All the furniture (except the chairs), doors and lighting features were custom made to fit better the overall concept of the space.
The facade is imagined as a composition of abstract elements instead of a classical door and window combination. Some of the elements can be opened and function as a door or a window. This technique helps us also contain the cost of the facade as we do not have large and expensive glass surfaces. The light grey metal structures sit calmly and respect the peaceful surroundings of Tha Tian area.