The project involved the partial renovation of a two-storey property which occupies the ground and basement floor of a residential building in Gràcia.
As two previous important refurbishments had radically altered the apartment’s character and the budget did not allow for a full interior renovation, it proved a small yet complex project which required architectural ingeniosity to fulfill the new users’ needs.
The owners, a couple with two children who no longer live with them, commissioned us to redesign the upper level as the main living space and transform the lower level into the children’s area.
On the ground floor, while we preserved the living room existing open plan layout, we reconfigured the master bedroom with a walk-in closet and an ensuite bathroom, incorporated a WC and made room for a combined storage and office. On the lower level the aim was to make a better use of space for the two children when they come to visit, with two bedrooms, a bathroom, a WC and a living room.
Upon entering, storage cabinets now line the hallway leading straight into the living area. The existing storage room now incorporates an office which opens out onto the hallway via a semi glass partition wall providing natural light to the space.
With the aim to increase the sense of space, we decided to remove the master bedroom’s existing ceiling. The original Catalan vaulted ceiling was uncovered and painted white, while the original stone wall was left exposed, offering a warmer ambience. The bedroom’s two entrance points increase the space’s fluidity.
Many of the existing elements- staircase, metal columns, beams, floors, walls – featured a dark color material palette which darkened the interior. The main idea was to create lighter spaces by using new materials in light tones.
A new light oak parquet flooring replaces the dark laminate floor on the upper level, while a wood-look ceramic tile flooring replaces the existing black resin floor on the lower level. The bathrooms’ walls were lined with white ceramic tiles and white silestone imposed itself as the perfect option for the bathroom’s bespoke worktop with its recessed washbasins.
One of the project’s main interventions was to recondition the existing electrical, heating and cooling system, while preserving parts of the existing installation. All exposed heating pipes which crossed the apartment’s walls and ceilings were hidden under the new flooring or inside the new partition walls and ceilings. The recessed spotlights were replaced by recessed downlights; all grey switches and plugs were replaced by white ones.
Much attention was given to resolve the humidity problems in the lower level due to the patio floor’s bad insulation. The existing deck floor was removed, a new insulation was installed as well as a new troweled concrete floor finish.
Designed for Swiss clothing and accessories brand REPEAT Cashmere, the store occupies the ground floor and basement of a 19th-century building in Toulouse, on the city’s busy Metz Avenue shopping thoroughfare.
We were commissioned to redesign the storefront, renovate the interior and supervise the construction process, while collaborate with the brand’s design team, responsible for the furniture design and layout.
The most prominent intervention was the storefront’s self-supporting metal structure. The design was based on the idea to create a metal box framed by glass and placed in a small distance from the storefront’s original void, offering the sense of lightness while distinguishing the “new” inside the “old with respect to the building’s façade. Metallic paint with COR-TEN steel effect was applied as coating for the finishing of the metal structure to produce the same visual effect as the COR-TEN that conversed with the building’s existing joinery, yet it was distinguished.
Inside, the space was overhauled to fulfill the user’s needs. Before the renovation the property housed a travel agency and featured a mezzanine that covered almost its entire surface area. We decided to demolish it to make the most of the high ceiling, and highlight elements like the original timber parquet floor, the brick wall and the metal column. Walls were painted white to create a stark backdrop for the furniture. Blue velvet curtains covered the changing rooms.
The heating, ventilation, and air conditioning units were placed in the basement. The air was introduced via the bespoke storefront’s podium grilles and was circulated via ventilation ducts inside the ceiling and partition wall.
The 75-square-metre hair salon, the first of six RIEDO coiffure’s hair salon franchises, has been totally refurbished in order to maximize space. Located in a small town, close to Bern in Switzerland, it occupies the ground floor of a building.
The client had previously doubled the hair salon’s surface area by connecting it to the adjoining store via a simple door opening but the intermediate wall restricted the fluidity of usage. He commissioned us to redesign the hair salon as a one open-plan space with eight cutting areas, three washing stands, a cash desk and a hidden kitchen-staffroom. No waiting area was requested.
The underlying intention of the replanning was to diverge from the predictable hair salon typology, which typically organizes clients in a row facing a wall.
When demolishing the non-bearing intermediate wall a bare concrete column was left exposed. We chose not to section off the room into separate workstations and instead organized areas around the column. Three of the room’s four walls were completely glazed, and offered a clear view of the street and the mountains.
The new layout revolves around a square-shaped reception desk clad in concrete and suspended to the column in the middle of the salon.
To make the most of the space available, we decided to change the original entrance into a fixed door while using the main access of the ex-adjoining store.
Three bespoke free-standing triangular-shaped mirror units paired with chairs have been arranged at different angles so that customers wouldn’t have to look at one another when having their haircut. This arrangement made it possible to preserve the spatial fluidity of the open plan layout. Inside the salon, the mirrors’ reflection offers views of the street and the mountains beyond.
Recessed ceiling lights were arranged parallel to the angle-shaped furniture, providing focused lighting in the area, while gold suspended lights provide general illumination. Green curtains were draped over the large windows on two walls and were extended beyond them creating a cozy atmosphere.
The left side of the salon accommodates three hair-washing stations. To ensure a level of privacy, slender triangular-shaped metal slats were used to create partial screening. Along the back of the chairs, all shampoo products were placed into rectangular metal nooks.
On the opposite side of the entrance, the equipment was kept hidden within custom-made linear storage with handle-free concrete doors. A LED light panel was used to illuminate and showcase all beauty products on the furniture’s countertop.
The kitchen was designed as an employee service area for prepping materials, with additional cabinetry and a sink. Other than a small staffroom and toilet, the salon functions as one open room. It is spacious enough to allow customers to move around with ease.