With robust walls made of stone and brick and glorious vaulted ceilings characteristic of Catalan architecture, the new home of Carner perfumery was already a Barcelona gem. Revamped by Jofre Roca arquitectes, the slightly subterranean interior is now a crisp white gallery – full of artfully displayed minimal perfume bottles – that serves as the decade-old brand’s corporate headquarters.
The firm wisely started by honouring the remarkable backdrop it had to work with. After stripping off previously installed cladding materials to expose the structure’s architectural rigour, they coated the walls and ceilings in white lime. This finish allowed the “patinas, marks and wounds” of the building’s old bones to show through and for a “historical reading” of the place to co-exist with its new identity.
Inside this all-white interior, which houses a showroom and shopping area as well as offices, the architects inserted furniture that also does exhibition and storage duty. The pine for the furnishings and the flooring were sourced from forests certified as being environmentally managed. What the firm didn’t do was just as important: in lieu of erecting walls, it opted for sliding wooden doors in order to kept the layout open and promote natural cross-ventilation from the back to the front.
Of special consideration: lighting. The products on sale are packaged in ultra-minimal bottles, so they needed to be properly spotlit. As the architects say, “The lighting in the premises, with a low consumption and high efficiency led system, has been designed in such a way that it is not present. In this way everything is well lit, emphasizing where appropriate to revalue the spaces and to display the product, which takes centre stage in the exhibition area.”
For the 10-year-old brand Carner Barcelona, Jofre Roca arquitectes creates a bright new shop in a spectacular old place.