From BIG’s new digs in DUMBO to Valerio Olgiati’s austere Swiss lair, the workspaces of today’s busiest architects and designers are as distinctive and inspiring as the buildings, interiors and products conceived therein. Here’s a globe-spanning gallery featuring the unique creative environments of seven exceptional firms.
When BIG’s New York office moved into a 1912 building in DUMBO earlier this year, its in-house team transformed the firm’s ninth-floor space with a number of bold moves.
Among the highlights: It installed 150 Bulb Fiction pendants by KiBiSi to form a ceiling-hugging connective feature, and used such scrappy finishes as plywood and steel (their high-drama anodized cabinet opens this gallery article).
Moooi’s Dear Ingo chandeliers hang above a communal worktable.
Manuel Aires Mateus
New meets old to marvellous effect in Manuel Aires Mateus’s atelier. The architect restored an 18th-century Lisbon palazzo – complete with portraits of Portuguese aristocracy – and modernized it, too.
Against this rarefied backdrop, his architectural models and furled plans – of such gleamingly white buildings as the Grândola Meeting Centre and a new faculty of architecture building for the Université catholique de Louvain’s Tournai campus – are nothing short of arresting.
Linehouse designs elaborate retail and hospitality projects – such as the John Anthony dim sum restaurant in Hong Kong – that revel in the layering of ornament and material.
So it is fascinating that the firm’s Shanghai office (it has a second base in Hong Kong) is clean-lined, tidy and meticulously organized. Even more so, considering how embedded it is in its urban context. It turns out that decluttering resonates with more than just Marie Kondo fans – it’s also for interior designers who dream in Technicolor.
Lambert & Fils
Lambert & Fils, the internationally acclaimed lighting design and manufacturing outfit based in Montreal, recently opened a gallery named Corridor that epitomizes the cross-pollination between creative exploration and industrial output.
The company’s founder, Samuel Lambert, has described Corridor as “a space for creators, thinkers and producers who are pushing the boundaries of art and design.” It is situated adjacent to its office and workshop in the city’s Mile End neighbourhood.
The first exhibition was entitled Feu de Camp and featured pieces by Swiss industrial designer Adrien Rovero.
COBE is also inviting the public – and thus instilling transparency – into its new studio in Nordhavn, the same Copenhagen district the firm is currently masterplanning.
It’s doing so via the incorporation of a café by Danish coffee shop and baked-goods purveyor Depanneur into its ground floor and storefront.
Inside, the firm encourages passersby to rub shoulders with COBE architects while enjoying a coffee or buying a book.
Visitors can also examine the studio’s latest architectural models.
Like Peter Zumthor, his contemporary and compatriot, Switzerland’s Valerio Olgiati has an enigmatic air.
That’s why it’s so satisfying to get a glimpse into the stark office space – with its arresting floor and ceiling cutouts – of the world-renowned architect and his firm, which, among other projects, designed Céline’s Miami shop two years ago in a reverie of blue marble.
“I found enormous silos, a tall smokestack, four kilometres of underground tunnels and machine rooms in good shape.” Thus began Ricardo Bofill’s labour of love.
His studio and residence in Barcelona are carved from an abandoned cement factory. This is one of the capacious office spaces, featuring conference tables and drawings.
This is a living space inside La Fábrica, as he’s christened his abode.
The interiors reflect the firm’s romantic view of design.
That sentiment is also the subject of a new tome, Ricardo Bofill: Visions of Architecture, published by Gestalten.