We designed the interior of our office, which is located in the center of the city of Rijeka on the first floor of a historical building from late 19th century.
The mission behind this project was to bring to light the geometric proportions of a historical building of that period by “cleaning up” the existing condition and create a “box” free of divisions and hierarchy between spaces.
When you enter the space there is a long hallway that contains all the main functions (kitchen, archive, closet, storage, heating system, bathroom), from there you have three connections to the main room. Main room is around 80 m2 (cca 15 x 5m) divided by two multifunctional rotating volumes covered in brass. The idea was to create a living space that can generate potential for cooperation and enhance multidisciplinarity. The logic behind this design is of exploiting motion, motion as a fundamental aspect of energy. By using motion as a generator of space and hierarchy every movement creates energy in the form of potential. In our understanding, that energy is the possibility to use the space for theoretically endless scenarios like workshop, exhibition, book presentation, office, social events, etc.
The two Volumes are designed by giving them multiple identities, they can become wall, door, closet, decoration, structural element.. Every volume is designed to withstand 800 kg of weight and because of this load there is a steel plate placed on the wooden structural beams under the flooring with the purpose to spread the concentrated weight pressure to a larger surface. The Volumes are made with wooden reinforced frame that lies on a custom engineered rotating bearing and 4 wheels that allow rotation in all directions. They are covered in brass coating, visually and functionally dominating the whole interior. Our opinion is that brass is a timeless material, which fits in any esthetical context. It has a tendency to oxidize and get a purplish-green patina that can be removed any time by gentle polishing. We like the contrast between “luxury” of golden tones and “anti-luxury” oxidizing effect with scratch marks through time. They are also in some way the abstract (concept) of our professional and personal experience; it contains the elements of playfulness and severity, stiffness and flexibility, ego-tripping and modesty, precision and everyday spontaneity. At the same time they play an inspirational and educational role for our clients by de-dramatizing the obsession usually people have with the durability of materials used in furniture and interior design. It also breaks some prejudices towards Croatian manufacturers since we have presented a tangible example that Croatia has brilliant craftsmen and experienced engineers (project is realized entirely with companies from Rijeka and its surrounding). Selection of materials and colors is motivated by the context of this historical building. We primarily wanted to respect the identity of the building, secondary we wanted to create an interior that will age well, I.e. will not be subject to new trends. For us the resilience of design in time is one of the pivotal challenges of this profession.
Walls and ceilings are painted with neutral white color in the combination with oak chevron style parquet flooring. Reconstruction of the floor was a challenging process since the rotating brass volumes require a surface as flat as possible and we managed to get 2 mm height difference on a 15 meters long floor. As a contrast to the oak floor in hallway we combined dark blue wooden closets and white door trim with orchid-pink kitchen elements. Together with dark grey industrial steel coating on the beginning and at the end of the long narrow hallway, it gives you the optical impression as if the hallway is shorter and wider. Space is now set up as an office, but we already arranged all the installations and plumbing in a way that the space can also work as two separate apartments with some minor modifications. We wanted to create a “product” that in time will endure the possible market real estate fluctuations thanks to it’s diversified character..
Studio-a29 is an architecture and design studio founded in 2009 while studying at the University of in Trieste, department of Engineering and Architecture. From the beginning we applied a multidisciplinary approach of our profession, which led us to different parallel projects and co-operations. We have been working on reconstruction of historical buildings, building new structures, interior architecture, product design but also establishment of association ManifeTSo 2020 (Trieste, 2011 till today) that deals with urban regeneration and forming Impact-Hub Trieste as co-working and start-up accelerator (Trieste, 2013 – 2018). We also engage in product design, mostly custom solutions by exploiting the technical know-how and tradition of Italian industrial manufacturers and craftsmen. In 2016 Studio-a29 is co-founder of Aestus Development, a real-estate development company based in Rijeka Croatia, bringing to the firm “full circle” empathy towards the process of construction and design.