A space that expresses a fluid, equal, heterogenous and unpretentious intervention

The customers already owned the warehouses in Matosinhos, Portugal adjacent to this intervention’s area where the companies are based, but with its exponential growth the need to increase the physical space became perennial. 

The main challenges of this intervention by Paulo Merlini Architects were the interconnection of the two warehouses, in order to be able to seam the original space and the new space in the most fluid and natural way possible, and the creation of dynamics between the two companies, which although distinct, work  synergistically. 

One of the most important issues in designing a company’s headquarters is to create a space that expresses and is in line with the corporate culture’.  – Paulo Merlini Architects

In this case, both E-goi and Clavel’s kitchen, present a rather informal type of management, although extremely professional, and asked the architects for a design that would express that: a fluid, equal, heterogenous and unpretentious space. In terms of functionalities, the new space should guarantee a lot of spatial flexibility, to respond to the company’s growth, include a new photography studio, several meeting rooms, some formal, some informal, video-call booths and a dining space that could accommodate at least a hundred people at a time. 

In order to achieve all the intended functionalities, PMA distributed a series of wooden boxes, where they integrated all the enclosed spaces, meeting rooms, bathrooms and video room booths. It is the distribution of these boxes throughout the space that defines all the spatial dynamics. By distributing these functions, in a heterogenous way throughout the space, and by mismatching these elements in a kind of organised chaos, they guaranteed spatial versatility and created a series of nooks and crannies that allow several kinds of privacy, assigning each one of them a distinct personality. They guarantee ample spaces, where the interaction between co-workers takes place with great naturalness, and more discrete spaces, where one can read a book, relax, or even have a more informal meeting. 

Another basic concern for the architects was to ensure that all spaces had plenty of natural light. With the shape of the façade defined by legal restrictions, they designed it completely glazed. Adjacent to the façade, they located the photo studio on the second floor and the restaurant on the third. This way, they guaranteed a strong visual relationship with the main avenue, attributing a scenic effect to the company’s daily life. The photo studio takes advantage of the northern light, the best light for the type of function it offers, since, reflected by the sky, offers low-contrast lighting, remaining relatively constant during the day. In the rear elevation, to the west, they inserted a series of glass windows that reinforce the presence of natural light throughout the day. 

In order to guarantee a fluid and natural relationship between floors, PMA have designed a concrete spiral with a strong sculptural character, which interconnects the three floors and by its presence, characterises the whole space. At the top, a skylight illuminates the three floors and leaves uncovered the structure of reciprocated bars supporting the ramp, elegantly proposed by the engineer.

Design and info © Paulo Merlini Architects

Images © Ivo Tavares Studio

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