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Crec Eixample, by CaSA archts

The architecture of co-working

By Fotos/photos: Roberto Ruiz 11.04.18

The concept of a shared working space has been around for a number of years now, with expensive rents and a volatile work market the advantages of sharing resources are obvious. Not so obvious however is the importance of designing a work environment that satisfies the needs of a diverse group of people where spending long hours can be as pleasant an experience as possible. The following project designed by architects Andrea Serboli and Matteo Colombo known as CaSA is an excellent example of how good design can be an important tool at work.

The following description was provided by the architects.

  • Crec co-working CaSA
  • Crec co-working CaSA

     

    Crec Eixample is the second co-working space designed by CaSA for CREC, leading company in co-working in Barcelona. The first collaboration was with their “social co-working”  Sinèrgics, also located in Barcelona.

  • Crec co-working CaSA

     

    Located a few steps away from central Plaza Catalunya, with 700 sq.m. area organised between street level and basement, providing a wide variety of working environments for the different needs of the 110 people working there: shared tables for flexible working using laptops separated from other fixed desks those who prefer to work in a fixed location; closed offices for private use, as well as communal areas such as kitchen/office area, break-out areas, meeting rooms, conference enclosures, toilets and a lecture theatre.

  • Crec co-working CaSA

     

    The large premises previously accommodated an office canteen. The first move was to remove all the partitions to create an open-plan space. The process revealed interesting architectural features, such as two sets of slender cast iron columns with composite style capitals and three large openings toward the street which had formerly been covered and were now revealed once again. The concept was to create an open, fresh, uncluttered work environment, highlighting the existing elements, providing a neutral light grey surface as a base (epoxy paint flooring) on which architectural volumes are placed: geometrical shaped colour blocks based on a carefully studied palette, that highlight the shared utilities and other communal elements.

  • Crec co-working CaSA

     

    The access from Gran Vía presented a challenge: by regulations a fireproof corridor exit had to be provided. Had the exit been different from the entrance, the duplicate of the corridor space would taken up valuable area. The solution was to treat this limitation as an architectural opportunity, by using the same fire escape corridor as the main entrance: a charcoal-coloured tube with LED lights and the company’s motto “això és coworking” (this is co-working) welcomes visitors behind the glazed sliding door entrance. Once over this threshold you are delivered through a diagonally cut volume into the colourful, central area of the ground floor.

  • Crec co-working CaSA

     

    The kitchen/canteen is outlined with a dark red metallic frame, a structure of red tubes that wraps around one of the cast iron columns. Two rows of globe lamps light the area, one suspended from the ridge of the metal structure and the other placed as wall lights on the tiled surface of the preparation area. Colour also dominates the interior of the boxes containing the other shared elements, by using paint contrasting colours or ceramic materials, as with the kitchen or the toilets, accommodated within a blue house-shaped volume, both lined with simple grey 10x10 Vogue ceramic tiles (Interni collection).

  • Crec co-working CaSA

     

    The ‘fixed’ work area is located at the rear. Two rows of tables flooded with light from the skylights above provide ample work area, this simple and neutral space accommodates regular members and large groups. The more ‘flexible’ temporary area is located at the street side, this area is painted with a light pink colour (the escape corridor). Its long table is lit by a suspended LED tube system, Moon by DLLUM.

    Opposite the pink volume, two enclosures clad in plywood (and decorated internally with shades of green and teal) provide room for quiet conference calls. A relaxation area featuring furniture and lamps by local manufacturer Kettal is placed between these volumes and the street windows.

  • Crec co-working CaSA

     

    A second relaxation area, also featuring Kettal Roll armchairs, Objects Table and Outdoor Lamps is placed between the kitchen and the wedge-shaped yellow coloured volume of the basement staircase.

  • Crec co-working CaSA

     

    The angled volume of the staircase appears through the floor, punctured by the white columns that penetrate its ceiling. This stair links the ground floor to the basement area, dedicated to private offices. Each office is configured as a separate volume with an individual entrance. A meeting room opposite painted in red is shared, and can accommodate up to fifty people.

  • Crec co-working CaSA
  • Crec co-working CaSA