A corner near El Retiro
This veteran Madrid-based Publishing Company, in its search for a space that brings closeness to the public, finds a 200 m2 office space with 7 balconies on the street in the southern limit of the Salamanca District, at the junction of Conde de Aranda and Lagasca streets, a few meters away from the Alcalá street and El Retiro park. The space, located in the mezzanine level of a 100-year-old building, used to host a restaurant, and therefore requires an intervention combining flexibility, economy of means and visibility. And everything in a very short time.
Espacio Encuentro has a triple vocation. On the one hand, it must host the company offices. On the other hand, it should serve as an exhibition and sales area. Additionally, it should meet the publisher’s cultural vocation and be able to host events, exhibitions, presentations and debates, and make the visible in an effective way.
The coexistence of these three uses is articulated around a meeting room that occupies the center of the floor. The reception, the offices, and the main room lay around this core, facing Lagasca street. A reading room occupies the privileged corner between both streets. This demand of flexibility is embodied in a suspended table from steel cables that serves as a book exhibitor and, by through a simple mechanism, can be collected in the exhibition room’s ceiling to leave the space free for exhibitions and conferences.
Color and texture
Material-speaking, the intervention is proposed as a superficial operation. Through the use of different types of paint and a short color palette - yellow, white and blackboard - the space expands and unifies at the same time.
The original space, with its wooden beam’s ceilings, its mechanical installations overlapping over the years, its tiled floor, its brick interior and its wood structure, is then painted in white or yellow. And this is done in a radical way, imposing on the original geometry another slightly displaced geometry that connects, separates and qualifies spaces slightly, giving them warmth and lightness. The rooms that now form this continuous space are fragmented by large boards as sliding doors. Some walls are painted in blackboard paint or covered with mirrors. A couple of pieces of furniture organize the access, hide the storage and serve as exhibitors for books.
The intervention aims to build a powerful identity providing the publishing activity with a certain visibility. The balconies on Lagasca street offer a great opportunity to let the interior look outside. Some simple methacrylate shatters supported by a thin steel rod invite to look inside.