LOOM Plaza Catalunya Offices – Barcelona

  • Client Merlin Properties,
  • Year 2022
  • Location Barcelona, Spain,
  • Industry Real Estate Services,
  • SCOB revitalized the early 20th Century Casa Pich i Pon building to realize flexible office space LOOM Plaza Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain.

    LOOM belongs to the Merlin Properties flexible offices division, who commissioned SCOB to take on the refurbishment project as part of its expansion in Barcelona. SCOB draws its inspiration from a reinterpretation of the founding principles of the Novecentista movement: collaborative work in shared open and healthy spaces, with good lighting and ventilation, and the use of quality materials and craft techniques to create stylish, simple, and comfortable working conditions.

    The 20s roar again – A pioneering building
    In 1922, architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch refurbished the building on plaza Catalunya, no. 9, with the introduction of a new typology in contemporary Catalan architecture: the office building. He ensured maximum flexibility for its internal spaces and capitalized on natural light through the insertion of new large window openings on the external façade. He also forged new ground with the residence of the building owner’s family on the penthouse level, which subsequently became a trend in the city at a time when Noucentisme was dominating social and cultural life.

    Shared values
    The noucentistes were conscious of the need to provide new civic spaces for the city, dynamic meeting places for hosting cultural and leisure events. At that time, there was an expansion of new libraries, museums, housing projects, cultural spaces, institutions, and public schools that survive to this day.

    The reinterpretation and reimagining of the spirit of Noucentisme, with its ideology based on the values of rationalism, precision, calm and order, scale, and clarity (values closely associated with Pich i Pons), inspires a new approach to the contemporary work environment, echoing the back-to-the-future sensation of the revolutionary 1920s.

    The 20s roar again
    One of the most famous quotes attributed to Puig i Cadafalch is “architecture should reflect the character of society”. This principle informs the strategies adopted with the latest refurbishment of the building interior to recover the large open spaces of the original, always conceived as versatile in nature, as well as highlighting those shared contemporary values that today mirror Noucentisme culture. The idea is one of shared knowledge in a collective space, within an open and healthy environment with direct contact with sunlight and the outdoors, with spaces featuring organic materials, informed by contemporary craft techniques, and comfortable interiors that stand our for their elegance and simplicity.

    A contemporary athenaeum
    The sensation of community is closely linked to the sensation of belonging. For that reason, the architects wanted to highlight the values and philosophy of contemporary workspaces, drawing on the spirit of collaboration, community, and shared effort. The design aims to recreate a modern version of the classic athenaeum. These places represent successful models of social and cultural exchange in many cities, but especially Barcelona, dating back to the beginning of the 20th Century. They are hybrid spaces that combine work and research, informal meetings, cultural events, and the sensation of ‘being at home’. The choice of materials such as wood, ceramic, marble, velvet, rattan, cork, and cotton fabrics accentuates this material and temporal throwback.

    The graphic arts
    The use of graphic arts had an important role on the promotion and spread of the noucentista movement’s aesthetic. Along these lines, the project pays homage to the figure of Puig i Cadafalch with a collection of artistic graphic illustrations by Mr. Andreu, featuring the most emblematic buildings and architecture constructed in Barcelona city centre. These illustrations showcase the Mediterranean school of this style, together with its fundamental precepts of order, rationalism, precision, and scale.

    Design: SCOB
    Client: Merlin Properties
    Photography: José Hevia