When small is big enough
Aesthetic space and demand for workspace are conflicting needs that have been addressed in a balanced way in `Offices for Small Spaces,' by Alejandro Bahamon
BALANCING TWO apparently conflicting needs, viz. `highly aesthetic space' and `incessant demand for workspace,' here comes Alejandro Bahamon's book, "Offices for Small Spaces," published by Harper Design International (www.loftpublications.com) . In the showcased projects, none is larger than 865 square feet, all doing more with less.
"Conference rooms are the most important spaces in a company," states the author. "These spaces are fundamental to expressing the corporate image and work philosophy." On chairs, he writes: "Chairs can define the company's character while also providing flexible seating and easily removable options within the space." Shelves are indispensable and "they can function as internal dividers, line the walls, or act as movable modules."
The first of the projects is a 775 sq ft office, "right next to the garden, with direct access to the outdoor pool", accommodating "small social or professional receptions, after-hours reading, and weekend leisure activities." A `graphic design office' in 650 sq. ft has a "mechanism that closes to hide the office or opens to reveal it". How? "Two sheets of birch plywood sit in a metal guide and fold, thanks to a central hinge. Each panel, in turn, has two small swinging doors that provide access to office material when the system is closed."
Another project measuring 600 sq. ft is of a sports agency in Spain, with office divided into two principal areas: "One for two managers and a conference room, and the second for the workers, whose numbers may change over time." A Tokyo project for an ad agency had a constraint: "Walls and ceiling were not touched, since they will have to be turned over in their original condition when the space is vacated." The conference table is low, and there are cushions in "traditional Japanese culture".
Fred is a business on the go, a mobile project with adjustable space jumping from 100 sq ft to 710, using "walls that slide in response to electronic controls". Compactness helps transport and relocation. `Fast Forward' shows an office that looks more like the bed of a swimming pool; it is a hybrid system, offering opportunity "to sit down, recline, or work at a computer." Raika Bank's 860 sq. ft office in Austria shifts from the traditional image of bank as "generally surrounded by security devices" to "open space that invites a more intimate relationship between employees and clients."
A book to read before you build a place to work.
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ON A similar theme is H.Kliczkowski's "Small Homes" (www.onlybook.com) . "Finding a home can be an arduous task," he writes. Even if you find one, space could be the second problem. So, there are 15 homes ranging from apartment in Sydney to studio in Florida, residence in Paris to loft in London.
A Bogota assignment is to remodel an attic flat; here "the roof of one of the rooms was disassembled so as to create an interior patio." Large wardrobes are placed "in a uniform way along the perimeter of the bedroom" in a Barcelona home. "The bathroom is a continuation of the bedroom when its sliding door is left open."
How can you show austerity in finishing touches? Here is a clue from a project in Spain: "Walls, ceilings and floors, except in bathrooms where they are glass, are white." Good read, unless you're too austere about spending for books.
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