Kvadrat Softcells Atelier
Copenhagen, Denmark 2016–2017
Client: Kvadrat SoftCells
Kvadrat Soft Cells atelier, a bright and lofty space, is situated on the second floor of an existing warehouse building in Copenhagen’s Nordhavn district. The studio is two hundred and fifty square metres in area, with four windows on its long side that face towards the docks, and a tall ceiling that is approximately six metres high. The space provides a flexible background for Soft Cells to pursue its plans.
The design strips out various elements accumulated in the space over its previous lives – carpet, partitions, wires, pipes and suspended ceilings – leaving a shell, a concrete frame of columns and beams, plaster infills where the unit meets its neighbours, and a concrete floor and ceiling. The floor has been polished to remove glue and dirt from its surface and to reveal the aggregate of the existing concrete, a sort of industrial strength-terrazzo. The concrete walls have been repaired and a thin coat of white paint has been applied, leaving the marks of its casting visible on the wall surface.
Further interventions are made in a single material – large sheets of oiled spruce lumber-board – which divide the space into three parts: the entrance foyer, the main atelier and the workspace. These spaces are interconnected with wide sliding panels that can be used separately day-to-day but can also be opened for bigger social events. Each space has large storage units, also made in spruce, often standing the full six-metre height of the space. A long work surface in the entrance foyer where the kitchen is located, and a special table in the workspace, have work tops in a special version of the lumber-board made in walnut.
Soft Cells acoustic panels are used to line certain infill walls and to provide a luminous ceiling for mezzanine meeting rooms. A mismatched collection of loose furniture, chosen with the client, includes European classics from the 1960s classroom and some more recent pieces
Kvadrat Soft Cells
Caruso St John Architects
Adam Caruso, Peter St John