While companies such as Google, Apple and Facebook fork out the millions when it comes to designing their new office spaces, many companies just don’t have that sort of money and are instead restricted by a rather tight budget. However budget doesn’t necessarily mean bad, and many companies have found ways to create exactly the space they need without having to break the bank. One recent example of this is the new Sinèrgics co-working spaces in Barcelona; while admittedly Barcelona is somewhat removed from our base here in the UK, the workspaces do display exactly the kind of low-budget design to which I am referring.

Img: Roberto Ruiz
Located in Baró de Viver, an area of the city with a relatively high rate of unemployment, the project saw Colombo and Serboli Architecture (CaSA) responsible for the transformation of five unused commercial properties with the aim of creating low-cost, space-saving workspaces for local entrepreneurs. No exact figure has been stated as to the budget for the project, but the team have commented on how the tight budget led to the development of some rather versatile designs.

“We had to translate the laudable target of the initiative into space, transforming five never-used, neglected, bricked and empty premises on the ground floor of social-housing blocks into attractive, vibrant workspaces where small companies would want to set up their offices,” said the team.

“The project had to make the most of the spaces, give visibility of the co-working to the neighbourhood, communicate openness, and keep content safe in an area with security problems.”

Some features of the existing space were left untouched so as to reduce the cost, including the concrete columns and exposed ceilings; mesh shutters were however added for security purposes. Trapezoid and rectangular tables provide a surface on which to work, and can be rearranged and adapted to fit a variety of different configurations depending upon the needs of the tenant. These feature gridded metal backdrops so people can attach papers, plants and other decorations to liven up their working environment. The tables also feature modular LED lighting systems.

Chairs and smaller tables were also provided by furniture brand Kettal.

The team also joined together two of the adjacent spaces, which provided enough space for a functional communal kitchen. One aspect in which the spaces were still lacking however was some sort of lounge or relaxation area, and space simply did not allow for the provision of a traditional one. The team’s solution was to suspend one above the kitchen in the form of an enlarged hammock. They built a simple steel frame and wrapped netting over it to create an elevated hammock that is accessed via a staircase made of a single folded sheet of perforated metal.

To give each of the workspaces their own distinct feel and identity, colour is used to full effect around the base of the walls and carried through the furniture and large, circular acoustic panels which adorn the roof. The spaces provide the ideal home for local entrepreneurs, currently being occupied by industries such as textile design and bicycle repair.

Sam Bonson

Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. He is currently working as a content writer, journalist & editor as he continues to expand his horizons.
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