In 1973 Spanish architect Ricardo Bofill stumbled upon a cement factory in Catalonia, Spain, an enormous compound of silos and buildings that covered nearly two and a half miles of underground tunnels. Bofill decided to buy The World War I era structure and its grounds, making modifications to the original structure in order to create an all-inclusive live/work space that would unite the Surrealist, Abstract, and Brutalist elements found in its industrial form.
Original construction to transform the sprawling series of buildings took a little over a year and a half. After the dust cleared from the jack hammers and dynamite, Catalan craftsmen worked to add gardens and purpose back into the abandoned compound. Today the factory holds a cathedral, model workshop, archive rooms, residence, and studio, a workspace for Bofill’s firm spread over four floors in the factory’s silos and connected by a spiral staircase.
Despite over forty years in the making, the entire project is constantly evolving and is one that Bofill never sees as being fully completed. With continuous tweaks, Bofill has created a perfectly programmed existence, a ritualized lifestyle that goes against his previously nomadic early life.
“I have the impression of living in a precinct, in a closed universe which protects me from the outside and everyday life,” said Bofill on his website. “The Cement Factory is a place of work par excellence. Life goes on here in a continuous sequence, with very little difference between work and leisure.”
You can see more images of the garden-covered structures on Bofill’s website, and see a short Nowness documentary on his studio and residence below. (via Designboom)
Built in Buenos Aires as a performing arts theater in 1919, El Ateneo Grand Splendid's content has undergone several revisions, with its current purpose being a 21,000 square foot bookstore. Despite the switching of functions, the architecture has remained true to the early 20th century vision of Peró and Torres Armengol, the building still boasting ornate frescoed ceilings and detailed trimmings that line the ceiling, handrails, and walls.
The stage and balcony seating is also intact, the spaces now used as reading areas where guests can peruse the store’s many books in front of thick velvet curtains. These attributes were almost destroyed in 2000 when the building was slated for demolition, however before the historic theater could be taken away it was leased to Grupo Ilhsa who built out the bookstore. Now over 1,000,000 people walk through Al Ateneo Grand Splendid’s doors annually keeping the tiered theater very much alive. If you liked this, also check out the Waanders in de Broeren bookstore built inside a cathedral. (via Twisted Sifter)
‘A Century of Revolt’ Taxi Fabric interior designed by Kunel Guar.
When thinking of decor inside an American taxicab, your imagination is probably limited to an LED payment screen blaring annoying ads and maybe a pine tree air freshener dangling from a rearview mirror. In India, a new firm is thinking a bit more creatively by helping cab drivers completely transform the interior of their taxis with original art by local designers. Mumbai-based Taxi Fabric creates cloth interiors printed with vibrant designs that cover nearly every inch of a vehicle’s interior from the ceiling to the door panels and even the seats themselves.
Taxi Fabric is an interesting hybrid of interior design, advertising, and promotion of local culture, with a number of benefits both to the cab driver and the artists. Drivers report that after applying the designs to their vehicles, passengers often tip more and remain in the cabs longer. Artists in turn have their work seen by a large new audience and are easily identified by a prominent label on the back of every seat.
From the Taxi Fabric website:
Taxis in India, particularly in Mumbai, are not only the most convenient form of transport but have also become an iconic piece of culture. Although much attention is given to each taxi by its driver – to make it stand out from his competitors – very little thought is given to the fabric used on the seats. The designs that cover the taxi seats are often functional and forgettable and with the outstanding design talent Mumbai has to offer, this shouldn’t be the case.
Design, as a job or even simply something studied at school, is unfortunately not widely recognised in India. Older generations don’t understand it- design to them, just performs a function. Many people don’t know that design can create a real impact. With so few spaces for young people to show off their skills, it’s hard to change that perception.
There are dozens of interior designs currently installed in taxis and rickshaws across Mumbai. You can explore more of them on their Tumblr. (via The Creator’s Project)
Thousands of pigments fill glass vials below the slatted wood ceilings of the new concept Pigment, an art supply laboratory and store that just opened in Tokyo by company Warehouse TERRADA. The store design was created by architect Kengo Kuma, utilizing bamboo and large open spaces to create a sense of unity with the outdoors and spark the imagination of those who enter.
In recent years fewer artists have turned to more traditional methods of art making, diminishing the number of successors to these older forms. Pigment aims to provide hard-to-find tools for the preservation of older paintings while also inspiring the latest generation of artists to incorporate these older materials into newer works. In addition to selling brushes, pigments, special glues, and papers (some used in Japanese painting since the Meiji period), the store will also provide workshops by both art professors and manufacturers of the supplies housed in-store.
If you can’t make it to Japan to experience the space in person, you can browse Pigment’s large supply of pigments and rare materials on their online store here. (via Designboom)
Working from a tiny table in the nook of her living room, California-based artist Angela Schwer crafts explosive dahlias, gardenias, poppies, fungi, and sea creatures all from a custom blend of polymer clays. Meant primarily as decorative objects, the dense handmade pieces are surprisingly detailed, assembled from hundreds of perfectly formed clay pieces and formed into large tiles that can be hung from a wall or set on a table. You can see more in her online shop, Dilly Pad.
Welp, now we’ve seen everything. Just last week, a new cafe opened in Romania called Enigma that claims to be “the world’s first kinetic steampunk bar.” We have no way to verify if that’s true, but it certainly looks impressive from these photos, if you’re into that sort of thing. A slightly terrifying humanoid robot with a plasma lamp cranium bicycles by the door, and a variety of kinetic artworks churn and rotate on both the ceiling and walls. Watch the video to take a peek inside, and if you’re in town you can visit Enigma Cafe at Enigma at Iuliu Maniu, Nr 12, Cluj-Napoca, Romania. Photos by Zoly Zelenyak from The 6th-Sense Interiors. (via Steampunk Tendencies)