Look! A Stable is Converted into an Office Space, and It Looks Super Cool
Having a dedicated space in which to honor the sanctity of work is a luxury. Many do their daily toil in cramped office cubicles located in tall office towers, frazzled by the muffled urban drawl that surrounds them. To work in a space of one’s own, surrounded by nature, and designed specifically for one’s needs is a far away dream, a setting for romantics. Not so for this stable converted into an office space in West Flanders, Belgium. Here, this vision is a reality designed by Italian Architect Giuseppe Farris, with functionality as its dictum.
In an eight-hectare farm, this formerly unassuming stable, part of a farm complex with several buildings, was repurposed as a 100-sq. m. office space. Originally programmed with multiple rooms located on two levels, Farris’ client requested for the conversion of the unused stable into a home office.
Studio Farris’ response to the brief resulted in a concrete volume, free of the usual notions one may attribute to an office space. The building’s second floor was completely demolished, giving way to the articulation of the space’s generous height. “By emptying the volume inside, it was possible to feel the whole space. It was a little bit like being inside a chapel. The challenge was for us to keep this feeling of the space while at the same time respond to all functional needs,” the architect says.
The addition of windows ushered in more natural light that rightfully illuminates the design’s boldest move: the addition of a sculptural, “furniture-like” volume made of recycled oak beams. This functions as the office’s organizational system, as it hosts various paraphernalia and books as shelving. It also functions as the building’s main traffic access, as the steps lead to the loft space in the second floor.
“We wanted to experience the total form of the building so we demolished the rooms and the first floor. By emptying the volume, we created a beautiful space, made out of concrete, with a serene atmosphere. We did not want to lose the perception of the whole volume by creating a new floor. We did not want to create enclosed spaces that could block views. So we decided to design a stepped object that could divide the space without blocking views nor altering the perception of the whole volume,” Farris explains.
Experiencing the space in the mezzanine level gives one a serene and buoyant feeling, for it is here that the views from the additional windows and skylights can be appreciated. Further, being in this space gives a realization of the interiors that were created to be majestic in its minimalism. Instead of responding to the design type in the usual manner, where walls are erected to allocate space, and using building materials decoratively, the architects employed a pared down material palette of the essentials: wood and concrete, made functional by a bold gestural move of using an ingenious system of stacked recycled oak beams that have been woven to carve out space for a library, a reading area and a meeting room. The result is a dramatic space that responds to the design brief using bold gestures, and gloriously doing away with the fuss of the decorative.
Ultimately, it is a reverence for the building’s function that yielded its design’s success. Summing it up, Architect Farris proclaims, “The home-office space is not designed for a specific kind of job but is meant to be used as a space to work comfortably and to put [the user] in a different dimension while working. The client loves working there!”
Photographs by Konne van Damme, courtesy of Image Media Agency