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Not everyone is lucky to work in a cool and inspiring office, and even those who are, can become stuck in an uncreative rut, or disturbed by loud coworkers, boring music, smells of someone’s lunch, outside noise. And those who work at home have all of the distractions — and attractions — of home to lure mind and body away from productive work. No wonder coffee shops around the world look more like offices than many offices. People sitting at their computers, talking on their phones, conducting business with coffee and muffins nearby. Yet anyone who’s done the coffee-shop-as-office thing knows that it is not without problems either. Too many people, loud conversation, screaming kids, familiar faces, bad wifi, no plugs, uncomfortable chairs, line-ups for coffee, managers wanting you to leave.
Luckily, creative people have started to think up solutions to meet the very clear need of cool working spaces for mobile workers. Urban Station in Buenos Aires, Argentina, has taken the best of both office and coffee shop and wrapped it all up in a funky urban space.
Urban Station is appropriately located at Malabia and El Salvador Streets in Buenos Aires’s hip Palermo Soho where fashion, design and art mix with the densest concentration of bars and restaurants in the city. You sit at one of the wide tables, pay by the hour and benefit from the calm atmosphere and comforts of an office with plugs and locks for your computer and super-fast wifi. The coffee shop part comes in the form of unlimited coffee, tea, mineral water, fruit, croissants and cookies, all part of the fee.
In addition, the large and airy Urban Station offers art and business magazines and books to read, comfortable armchairs for lounging and casual meetings, fully equipped meeting rooms, printers, fax and scanners, plus lockers for your gear. If you get bored, or need to dash out for a moment, they even offer a few bikes at the door for you to borrow. It feels like office, coffee shop AND home. More of this, please! - Bill Tikos
Address: El Salvador 4588 Palermo Soho.
This residence was completed in January this year, yet it exudes a classic, modernist elegance that will ensure it will look just as timeless 50 years from now. Located in Buenos Aires, the “L House” by architect Mathias Klotz and associate architect Edgar Minond is the main residence of a small family.
Although this could be categorized as yet another grouping of concrete boxes representing the tiresome trend that just does not seem to want to die, this residence avoids all of the pitfalls most of such houses fall into.
In contrast to the stacked-concrete-boxes syndrome, not one section of this residence sticks out over anything, nor jut in an odd angle. No vanity ideas, no statement characteristics, no ego trip.
The house looks unpretentious and serene. All of its parts belong together and, loveliest of all, the structure appears to have sat on the site for some time. Simply put, it belongs. It all works.
European modernist sensitivities are apparent both inside and out. The use of wood, glass, steel, concrete and travertine limestone creates a coherent composition of materials and allows light and shadow to complete the decorative touches.
Without being too severe or controlled, this residence is composed of order. Some angles offer a Japanese or Scandinavian vista, as the indoor and outdoor spaces interact harmoniously.
This kind of simplicity is difficult to achieve and therefore it is so rare.
The architect, Mathias Klotz, was born in Viña del Mar, Chile, in 1965. He is one of Chile’s best known architects whose work includes private residences, hospitality and public buildings. In 2001, he received the Borromini Prize for Altamira School in Santiago de Chile. - Tuija Seipell
The excellent photography of this residence is by Roland Halbe of Stuttgart, Germany given to TCH exclusively.