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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.
The recently opened Casa Cavia in the Palermo Chico neighborhood of Buenos Aires is an enchanting fusion of sights, sounds, tastes and eras.
Now operating as a brand new assembly of a restaurant, publishing house, bookstore, flower shop and perfumery, Casa Cavia is housed in what was known as the Bollini Roca residence, designed in the gilded age of the 1920s as a personal gift to the owner’s wife by the Spanish-born architect and artist Alejandro Christophersen of Norwegian parentage.
The founder and creator of the Casa Cavia concept, Guadalupe Garcia Mosqueda with book publisher Ana Mosqueda asked London and San Francisco-based KallosTurin Architects to restore and transform the residence into a modern cultural center, yet retain the essence of the historical building.
The architects retained the room proportions and numerous details but they also included modern elements throughout. The material palette includes white and green marble, brass, antique mirror, leather and terrazzo flooring – all inspired by the city’s cafes of the 1920’s and 1930’s.
Our eyes are drawn to the golden details, the arches and rounded shapes, the muted green seating and, of course, the flying books in the ceiling.
Our favorite section is the elegantly proportioned inner garden-courtyard with its small pool. It forces us to grieve the lack of such elements in today’s urban planning. Where, indeed, are the lovely urban inner courtyards of today that don’t feel like shopping mall food courts?
Ana Mosqueda’s Ampersand Publishing is the inspiration and anchor of Casa Cavia. It produces books but is also a center to exchange ideas, recalling the publishers of Europe and Americas at the beginning of the 20th century. There is a hall for classes, conferences and book presentations along with a library focused on the history of books and written culture.
Guadalupe Garcia Mosqueda has drawn in the best new Argentine talent to create and host the various parts of the concept that aims to showcase the best of Buenos Aires while promoting architecture, gastronomy, design, literature and art.
For the perfumery she brought in Julian Bedel, “the nose of Argentina” to offer the fragrances of Fueguia 1833 perfumes. Casa Cavia’s signature scent will be Biblioteca De Babel, named after a short story by Jorge Luis Borges about an enormous library of interlocking rooms housing a vast collection of books.
Costume designer and art director Silvana Grosso creates amazing floral impressions Casa Cavia’s flower shop Flores Pasión while Próspero Velazco presides over the pâtisserie and revives the neighbourhood tradition of high tea.
Pablo Massey, a protégé of Argentina’s top culinary star, Francis Mallmann, helms Casa Cavia’s restaurant, La Cocina.
We believe – and hope - that these kinds of charming yet also extremely functional and useful “unrelated fusions” of various activities and offerings are one trend that is growing around the world. The fact that Casa Cavia, in addition to providing a fertile mixture, also restores and repurposes an important building makes this project that much more fabulous. - Tuija Seipell.