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Lagranja Design converts old barracks into physical HQ of XAPO in Gibraltar
United Kingdom Architecture News - Aug 06, 2021 - 10:42 2024 views
Lagranja Design has converted an old army barracks in the heart of Gibraltar’s old center into a physical headquarters for XAPO, a company provides online banking services for cryptocurrencies.
Lagranja Design was commissioned by the company’s director, Wences Casares, to create their flagship headquarters, the office space is the first physical HQ of XAPO, and the first transformation of a historical building for Lagranja.
XAPO is situated inside an old army barracks in the heart of Gibraltar’s old center, United Kingdom, in the shadow of its famous rock.
The rear of the structure is adjoined to the remnants of the original city walls and defense towers, while the front facade faces Grand Casemates Square - a lively social hub with many out outdoor bars and restaurants.
The series of barracks (or ‘casemates’) were built by the British army in 1817, and are among the most preserved of the military buildings that characterize this once fortified town.
The architects found the barracks in a semi-ruined state, unappreciated for their historical significance and crying out for a new use. As part of the project, one of the bays adjoining Xapo will be reborn as a public area for art and cultural events.
The main aim of the project was to give XAPO – a company that operates wholly in the digital domain – a physical headquarters and presence.
The office space is designed within two arched bays of the barracks complex, covering a total of 800 square meters - constructed in local limestone, with ceilings supported by original wooden beams.
The original beams and the stone walls were cleaned and restored to their natural state, providing the space with the feel of an ancient bank vault.
Using the intersection of archeology and modern design as a starting point, Lagranja studio has restored reinvented the bays with a contemporary office layout and furniture and décor made with digital processes; a metaphor in itself for the rapid, tech-driven transformation of banking and currency.
The interior design scheme
Harmony, functionality, respect for the structure’s antiquity, and an element of surprise guided the design project. Clients enter XAPO from the main square to the bay, which is now a reception area.
Shallow pools flank either side, adding a counterbalance to the structure’s lack of height, and lending luminosity to a dark space. At night, laser beams crisscross the pools and reception area, which is an added bonus for the public, who can view the installation from the square outside.
To the right, and entered via the original stone arches, is the XAPO ‘bank’; a number of automatic tellers where clients can manage their cyber currency transactions. Behind it is the boardroom with a kitchenette and lounge area.
The far end of the bay opens out onto a walled patio that originally served as a gun powder storage facility at the base of a defense tower. With a garden wall and BBQ area, the patio was conceived as much for leisure as for work, or for occasions when the two activities combine. The office of XAPO HQ is clustered around the patio, partitioned by glass screens for transparency and fluidity.
Artful furniture and details made to order
The has created bespoke furniture which was 3D printed in Barcelona using bio corn-based plastic. Modular in form and gently textured in appearance, the idea was to create a sense of community and a casual narrative where all spaces are harmonious.
Standout pieces include the reception desk and room divider in the waiting room of the banking area, which were created with an interwoven composition of earth-colored, semi-circular shapes.
The supports of the robust boardroom table resemble giant amphorae, a form echoed in podiums placed in the shallow pools.
The textile upholstery for the softly rounded Lagranja-designed furniture was chosen for its natural composition and warm colors, instilling an inviting contemporary-living feel within a new breed of corporate space.
Lagranja was founded in 2002 as a multidisciplinary design firm whose talents are primarily focused on creating interiors and products. Lagranja has offices Barcelona, Istanbul and Singapore.
Lagranja Design also completed interiors of The Populist Brewery in Istanbul.
Project name: XAPO
Architects: Lagranja Design
Location: Gibraltar, United Kingdom
Client: Xapo Bank
Collaborations: 3D printing, Noumena, Photography, Lagranja Design, Video, Âkerblom Studio
All images courtesy of Lagranja Design
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