(un)curtain office

Title: (un)curtain office
Location: Ljubljana, Slovenia
Studio: dekleva gregoric architects
Authors: Aljoša Dekleva, Tina Gregorič, Lea Kovič, Vid Zabel, Naia Sinde
Category: Collective Places
Video: Alessandro Ponte
Photos: Janez Marolt

The business community today operates dynamically, impulsively and diversely. Office environments must respond to the constant changes in working organizations, their production processes and the needs for personal comfort and technology development.
Therefore the (un)curtain office is conceived as a working space with no predetermined fixed spatial partitioning. An adaptable soft system of wool curtains was designed to allow constant reorganisation of the diverse working environments. Countless scenarios of operation modes and spatial organisations are possible: in a few seconds a meeting room with a large table for discussion turns into a dining room with a mini library and a kitchen. In the next moment the separated offices, arranged around the central corridor, smoothly merge into an open-plan office space, suitable also for a social event or even a pop-up store.
The wooden furniture was designed as a system providing tables, drawers and shelves covering a range of diverse needs. The top of the drawers is filled with earth and vegetation, a mini-garden, providing privacy and calmness of each working space.
The existing 1938 building was built in the city centre of Ljubljana with respect of its context by literally following the river flow and with an ambition of integrating modern spatial and structural principles. Therefore the slightly curved space was organized as free open space with a set of concrete pillar structure in the middle. The refurbishment aims to allow its initial spatial quality with minimum intervention: carbon reinforcement of the concrete pillars and cement floor and ceiling.

How can an office space for primarily for three diverse companies provide a collective agenda? It could be by retractable partitioning and sharing of kitchen. Unconfined workspace offers focus and privacy to respective teams, but aims to opened potential for daily sharing of a chef for collective lunch or evening afterlife: a social event with tasting menu and a pop-up fashion store, both took place last year. Meeting table and kitchen was used for food presentation and office tables for wine tasting. For the pop-up store the secretary tables were reorganised and transformed into the main presentation place of the winter collection 2016.
Community and Privacy, Toward a New Architecture of Humanism, a legendary book by Serge Chermayeff and Christopher W. Alexander defines the coexistance and needs for both mostly in dwelling domain, but the same needs should be provided with the working or educational environments.
(un)curtain office was a small task with a big challenge. How to redefine an office space into a collective domain within an amazing open space overlloking the main city square and its river? Redefinition of partitioning, reintroduction of home elements: kitchen, dinning table, uncoverring the fireplace were all crucial to allow for home like feelling in a collective space allowing also for work.