Sublime Simplicity: SOLO Arquitetos Use Plywood to Transform Their Own Studio
There’s an old saying that states “the cobbler’s children have no shoes,” which means that craftspeople and artisans are usually so busy meeting other people’s needs, they neglect their own.
SOLO Arquitetos, an architecture firm based in Curitiba, Brazil, was founded in 2015 by six architects who had previously collaborated on independent projects for architectural competitions. Most recently, they designed and built a new studio for themselves, reflecting their consummate creativity in a space that perfectly combines comfort, practicality, and tranquility.
The Perfect Palette
Equipped with a set of impressive floor-to-ceiling windows, this fourth-story studio is constantly being washed in natural light, simultaneously soaking in views of the charming tree-lined street below. Simple plywood shelves serve as room dividers, with several openings being left in them to promote the open exchange of ideas and basic communication. Window frames and other décor accents are painted yellow and green to enhance the space’s natural brightness.
From the onset of the project, the architects knew that they wanted to respect the unit’s original design while working in a few of their own touches to reflect a gentle, natural sense of coziness. A spokesperson for the group explains: “In a sense, our office is also our home. It is the result of a process, a story, and personal reflection of six young architects.”
Open Space, Open Minds
On a larger scale, the studio consists of a foyer and reception desk, an area for personal workstations, a large meeting room, two restrooms, and a small kitchen. Instead of creating traditional blueprints and specs for the renovation, the SOLO team decided to go with the flow, creating and designing as they went along so as to facilitate the fusion of new ideas and existing components.
The group concurs: “The construction of our space results from several conditioning factors and pleasant coincidences. We did not make a detailed and delimited project for the office, [nor did we] propose any kind of skin between the main spaces in order to propose a wide and free work atmosphere. Even the meeting room is segregated by a dividing and glazed shelf, promoting visual communication between spaces.”
The design’s appealing character sprung from the studio’s original dark parquet flooring, which itself is made from Brazilian Walnut. It ended up being the perfect complement for the new space’s natural brightness, creating a sense of innate balance all throughout.
Pillars add old world charm to the space while a white brick wall provides the perfect canvas for a sprinkling of framed abstract art. Pendant green lights made of metal hang down from the ceiling in front of this wall to illuminate the work below, reminiscent of the fixtures found in old barns. The green of these lights helps connect the space to both the deep green outdoor foliage outside and the healthy houseplants strategically placed throughout the studio.
Of course, the thing that really offsets all the studio’s design components is the plywood. Unlike more conventional lumber, the light color and variegated grains of the light yet sturdy plywood tie the space together in the drafting tables, storage room under the desks, and shelving units.