Brutalist Silence

Ana Santl
Interior Design & Styling
Annabell Kutucu
Original in Berlin
No Ordinary Agency

Architecture of the work space is often the unsung hero of the daily life hustle. Its effect on productivity and mood of a company can be understated and consequently the brand’s culture is celebrated as the key feature behind it all. Such perspective would be short sighted, as the influence of space and the personality it inflicts upon the worker goes far beyond seating arrangements and resting areas.

In the past decade coworking spaces gradually caught the attention of the world as a desirable alternative to the classic open office and cubicles. Turning the usual dynamics and expectations on its head, and making sure management took notice of the effects of how and where they allocate their team directly affected their productivity and attitude. And so, slowly the new business model caught wave and became the benchmark of desirability.

Located in the newest of Berlin’s community space Marina Marina, a re-positioning of 1950s architecture at the waterfront, it is a creative hub for entrepreneurs. The project named Brutalist Silence sports the interior design and styling by Annabell Kutucu, from No Ordinary Agency. It is a work of undeniable charm and a masterclass on how to apply contemporary minimalism with a hefty dose of post-war brutalism.

Taking cue from the aforementioned architectural style, the project foregoes any attention to ornamentation and puts forward the importance of the quality of materials. In this case, a beautiful set of concrete and burnt cement showering all directions. From the flooring to the ceilings.

Inspired by wabi-sabi—the aesthetic of solitude—the main argument goes against the grain of allocating large groups and creating visual clusters; the designer chose to feature a series of isolated spaces. The space between each working area gives each room space to breathe, a result which is synonymous with minimalism. Interestingly enough, it acts as a cautious arrangement as well as a prepared space for gradual expansion as the creative hub gain new residents in the future.

Furnishing the “grey cube” is a series of selected vintage pieces, sourced by Original in Berlin. The curation acts as a interesting counter-point using pieces from the same period brutalism rose to prominence—the 1950s. Since the style at hand is known for its austereness, the chairs, tables, and lamps act as the antidote—bringing warmth and texture.

A few design highlights must be praised: Dan Weger's Lotus Chair is sure to steal the limelight, with its tripod structure and alien form factor—as it demands attention and may be the ultimate visual intervention in an office. A rare Medea Office Chair by Vittorio Nobili also shines in this ambient. Last but not least, acting as the sole material rivalling the concrete all round is dark black wood. Its texture is a welcome addition as a contrasting feature to the homogeneous space all round.

As Brutalism transformed itself and was re-signified throughout the decades, this project at hand shows how soft and inviting it can become. It is an office space balancing the need to foster sociability but offering space for solitude as well. A true case study for contemporary coworking spaces aiming to be more than a collection of colourful textures.

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