About the project
M25 is a tech hub that houses a coworking for startups, a coding school, and event spaces. It thus hosts an entire ecosystem in which professionals from the sector find space to develop, share knowledge and ideas, and create a like-minded community. With this clear concept in mind, the creators of M25 decided to contact 2BOLD to help them make it a reality. One of their premises was particularly relevant: they wanted the keystone of the project to be the community. The most important thing was for everyone to feel welcome, ‘as if they were in their own living room’.
Another key factor was to create a friendly, calm environment in which ideas could flow. In which the stimuli were always focused on reinforcing the user’s wellbeing and calm. With this approach on the table, a centrally located industrial building from the 60’s, located in the city of Madrid and whose previous life was that of an automobile repair garage, was chosen as the space for the implementation.
Composed of two bodies (a local with access from the street and a large rear warehouse) the proposed intervention was based on respect for the pre-existence, the enhancement of spatiality and improving the welfare of users. In this way, the spirit of the building was maintained, giving value to its architecture, and achieving a unique atmosphere that would dialogue with the new use and its inhabitants.
In terms of materiality, and in pursuit of sustainability, masonry elements and raw materials were chosen as finishes, accompanied by a neutral color palette that would enhance them. This was intended to connect users with the space through tactile and visual stimuli, while creating a calm and memorable environment.
The main choices included brushed steel for wall cladding, concrete blocks and ventilation ducts to create furniture, and ribbed metal as a false ceiling. As furniture finishes, different types of wood and textiles were included in order to generate greater comfort for users. All these, along with the sprayed cork layer that was used to cover the brick walls, did contribute not only to the general look & feel, but also to the improvement of acoustics (specially in common areas).
Another key aspect of well-being was the careful design of lighting. For this purpose, natural lighting was maximized and complemented with low consuming artificial lighting. The design was based on a single type of LED luminaire, based on aluminum profiles with fabric diffusers. Its simple and adaptive system allowed the production of pieces to solve very different cases, allowing a unitary design to be integrated into the architecture, helping to enhance it. The interior of the rooms was equipped with a power regulation system, allowing users to adapt the light levels according to their specific needs. And last but not least, the inclusion of greenery was one of the key wellbeing strategies. Well-known for improving air quality and reducing stress levels, vegetation was conceived as a fundamental part of the design.
Given the nature of the proposal (homey enclosed rooms along an almost urban common area), the idea of bringing nature into it was one of the earliest decisions in the project. Having this in mind, a set of metallic plant vases were custom made in order to fill and enliven the space with a carefully chosen selection of species. The brand design was included in the commission from the very beginning, helping translate the essence of the hub into all the design strategies proposed. For this purpose, María Carmona (brand designer) joined the architecture team and worked side by side with them, always involving the clients in the process. This way the main idea that would provide the whole intervention with a common thread was set, reinforcing the relevance of its ecosystem and giving the space a unique character.
Coral reefs were chosen as the lait motiv of the proposal. Corals are founding species whose existence is based on symbiosis. When a reef is established (ideally at 25ºC and a depth of 25m), it generates a particularly rich ecosystem in its surroundings that is home to many other species. In order to bring this essence closer to the users, a system of signage and graphic applications was proposed which, through their materiality and messages, involve the users in the discourse. The chosen supports refer to the sea waves and the opal aspect of the corals, whilst the color palette contributes to closing this aquatic sensation in a natural environment.