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The Office

Striking concrete elements revive a 1980s office building.

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Architecture firm Promontorio has re-vamped an old office building by exploring the aesthetic nature of concrete. A series of concrete elements, including a spiral staircase, have transformed the building from a relic of the 1980s into a display of concrete’s visual capabilities. The two-storey building in Lisbon, Portugal was designed for GS1, an NPO that maintains global standards for business communication tools, including barcodes.

Although the building was found to be outdated, during the re-vamp, several older elements were left in place; the contrast between older elements, like linoleum, and bold strokes of concrete is distinctive, lending a ‘retro’ feel to an otherwise modern office environment.

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Inside the building, concrete rules the design with a spiral staircase connecting ground and upper floors. The concrete staircase channels both the aesthetic and functional qualities of the material – qualities that also distinguish the building’s exterior. Alternating concrete panels and glazing have replaced the original façade and resemble a large barcode; meanwhile, windows offer ample light and a view of the surrounding garden.

Perhaps the boldest design feature, however, is the bas-relief by artist Alexandre Farto (better known as Vhils). Several of the panels are adorned with Vhils’s bas-relief; the art piece stems from a team-up between Vhils and the architects and explores the sculptural potential for large-scale precast concrete mouldings. The result is a building that morphs, when viewed from an angle, into an artwork in itself.

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Promontorio’s design shows how concrete can revive, elevate and transform spaces with its aesthetic and functional properties. Dezeen has short-listed the project for its 2018 Business Building Award. Read more about GS1 Portugal: https://bit.ly/2yfifJR.

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Photography by Fernando Guerra

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