Stepping on 120 years of history is always risky. Age and tradition can cover everything under its weight and make change and improvement impossible. However, the common alternative of erasing all that memory and starting from scratch seemed disrespectful.
We chose a third option right down the middle. On one hand, we kept elements from the original construction, the nolla-tile mosaic floors, the frames on the ceilings. On the other hand, partition walls came down to free up what was otherwise a divided and chopped space, not aligned with what the client wanted. This process led us to strip down layer upon layer of memories until we found the original brick walls, the moldings on the ceiling, the construction scars, etc…
With this stage set up we proposed a few interventions of wood placed on the floor without breaking the flow of the mosaic and never rising all the way up. This way, all the quirks, turns and bulk of catalan-style ceilings would remain visible to cover the length of the new distribution.
We strived for a balance between two building approaches: The old way of cement and water hand-placed construction work, and the new way of dry construction based on oak frames and layers of painted wood.
The old-fashioned endures without becoming a weight. The new is laid without wiping off what once was.