Art + Books in Madrid is an interdisciplinary arts venue and headquarters for Ivorypress, founded by Dr Elena Ochoa Foster, which unites the traditionally separate worlds of art and books within a series of gallery spaces linked to a specialist bookshop. Housed within a former printing house and garage, the industrial-scaled building has been reinvented by architect Norman Foster with Foster + Partners, as the face of the distinguished publishing house and a unique forum for creative exchange.
Located on the lively Comandante Zorita in central Madrid, the building’s double frontage has been completely glazed, with direct access to the light-filled bookshop at ground level. Devised to create a sense of intimacy and exclusivity, the bookshop interior comprises a warm natural Sevilla stone floor, timber shelving and a slatted timber ceiling. A grand staircase adjacent to the bookshop provides a dramatic entrance to the main exhibition and event spaces below.
The large multifunctional space is designed for exhibitions, conferences and events, with adjacent catering and cloakroom facilities. Leading off the main space is a sequence of rooms, suitable for display, presentation or storage, with generous access facilitating the movement of large objects and sculptures. Conceived to be highly flexible, both display rooms and back of house areas can be used in conjunction with or independently from other areas of the building, with individual entrances. The main exhibition space has an industrial resonance – a hard-wearing resin floor is punctuated by the existing concrete columns, which are stripped back to their original finish. Three existing light wells and a new skylight allow natural light to permeate deep into the space.