Technological factory in a historical setting
An industrial mood in a late 19th-century building: we are talking about the new Fox headquarters in Rome, which has moved from its old premises in via Salaria (where Sky is also located) to new offices in downtown Piazza San Silvestro (in the same location that will also accommodate Apple).
Fox takes up the third floor of the building: 3500 m² for 200 people entirely designed by DEGW, the Lombardini22 Group’s brand devoted to the integrated design of workplaces: everything from the original consultancy phase to the stacking plan, including new concepts for using space (also for management) and with the introduction of ancillary areas custom-designed for miscellaneous work purposes.
“It was a particularly stimulating project - so Alessandro Adamo told us, the director of DEGW and a partner of Lombardini22 - because we created a technological entertainment factory in an important historical setting. The project focused on embodying the brand’s innovative, high-tech, fluid and globally connected nature through textural ruggedness, a human touch and a homely feeling in the spaces and across the ‘rough’ surfaces of an historical Roman building”.
The notion of ‘urbe’ (the very definition of a city) guided the design concept. It dictated the spatial strategy and the various features embodying the four key issues associated with interior workplaces: Core, Open Space, Utilities and Ancillary Spaces. They, in turn, alluded to the concepts of Monument, Neighbourhood, Gallery and Lighthouse. The Gallery is the welcome area holding the main utilities of the new offices and includes reception,showcasing and break facilities.
Located in a barycentric position in relation to the building plan, it hinges around the reception: a place whose techno-industrial nature is embodied in the materials used for its surfaces (LED wall, rough concrete-looking floor, exposed ceiling), softened down by the organic forms of a large desk and rear wall made of MDF. Either side of the reception there is a waiting area equipped with a meeting room and spacious coffee bar (complete with vending machine, kitchenette, library), both with vinyl floors and exposed ceilings. The boardroom is also part of the gallery, a satellite setting in a corner location, a striking oval-shaped room with a designer table interacting with the natural wooden floor and a ceiling covered with countless acoustic panels to integrate the lighting, air-conditioning and audio-video technology.
The Lighthouse is a combination of largely informal ancillary spaces running right through the entire workplace. Designed to foster teamwork, the Lighthouse is composed of sub-units flexibly serving the purposes of both focused individual work and flexible interaction: a social platform with glazed/transparent and formal/informal spaces; the plaza, which includes both open and enclosed ancillary facilities with touchdown and co-working areas; and chat sofas featuring a combination of small meeting rooms and one-to-one areas set in small recesses.
Just like in a city, the Gallery and Lighthouse are neighbourhood services and these Neighbourhoods are open-space areas geared to efficiency and comfort. These open spaces are not homogeneous and encompass a section designed for creative interaction. Finally, Monument refers to the stairwells and lift hubs, which act as directional landmarks, easily recognisable from the graphics on the walls and on digital monitors serving communication purposes. Great care was taken over the acoustics. Vertical acoustic panels with neutral-coloured covers are carefully set around the space, while the horizontal surfaces of the floor are almost entirely covered in carpet (except for certain ancillary areas that have vinyl floors): together they create one large acoustic device that absorbs ambient noise in the open spaces and guarantees high levels of well-being.
This is a vital aspect of a project which, right from the very beginning, set out to keep most of the original exposed walls, with most of the ceilings also being exposed (except for in the ancillary and circulation areas),so as not to lose the space’s original mood and feel.