Only in Hong Kong. The starting point for every Lagranja project is its location. In an industrial area of this vital metropolis, the studio has created Gravity; a 29-storey office hub for tech start-ups.
The initial brief, given to Lagranja by their established client the developer Hip shing Hing (HSH), was to create the façade of the building, along with the cubicleoffices (or ‘units’), common areas and all interior treatments.
The façade remained in project stage, due to local construction laws. Designed as a stacked tower of modules baring futuristic LED signage (from graphics by Mario Eskenazi), it went on to steer the form, IDs and industrial functionality of the units, which have been left bare so that each tenant can adapt them to their particular needs.
In contrast, Lagranja has instilled the parking area, lobby and lifts and washrooms of Gravity with an upbeatplayfulness. With polished concrete floors, metal finishes and illustrated surfaces, the overall feeling is of being inside a giant space ship on a journey to Planet Fun.
Lagranja invited Barcelona-based artist Javier Royo to design the graphics. Bicycles, whales, rockets and even tooth brushesmake up a kooky worldthat sits between the handmade and digital, the high and low tech.
The tonality of these surfaces changes from floor-to-floor, from turquoise to ice-green; adding a spatial illusion to the confined, narrow layouts. Shiny steel surfaces, mirror-like textured ceilings (which conceal electrical and plumbing installations) add further depth and the sensation of being suspended in time and space.
Gerard Sanmarti and Gabriele Schiavon,cofounders of Lagranja, say that this project was driven by the city’s social, cultural and architectural character. “We are always aiming to contextualise our projects,” says Gerard. “In the case of Gravity, we think that itcould have only been designed for Hong Kong; a daring, incredibly dense city, but one that can often lack a human touch.”