Fruit of a previous restricted competition, in which our proposal was awarded, the scope of the project consisted initially in the “decoration and signage” of the parking spaces of the new BBVA Headquarters, designed by Herzog & de Meuron: three vast basement floors, almost 300 meters long by 130 meters wide, with a capacity for more than 2600 vehicles, which intended to be provided with an attractive, modern, functional and customized appearance, in accordance with the uniqueness of the whole building, under the motto “Parking Experience”. The project needed also to solve signage as part of the design and consider durability and low-maintenance as main issues.
Under these premises, we propose to use light as a fundamental construction material, since thanks to its own non-material nature, guarantees the parking to look immutable throughout time. Additionally, due to the long visual range of lighting elements, it is possible to reduce the design of material elements, as part of an economy-of-means strategy.
In this way, a lighting concept is developed by using suspended linear lights that reproduce the traffic flows, indicating directions, widths and transitions between circulation lanes. Just like movement trails, these lines guide drivers through a large space, which otherwise it would look monotonous and without any reference, and at the same time solve the lighting needs functionally, avoiding dark areas produced by the usual tube-light grid.
This strategy is complemented by flooding the space in corporate deep blue (floor and pillars up to suspended lighting height), generating an abstract and uniform background, in which the light emerges as a structural and compositional element that provides the parking with an innovative and refined image, distant from the usually envisioned in the collective imagination.
Signage, the other functional issue to be solved by the Project, is tackled from the necessary orientation that users need when entering such out of scale space. Again, this problem is figured out through light, but also with color.
On one side, we propose a long visual range “XXL signage”, in accordance with the size of the parking, made up by 2-meter-high illuminated letters and chevrons that respectively inform the user about the location of his parking lane and the general circulation scheme. On the other side vertical circulation cores, besides showing big letters, reproduce with colored light (visible from far away) the general color code that is used above ground level, in order to identify the different buildings of the Headquarters. When it comes to visitors’ core, these letters become illuminated and wrapped by translucent white glass, for a better perception by the temporary user.
Two more elements complete the signage strategy: a horizontal one, made up by flow lines for vehicles (which visually support the lighting system) and pedestrian ways formed by repeating pictograms heading for pedestrian exits; and a small scale vertical one which, thanks to LED edge-lit signs, serves his function without visually disrupting the rest of the project.