In the heart of Turin, on the top floor of a historical building, the architect Emanuele Franco, a LAGO REDESIGNER and tenant of Appartamento LAGO Torino-Venaria, has designed an office-cum-window on Latin America.
It is the new LAGO AT WORK Ruta 40, a workspace characterised by a strong home-like feeling designed with the idea of telling a story made up of travels, encounters and emotions. Ruta 40 is in fact a travel agency that organises customised, modular holidays, just like our design. We asked the architect behind the project to tell us about it.
Paola and Roberto wanted a ‘comfortable’, practical, very well organised, efficient, refined, easy to clean and unique work space. A place that would metaphorically represent the holidays they design, which are themselves unique experiences.
And so we aimed to tell a story made up of hospitality and relaxation, but also constant movement, discovery and emotion.
The requirements of their work life, on the other hand, were connected to the need to welcome their clients in a large space, an ‘informal but not overly so’ lounge where people would be comfortable, perhaps relaxing on a sofa and enjoying a glass of Malbec de Mendoza.
The design emerged from an idea of openness, of a ‘vision of the whole’. The concept, tied to informal interaction with clients on the one hand and the need to work in a welcoming, light-filled and orderly space on the other, developed like this: their various needs broke down into three layers with different functions.
The first was hospitality, and so a ‘living room’ for making oneself comfortable, almost like a private sky lounge at the airport, for chatting in a cordial, relaxing setting, waiting to take off for an unforgettable holiday.
The second layer was tied to Paola and Roberto’s work, or the need to transmit the experience of travel through a painstaking combination of description, research and attention to detail.
The third level was a private place, a small spa for relaxing, a bathroom, but also a space that connects the first two layers, one that could be used by the people who work there as well as the their clients. Inside, we find a stylised landscape on the wall and—attentively arranged within the room—the five elements, water, wood, earth, fire and metal, symbols that represent the overall vision of Ruta 40, Tour Operator, which has always been linked to the places it recommends and to sustainable travel.
The theme of the design is closely tied to this aspect. The new office is a space for work and life, created in a light-filled mansard that was previously used as a residential flat. Each space has a precise function, like a house hosts different aspects of life, the office interprets these aspects, reworking them in a ‘formal but not overly so’ language. The living room became a comfortable lounge—but without a television :-)—the kitchen, which is hidden in the lounge, can accommodate two work stations. The bathroom is a small spa, with a bench for relaxing and enjoying the panorama that unfolds on the walls. The two bedrooms became warm, welcoming, light-filled offices. You could even take off your shoes and work barefoot. In the main office, there is even a Colombian hammock, for daydreaming and relaxing during breaks.
From my perspective the tie is very strong. Part chance, part passion for the same country. Paola and Roberto, both from Turin, both dreamers in love with Argentina, didn’t know that the architect they had contacted for the project is the grandson of a grandfather from Piedmont, conceived in the pampas of Santa Fe. :-)
Apart from this, there is definitely a Savoy language in the design, formal and elegant, made up of decorum and tradition, that pairs well with the use of woven, raw materials (typical of South America) for the floors and the fabrics, then the hammock, the photographs from their trips and the landscapes of the Cerro Chaltén mountain range.
I would love to do a project on Easter Island, looking out from a big window onto the Pacific Ocean. And then cooking dinner while the sun sets and the sky turns red.