Kvadrat Soft Cells design workshop

In a bold, yet simple move, British architects Caruso St. John have refurbished a historic warehouse in the industrial harbour of Copenhagen. Using only spruce and a clever composition of sliding doors and floor-to-ceiling shelving to house the new Kvadrat Soft Cells’ design studio that features 6-meter-high ceilings and an airy, bright loft aesthetic. 

The resulting space accommodates the Soft Cells team as they carry out a combination of acoustics research, design development, prototyping and communications 

The refurbishment expresses an effortless juxtaposition between old and new. Starting out by stripping layers accumulated over time such as carpet, partitions, and suspended ceilings, Caruso St. John’s team was left with a shell of concrete columns and beams, and plaster infills. 

All wires and pipes were removed and the distressed concrete walls were painted a bright white. The floor was also polished, revealing an industrial style terrazzo from the existing concrete aggregate.

On this base, Caruso St. John created the atelier in a single material, big sheets of oiled spruce lumber-board. The sheets divide the space into three parts: entrance foyer, main atelier and workspace, interconnected with wide sliding panels, so that they can be used separately day to day, and also opened for bigger and more social events. Each space has large storage units, often standing the full six-meter height, also made of spruce.

A long work surface in the entrance foyer accommodates the kitchen, and a custom fitted table in the workspace feature lumber-board work tops made in walnut referencing the original window panelling in the warehouse. To create a pleasant acoustic environment, Soft Cells panels are used to line walls and to provide a luminous ceiling for the mezzanine meeting rooms. 

In collaboration with Kvadrat Soft Cells, Caruso St. John chose a miss-matched collection of loose furniture, European classics from the 1960s classroom along with more recent pieces.

The project is meant to provide a flexible background for Kvadrat Soft Cells to pursue its ambitious and ever evolving plans. I think, so far, it is working.” explains Caruso St. John.

Soft Cells are available in Australia now. Please contact +61 2 9212 4277 or visit www.softcells.com.