Architects: FGMF Arquitetos – Fernando Forte, Lourenço Gimenes and Rodrigo Marcondes Ferraz
Location: Sao Paulo, Brazil
Project team: Renata Davi, Marília Caetano, Ana Beatriz Lima, Bruno Araújo, Marina Almeida
Construction: FGMF Architects + Lar Construtora
Structure engineer: Oppea
Lightning design: FGMF + Lumini
Project area: 600 sqm
Project year: 2010
Photographs: Fran Parente
Called for a bid of an architecture project for two floors of BPGM Law Office, we came across with a clear division: One floor – larger, operational –, and another – slightly smaller, for meeting rooms and administrative area.
Once defined the clear division between the functional and social floors, the need to represent the view of BPGM Office to the clients and lawyers fell back on the first one.
In the view of the situation, it seemed an interesting option to us organize the office in a radial way: every meeting room would be, thus, in the perimeter of the set, with views of the outside and natural illumination, and, in the center of the set – the visitor’s focal point – there would be a large library which organizes the flows to the different rooms. The natural illumination of the library and passageways is guaranteed by the continuous glass flags in every divider of the peripheral rooms.
However, the library had earned a great symbolic importance by becoming the organizational element of the plant and flows of the set. It also seemed appropriated to us that it should be the first visible element to the visitor, as soon as one leaves the elevator. Therefore, there was a need that the library was not supposed to be only an element to accumulate and organize books, but also an element to represent the ideology of the office. Its responsibility would become two-fold: a well-organized library, but also an interesting and different element – sober to the point of not compromising the need of seriousness and reliability a law office must show, but innovative and contemporary such as the essence of BPGM Office. There was, then, a sort of conflict between tradition and innovation.
In order to respond to these yearnings we launched ourselves, an idea arose: the library would become a sort of small labyrinth, with unusual angles, and open and closed passages. Besides, some places would have windows where the ones who were in the passageways would be able to look inside, and other places would be completely closed.
We also designed the library so that it would never touch the floor. The whole library became a floating, suspended element that would never touch the flooring, hovering in almost a mysterious way at 40 centimeters of the flagstone. The lawyer’s job is, in essence, cerebral. It shapes up in agreements and discussions, but it is a job of services, based on people and knowledge. The library in the center of the set is nothing else than the representation of collective knowledge available to the client of BPGM Office. This abstract knowledge is shaped up in an ethereal, floating way, by not touching the floor or the walls through the element that is the library – a small floating labyrinth which contains the office knowledge and, although contemporary, expresses all its tradition.