- Design Team:Angel Solanellas, Camiel Van Noten, Marianne Meister
- Clients:Atelier Kōbō
- Collaborators:N. Meister & D. Twerenbold
Text description provided by the architects. Zurich based architecture studio Solanellas Van Noten Meister have transformed an old club in the centre of Zurich into a creative shared workspace, named Atelier Kōbō. Atelier Kōbō is a shared workspace for artists, designers, and fabricators located in the ground floor of an office building in the centre of Zurich. Kōbō is a Japanese word, which means workshop. Kōbō symbolises a place of free creativity and a place where ideas can be realised. The space revolves around a set of common facilities, including a wood workshop, an exhibition space, and a shop, that support co-working and collaboration. Atelier Kōbō is currently shared by an artist, two ceramicists, a photographer, and an architecture office. Atelier Kōbō is often open to the public via exhibitions, lectures, workshops, and classes.
When entering the atelier it becomes visible that the spaces have had many uses and an extraordinary history. The ground floor space of the office building was built in 1957 and was once used as a showroom for the company Hans U. Bosshard. More recently the space and the adjoining basements were changed into the legendary indie-rock club named Abart. Our goal was to transform the club into a creative workshop space, while at the same time preserve the traces of the various uses, said architect Marianne Meister.
The 1950’s showroom is still visible in the existing floor. When removing the floor of the club, an old ceramic floor appeared. The old finely clouded tiles lost their glaze in some patches giving the room a water surface-like patina. We cleaned and sanded the floor to bring it back to the surface. The ceiling of the club has been kept intact. The black lacquered ceiling, made with metal panels, has a unique and strong expression. To give the space a more domestic and warm atmosphere all the additions were constructed out of timber. The newly added timber elements have a rough texture with a white wash give the space its new identity.
The refurbishment was a hands-on experience, where planning, construction, and design were all happening simultaneously on site. We carefully removed certain elements to expose the different layers of the room’s history. By preserving unexpected details and hidden traces of occupancy, we brought the previous lives of the space into an embrace with the present.