One of the sunniest cities in Europe, Lisbon is a vibrant cultural hub and also home to a rapidly developing tech scene. OLX Group run an online global marketplace with forty offices all over the world, and picked this city as one of the perfect hubs for growing their team. For the redesign of their 4500m2 Lisbon work space, Pedra Silva Arquitectos created a space for the OLX Group staff with the intention of using as much natural light as possible, providing clusters of different spaces for the various types of work and meetings, and to use local styles and materials for the interiors. Three simple colors adapted from the logo were replicated as patterns and focal inspirations, creating harmony in branding while remaining contemporary.
Many of the elements in the project were made using traditional local methods, such as the azulejos tiles and soundproofing areas with Portuguese fabric. The tiles created a distinct connection to the city’s culture and vibrancy, and matched in colors that are uplifting.
In addition to the hand printed tiles, there are the acoustic absorbent tiles by Burel Mountain Originals whose fabric is woven completely from pure wool. Along with tiles and wool, there are wood frames to give a sense of comfort and domesticity in the design. Glass frames and partitions were custom made for the project, designing phone booth and closed meeting rooms for staff.
What is your favorite element of the space and why?
Pedra Silva Arquitectos: The way the different materials are combined worked really well. We have the ceramic tile, the burel wool and the natural oak wood which all together give the users of the space a great sense of comfort. We really like the way the meeting boxes near the facade create clusters of working areas. This was a truly bespoke project which is something we are proud to include in our ethos.
In the main work area, seen above, staff are able to work with a lot of natural light. Lockers and cupboards keep storage stylish, and there are many different ‘clusters’ of work zones to allow for various style of work projects, keeping noise to a minimum and also allowing for breakout spaces.
Another thing we love about this project is the curved strip lighting that snakes its way around the open floor plan. Away with fluorescent lights, these panels are right at the center of every path.
Looking back, what advice would you give yourself before starting the project?
A good [piece of] advice would be to close each stage with the maximum elements approved by the client. This is not easy to do and depends a lot of the clients we are dealing with. This project was a challenge on that regard but our experience with corporate clients was very useful to keep the project on track and with the client satisfied. At the end of the day, it was a real success!
As well as the formal working spaces, it was important to have informal lounge areas. Three break out zones were fitted with sofas and coffee tables to create a softer, relaxation space. Curved lighting and textile design in different hues make it feel youthful. “A very informal work environment is a must,” explain Pedra Silva Arquitectos, and provisioning for the “employee’s mental happiness and physical comfort are mandatory guidelines.”
Even with a global corporation, it’s possible to have something local to the city in a workspace. By using artesan-made tiles, local wool and bespoke joinery pieces, the elements of the city are infused into the workers’ habitat. Picking three colors from the logo turned out to make it easy for interior design, giving a series of niche spaces for group work, individual activities and socializing!