a monthly round-up of the world's best interiors and design stories
Roca London Gallery, London, UK
Thursday 10 Jan 2013
Roca is the leading global bathroom brand which, through its renowned Innovation Lab, is dedicated to developing cutting edge, technologically advanced products that continue to set the benchmark for the industry as well as to underline its position as market leader. Zaha Hadid Architects were chosen by Roca in 2009 to create a versatile reference space capturing the essence of the brand and its values.
The Roca London Gallery beautifully expresses Roca's commitment to innovative design, sustainability and wellbeing through an architecture that offers visitors a unique experience, which is both visually and interactively engaging. Taking its inspirational cue from the idea of a space created by water in its various different states, Zaha Hadid's bespoke design defines a flowing and porous space for the 1100m2 Roca London Gallery.
The Roca London Gallery is a precisely ordered, intimate and enjoyable sensory design environment, which stimulates the visitor through its active and engaged relationship with the Company's exceptional bathroom products. Instead of a conventional showroom, the Gallery is an immersive reference space of ‘edutainment' for the wider community
Connected, semi-open zones for product displays and a meeting room space seamlessly incorporating a range of state-of-the-art interactive technologies and audio visual resources, The Roca London Gallery has been designed as a versatile multi-purpose environment. It hosts a wide range of social and cultural events of interest to Roca, including exhibitions produced in-house and externally, meetings, presentations, debates and receptions.
The design brings about a connective language between the architecture and the bathroom products, with the movement of water ‘carving out' the interior and moving through the Gallery as individual drops. A flowing, all-white space made of faceted glass reinforced gypsum panels serves as a central axis of the Gallery. Around this a number of smaller connected semi-enclosed spaces can be viewed through openings in walls. As a result, the visitor never feels enclosed in one space, but can always see beyond it into the space through overlapping and cutaway forms that enable a pleasing permeability to the Gallery.
The design theme of water movement extends to the dynamic façade of the Roca London Gallery, which appears initially to the visitor approaching the architecture like a set of ripples in movement across the exterior of the ground level space. The grey façade has large apertures for the main entrance and windows and an appearance of tactility, creating a sense of intrigue on the street as the visitor approaches. Water defines the landscape of the interior space, creating a sense of mobile liquidity reinforced by a series of elongated, illuminated water drops. These cascade around the ceiling as a set of lighting fixtures, down the walls as shelves for books, media and small products, and onto the floor as tables and seating. Their fluid lines of convergence both lend each area of the space an individual identity and connect them by the way they define a feeling of movement.