Finnish-Spanish studio, Anna & Eugeni Bach, based in Barcelona have earned a feather in their cap with their new adaptive re-use project that has enticingly converted Dirk and the Chocolate Factory, a former chocolate factory, into a residence. The project started with the wondrous vision of the owner of the 19th-century chocolate factory who bought the industrial complex intending to make it his second home in the small town of La Bisbal in Catalonia.
The firm manifested the design with ease – well aware of the fondness shared for the indigenous site by the clients, the design firm carefully chose to retain the existing architecture and adopted sensitive minor measures to revive the industrial building and mold a habitable space out of it.
ECCENTRIC BEAMS AND FACADES
The exterior façade sports the local variety of stone over three different construction layers and varying heights. On the ground floor, the building incorporates metal beams carrying a series of brick Catalan vaults that run over the living, dining and kitchen spaces. The first floor also exhibits metal beams of the same kind that support steel beams in cross form whereas the ceiling of the topmost floor makes use of wood entirely.
The house accommodates an extravagant total of 4 kitchens in approbation of the interests of the owner’s spouse who’s a professional chef. Some rustic pieces of old machinery that primarily belonged to the chocolate factory is retained in its original position on the kitchen wall. A large and spacious dining room that can host all 24 members of the family is designed and integrated with the old industrial complex. The original design of the chocolate factory only held a single staircase and to aid with mobility the residential redesign fit in another staircase at the opposite end of the building.
DEEP BLUE WINDOWS AND POOLS
The windows on the first floor underwent an impeccable transformation that its functionality – they are transformed to elaborate doors that comfortably connected the inner yard and the swimming pool. The sizable swimming pool is bound by a porch that stands out from the entire massing. The porch space is the only space to be rebuilt completely owing to the structural weakness of its roof.
A TOUCH OF GREEN
An impressive design choice made was retouching structural details of window and door panels in a light and festive shade of green, that adds a pop of color to the facades of the structure. The ceilings beams of the newly designed porch also fashion this shade of green – complementing the raw stone finish of the façade. In the opinion of the architects, the green picked out for the complex is contradictory to the frequent traditional practice of using dark brown in Catalan buildings.
ATTENTIVE CHOICE OF MATERIALS
The restoration project aimed at celebrating its physical fabric prevailing over time and preserving the ambiance of the structure both at the interior and exterior levels. And the project meticulously achieved its goals with the careful choice of materials that went easy on the pocket too. The building unfolds a story through its layers of construction made visible to the spectator’s eye as opposed to modern structures where structural elements are deliberately hidden.