Studio Toggle was commissioned by the young Kuwaiti chocolatier, Bean2Bar to design their debut boutique in Arjan Square, a trendy F&B concept in Salmiya, Kuwait.
Architects: Studio Toggle Architects
TEAM: Hend Almatrouk, Gijo Paul George, Ghanem Younes, Pedro Varela
FABRICATION: Smart Materials, Kuwait
PHOTOGRAPHY CREDITS: Gijo Paul George. Instagram: @gijo.photo
The 33m2 space with a narrow frontage posed a significant challenge for the architects who desired to create a bright and airy atmosphere with plenty of storage space and flexibility.
The architects devised a simple solution that featured a slender, cellular waffle vault along the longitudinal axis of the store that morphed into a sleek secondary enclosure. This eliminated the need for a conventional ceiling and created an illusion of a greater expanse. The dimensions of the cells of the vault was based on the modular packaging unit used by the chocolatier and this led to new synergies like re-imagining the vault with its cellular modularity as an analogue screen with the cells doubling up as pixels. Messages or patterns could be displayed on it as required by using a combination of empty cells or by changing the colors of the packaging unit. This opens up possibilities for the store to change its ambience in a very easy and intuitive way to suit various occasions.
The vault was parametrically generated and optimized for digital fabrication as a slot-in waffle system. This enhanced the ease of construction; cut down material wastage and resulted in a very precise self-supported steel structure. The symmetry of the vault is broken and emphasized at the same time by employing an algorithmically generated steel chandelier, which almost has a parasitic relationship with the vault. By juxtaposing these strongly opposing elements, the architects created a refined industrial look for the boutique while maximizing the efficiency and the lightless of the space. Vein-cut silver travertine was chosen as flooring and also to clad the built in refrigerated counters. This added a warm undertone and balanced the overall ambience.
Bean2Bar was a successful implementation of generative processes not just as a design tool but also to aid in the digital fabrication and optimization workflow, which was essential to the completion of this boutique.
HEND & GIJO FOUNDERS OF STUDIO TOGGLE
Studio Toggle was established in 2012 by Architects Hend Almatrouk and Gijo Paul George, both graduates of Universität für Angewandte Kunst, Vienna. The practice focuses on logical design and problem-solving techniques with a specific emphasis on Architecture and Urban Design. We believe in a balance between the opposites, that form follows function, the simplicity is complex, and that even chaos can be organized. Our expertise ranges from public-sector, commercial, residential and hospitality architecture to interior design. Based in Kuwait City, Studio Toggle has designed, supervised and handed over more than 8 projects including private villas, apartment buildings, pavilions and retail interiors, all in the short 5 years of being operational.
The work done by the Studio Toggle has been acclaimed in the region as evidenced by the various awards won by the practice including the Middle East Architect Residential Project of the Year 2016 for its project F.LOT, the prestigious Cityscape Award 2017 for its residential building ‘The Edges’ in Salmiya, Kuwait etc. Studio Toggle’s projects are regularly featured in prestigious architectural magazines like Dezeen, Archdaily, Dwell, Divisare etc. The practice continues to push the boundaries of design sensibilities in the region and beyond. To that effect, Studio Toggle opened its branch in the city of Porto, Portugal in 2015 and continues its explorations in the field of sustainability, digital design, and fabrication.