In Lugano an old chocolate factory transformed into a workspace
In the setting of an important historical industrial building and in the central area of Lugano, the Ticino branch of an engineering firm, the TBF partner, has transferred its new office.
The interior design project, entrusted to the MD Creative Lab studio, made it possible to pursue the objective of obtaining a practical, healthy and usable environment for its collaborators. The property located in Lugano Besso and built towards the end of the 19th century as a chocolate factory by the Tobler company, represents an architectural unicum in the city.
It is one of the few urban industrial buildings still present in our region with over 3,000 m2 of commercial and artisan surfaces. The proximity to the station and motorway access makes it an object of particular interest. Given its architectural qualities, the property is protected from a historical and cultural point of view.
A building recovery and enhancement project, followed by arch. Lorenzo Cotti, allows a complete fruition according to current standards. The works were started in 2019 and designed to bring the envelope and all the technical equipment up to standard, in its final phase they allowed to customize the space dedicated to the client’s offices. A study that deals with multidisciplinary engineering such as environmental protection, civil engineering, and also waste and water treatment.
The building lends itself perfectly to inserting an open space office: to create a sense of union and human interaction between colleagues. Spread over an area of over 330 square meters, the space has 4 meter high ceilings, cast iron columns and characteristic windows with the Alps in the background and has a strong industrial charm.
Starting from the entrance, a red zigzag on the floors in simple cement mortar marks the central area of the shelves. Topped with circular lamps in sound-absorbing fabric, their height is suitable for a quick standing meeting or to consult the drawings. At the bottom are the meeting rooms, where blue reigns. Delimited by light internal dividers, the rooms bear the names of the sites of Ticino’s landscape heritage. Inside, to optimize the acoustics of the environment, sound-absorbing panels made of variable density material have been used, which allows selective absorption at different frequencies.
The operating stations are recovered from the previous offices. The space was rather scattered and more exciting projects together with the growth of activities were only some of the reasons for planning the move. The change in the working concept was possible thanks also to the type of existing furniture, which makes the most of the potential of the modular system. Adaptable to changing circumstances, the reconfigured furniture has created new operating islands. The green foliage, designed to adorn the workstations, helps to oxygenate the space.
The real centerpiece is the reception, dominated by the reception desk, made as a single piece of synthetic stone that “smiles”, exhibiting its perforated red lining. Next to it, there is an informal break area: with oversized acoustic lamps, upholstered armchairs and a loft-style sofa in leather and fabric, with exposed hinges. Elements such as the retro red fridge give a playful and informal aspect to this area, while the steel kitchen and the black lines of the track lamps balance everything with seriousness and rigor.
Over time, office traditions were also born: The coffee bar witnesses this. From travel and trusted roasting, the studio’s collaborators bring the most varied blends of coffee, giving life to real tastings.