CHYBIK + KRISTOF, a young Czech Republic–based firm led by two founding partners who have both been included on Forbes‘ “30 under 30” list, has recently completed a renovation of an existing car showroom to a furniture gallery for MY DVA, a company focusing on the development, production, and sale of office, school, and metal furniture.
The firm was tasked with making the conversion in the quickest and most affordable manner possible. “Do it cheap, ideally for free,ˮ the architects recounted. Ondrej Chybik, a founding partner of CHYBIK + KRISTOF, said: “When we introduced the chair skin for the first time, the client was afraid of extra costs. But in comparison with traditional facade systems, the price of the chair facade was much lower.” This was due in large part to the sourcing of chairs from the client directly, and the simplicity of the steel subframe employed.
Chybik said the project team produced iterative options looking at tiling densities and color variation; the design process landed on simplest option. This option was to load the facade with over 900 black plastic Vicenza seats—as dense as possible—packing individual seats into a running bond pattern. The assembly acts as a three-dimensional rain screen cladding, doubly-functioning as a solar screen and literal advertisement for the furniture showroom. Beyond this assembly, the original building envelope was able to remain nearly untouched, saving the cost of major building shell modifications. The seats are finished in a black granulated paint and exterior based clear coat for UV protection. A new entry portal projects beyond the depth of the chair facade and is composed of thick gauge sheet metal finished in a similar black coloration.
Beyond the facade, the interior organizes the furniture company’s three major product types (school, office, and design) into corresponding circular zones demarcated by varied floor finishes and floor to ceiling curtains. Carefully composed surface-mounted electrical conduits flow obliquely across the ceiling, finished in a black paint that references the facade shell.
Chybik said the project team arrived at this concept after thinking about the facade as a functional banner: “The functionality of the facade is not just in terms of aesthetic and solar protection. The facade represents what the building contains inside—the showroom of a furniture producing company.” He said the project was about making purposefully simple design decisions. “There was nothing extremely complicated because we wanted to create a very expressive but in the same hand very simple solution. That is probably the strongest feature of the design.”