OfficeShophouse
A connected network
Various locations

OfficeShophouse is a design practice directed by Natalia Vera Vigaray, Patxi Martin and Josep Garriga Tarres. After several shared educational experiences in different cultural contexts, this collaborative platform emerged from a common interest in addressing architecture and its education as a crucial role in the transformation of society all while working from a distributed digital space.

 

Reuniting after contrasting experiences

We’ve developed a common interest in architecture and architecture education through our 13 years of intermittent meetings and shared educational experiences in different international and cultural contexts. After having taught at completely opposite latitudes (Sweden and Thailand) for a few years, we decided to reunite again to lead a design and built workshop in 2018 in Hungary. We spent 10 intense days of working with wood, discussing, partying, sleeping and eating together, which set the basis of what Office-Shophouse is today. 

 

A quirky resourcefulness

Back in February 2013, it happened that we were all in Barcelona. It was carnival time and at a last minute’s notice we were invited to a costume party. We didn’t have any costumes with us so we ended up building some cardboard complements out of trash boxes that turned out to be the most successful costumes from the party. Scarcity and bricolage, together with an understanding and value of the resources that we have around us is a constant threat of exploration in our daily practice.

 

Managing parallel activities

It seems we don’t have a daily or weekly routine. This does not mean our practice is guided by improvisation, but rather by an amalgam of multiple projects of different scales and at different locations with timeframes and rhythms that overlap with each other. We try to be involved in all the projects and discuss them all together, and we try to do as much as we can ourselves. This means that standard office hours are challenged and professional and private lives end up mixed up most of the time.

 

Organic meetings for a distributed workspace

We do not have a single studio space but instead a distributed one. We are based in two different cities that are 800 kilometres apart, and virtual meetings are embedded in our daily practice. This situation allows us to challenge the division between living and working space, and at the same time it let us use and test other spaces as potential working and meeting rooms. We have set meetings with clients in botanical gardens, on church benches, at the beach, or at several bars.

 

Establishing clear boundaries without expectations

We never had a preconceived idea on which kind of practice we wanted to become or which field of architecture we wanted to work in. We knew the type of office we didn’t want to be, so we moved away consciously from doing public building competitions and apartment refurbishments. Instead, we focused on exploring a more transversal role of architecture, establishing collaborations with agents and experts in other disciplines and involving ourselves in constant learning of new tools and technologies.

 

Achieving an ideal typology

We would certainly love to establish a relational practice based on a continuous exchange and collaboration with other disciplines and with the immediate context through material explorations, craft, and making. We would like to continue working without preconceived ideas, with the naive and fresh input of being the very first project of a kind. We aim at setting up a truly Office-Shop-House, the traditional typology found in Bangkok in which making-living-producing is in constant exchange. 

officeshophouse team Natalia Vera

Officeshophouse Studio space Natalia Vera

officeshophouse cabin fever Natalia Vera

officeshophouse workshop Natalia Vera

officeshophouse product design Natalia VeraPhotography Courtesy of Office Shophouse






a project powered by Itinerant Office

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