Archivo Grupo Arca
From an accidental residual space, the project emerges. It appears as an underground fissure in the foundations of a corporate area in Mexico City, located under the foundations of a rational building and those of the adjacent building, of an organic nature. This concrete void of monumental dimensions expresses as a deep underground “cavern”, a fortunate anomaly of unique and unrepeatable character in one of the most representative financial and commercial districts of the city.
After Grupo Arca’s Design Center and Warehouse concept success in Guadalajara, arises the idea to turn this discovery into a multipurpose space that is nourished by the values and commitment of the brand. Not only to offer the best material selection, but also to provoke an impact on the community by integrating a cultural component, allowing to host exhibitions and unique or unrepeatable material releases, and to promote cultural linkage through design and architecture conferences.
Therefore, the cave as a cultural node proposes product and new brand activations, concerts, exhibitions, installations, performances, conferences and workshops, as well as a Mexican architecture archive that incorporates and exhibits scale models, plans and creative processes from the most representative studios in the country and the world.
Through a space on level -3 of the building’s parking lot, the Design Center’s access is altered to generate a discrete entrance, giving way to a tour of the brand’s materials catalogue and exhibition, and ends at a reception area that leads to an elevator-viewpoint. From a 5th level, the monumental space is revealed. After descending this free-standing column, the user enters the cave by means of a bridge over the water, which appears as a dividing and a connecting element of the two worlds, a reflective mirror that plays with the illusion of infinity and almost disappears amongst the vastness of the space.
Maintaining the character and essence of the space, the design proposal seeks a dramatic and unusual setting. Clean of excessive residual material, the intervention integrates, through a black brick covering, the essence of the materials that the brand promotes. Proposing a world that complements the existing, enhancing its beauty and presenting a canvas on which to display the program.
The brick as materiality based on the obsessive repetition of a piece that generates planes and volumes but reflects a natural quality, shapes the amphitheater (forum), like a great mass which forms concentric grandstands when sectioned. A sober, sculptural universe is created, with the brick as the protagonist that invades the place and adopts its own rational forms.
The strength of the space is therefore composed of a duality: the unaltered, cavernous and raw against the intervened, rational and tectonic. This duality is the guiding concept of space. A diaphanous and monumental space that expresses neutrality, giving the prominence of the scene to the pieces of stone and wood that are exhibited as a gallery. A sculptural place that, due to its attractive rawness, it is intervened in a clean and forceful way manifesting its cavernous nature. Lighting plays an important role in the expression of the cave, it is not anchored to it, but is integrated in stone monoliths that support spears with lights which can be adjusted and configured according to the space and exhibitions requirements.