Creating a PassiveHaus Office

The interior design by Denys & von Arend of the new office is inspired by the concept of ‘the third skin.’

The interior design by Denys & von Arend

A succession of layers with varying degrees of transparency and heights has allowed the studio to create an efficient and relaxing atmosphere in the offices designed under the PassiveHaus standard in Barcelona. The interior design of ‘healthy offices’ is inspired by the concept of ‘the third skin’.

The interior design by Denys & von Arend

Factory and offices in a passivehaus warehouse
Coatresa, a family company founded in 1983, located in Santa Perpètua de Mogoda, provides non-stick and anti-corrosion coatings, specialising in the food bakery sector in terms of moulds and coatings.

The generational change has been the definitive impulse to buy a new industrial building with the aim of uniting factory and headquarters in the same space, creating a corporate environment that encompasses the different departments and promotes the connection between the manufacturing process and the office administration.
Patricia von Arend, Founder
The sum of the different elements: skins, patterns, dividers, light, and variety of textures, makes this office a space that encourages productivity, and a place where employees interact socially and professionally within a healthy environment.

Patricia von Arend, Founder

In addition, the management team was looking for a PassiveHaus office, a system based on optimising resources through passive techniques that make the building efficient: quality thermal insulation of the envelope, installation of high performance windows and doors, absence of thermal bridges, mechanical ventilation with heat recovery, and air tightness. All this to achieve a totally healthy environment.

The interior design by Denys & von Arend

The ‘third skin’ concept
The studio team started from the meaning of the anti-adhesion and anti-corrosion coatings manufactured by Coatresa to form the concept of the ‘third skin.’ This formed the basis for the interior design - the idea of coating: “to cover one thing completely with another, usually forming a layer, a skin.”

According to Hundertwasser’s 5-skin theory, there are 5 skins: the first is the epidermis, the second is clothing, the third is the home, the fourth is the social environment and the fifth is the global environment.

“We created an analogy with regard to the third skin that corresponds to the home and that for us will be our office, so we started to think about how this third skin could be developed in our new offices,” explains Denys & von Arend.

A skin that articulates the floor plan, through which a space is generated that allows isolation from the rest, but without obstructing the flow of communication in the work environment.

The interior design by Denys & von Arend

The mould: texture and repetition
The project started from a completely undressed and industrial space, on which a refined industrial style has been generated. “Based on one of their products, the baker’s moulds, we were inspired by the idea of the mould, where the presence of repetition will create a pattern, a repetition of elements that will bring a certain rhythm to the interior design,” say the Denys & von Arend team.

The interior design by Denys & von Arend

An office with movement has been created by means of a metallic mesh that acts as a visual filter between zones, separating them, but without actually dividing them. Its semi-transparency generates a sense of seeing without being seen.

In this luminous space, certain raw materials are left uncovered, but for a patina of colour that gives them a new focus within the space.

Wall coverings and dividers of different textures are combined, mixing padded finishes with other harder ones and bringing richness and variety to the envelopes.

The interior design by Denys & von Arend

The design of different volumes within the space, working the different heights, generates boxes within the building and dividers that generate new routes within the office. By adding more or less skins, more private spaces and other more permeable spaces are created to respond to the different needs within the office: meeting rooms, informal meeting space, phone booths, etc. The floor of the new offices becomes a single space where a wide variety of activities take place. Being located in the centre, the office articulates the entire floor and due to its circular shape, creates a space for meeting and even a break-out space.