Doublespace is a graphic design firm with a characteristic style based on collage. Their office is sited in a long, extremely narrow second floor space with large-scale windows on the north and east sides. The scheme developed as a series of four walls with a central penetrating circulation axis. The public areas terminate in a large conference/studio room at the east and a “shrine” (the owner’s collection of folk art) at the west.
The layers of space and the regiment of different walls pierced by a central axis are three-dimensional references to the firm’s work. As one walks down the axis, the views of the overlapping walls (different colors and patterns, flat and curved, shallow and deep) create the sense of an exploded collage.
Duality (order : chaos; compression : expansion; flat space : deep space) and unity are symbolized throughout the office, expressing the partners’ relationship and the nature of collaboration. The ordered and chaotic colored glass windows express the personality of the partner whose office they penetrate. Even the conference table is a circle made of two separate half-circular tables on casters of the same material but with a different finish on each half.
The large front rooms of the office contrast the tightly scaled studio in the rear half of the space. There, the work area is designed as a collage of materials – steel, aluminum, wood, linoleum, and galvanized and sheet metal – creating a dense set of work stations alternating with hanging storage units and flat files. There is also a wall of metal shelving shaped to form a kitchen, stairs to an elevated library and seating, in addition to storage.
The highly chromatic and ordered construction is scaled to accentuate the grandeur of the space and to make reference to the outside world, the scale of the city and the views of the project from the street. The office is a highly functional use of a small space (built for a very small budget) but with a strong expression of the client/artists for whom it was designed. It is an attempt to create an extraordinary set of forms with ordinary means.