• LOCATION Barcelona
  • > CLIENT Private
  • YEAR 2018
  • STATUS Built
  • CATEGORY Architecture
  • SCALE City
  • TEAM OUA Architects associated, S.L.P.; OUA Gestión del territorio y urbanismo S.L.; Jordi Artigas and Masdeu architect

“The approach of ‘doing nothing’ or doing the minimum with the existing architecture has an absolutely expressive result”

Less is more, and this is demonstrated by this refurbishment of premises located in L’Eixample district by housing a German brand eyeglasses shop. Neutrality and minimalism highlight a modern product framed in an architecture stripped to its essence. One of the architects responsible for the project Òscar Company reveals some of the details.

What is the starting point of the project?
Mykita is a brand of eyeglasses made with the latest technology in 3D printing and folded sheet steel or titanium in a single piece and has shops all over the world. With the intention of adapting to the idiosyncrasies of each city in which they have shops, its style book is limited to three simple elements: the white colour, the use of neon lights and a modular and reticular piece of furniture for the display of its products. The neutrality of these elements marks the Mykita style and, at the same time, allows each store to frame them in the identity of the place where it is located. The objective: to create a Mykita store with an identity of Barcelona.

How did you decide to express the identity of Barcelona?
The fact that we were dealing with a listed building with elements of heritage interest within the special L’Eixample district led us to strip it bare to highlight this distinguishing quality. The work was reduced to emptying the premises to highlight the product and iconic elements of the architecture of 19th century Barcelona, such as the brickwork, the high ceilings with steel beams and the Catalan vaults.

The brickwork and the classic Catalan vaults get on very well together with more modern elements such as the entrance, the neon lights and the concrete stairs.
A commercial premise has to attract pedestrians. The entrance seeks total transparency, and the neon lights are an eye-catcher inside of the store, along with the characteristic Mykita display furnishing at the vanishing point. The stairs have been designed almost as a sculptural element that connects the ground floor with a mezzanine through a continuous floor covering the entire space like a carpet.

The space has endeavoured to establish a parallel dialogue with the brand, emphasising the difference between the surrounding elements (seen elements, stripped elements, all of them highlighting their authenticity and making reference to the process) and the newly incorporated elements (elements mixed in terms of colours and materials and designed ad hoc) that speak of its precise and innovative vision.

Apart from the entrance frame, the neon lights or the stairs, these elements also include the red glass partitions, the noble oak wood furniture, or the chairs with a yellow tubular structure that connect with the colour of some of the display stands with additional eyeglasses on the Mykita furniture.

What lessons have you learnt from this project?
Less is more. Sometimes we look for complicated solutions when the answers can be found in the project. In this case, the approach of ‘doing nothing’ or doing the minimum with the existing architecture has an absolutely expressive effect. The minimal intervention meant taking maximum care of all the small details that complete the work: furniture, woodwork, lighting, stairs, railings and paving.