The project brief for the design for a concept lifestyle and home decoration outlet emphasized the need for a space which was interactive, functional and which put forward the idea of constant activity. The building had to include office space, a work shop area, retail area and recreational area for the staff. The client was firm in their wishes to create a space which was more than just a showroom, but which offered their clients a unique experience upon each and every visit to the outlet. They wanted a space which was evoked an intimate feeling which is achieved in their smaller Sliema outlet, however the space had to be flexible at the same time. In fact, the new Camilleri Paris Mode outlet in Rabat has been self labeled by its owners as a ‘work_shop’. The way in which it is designed is indicative of the interactive nature of the place. Above all, the owners wanted a space which would exploit all possibilities to display their products. In this respect, the various design aspects of the building which serve as areas for showcasing of goods suit the client’s wishes perfectly.
The idea of visual connectivity and areas for product showcasing was the main priority for the design team. This kind of combination was achieved through various design devices: the use of light as a connecting element between the various areas of the space; the idea of playing with void and solid spaces; the intense presence of natural light flooding in through a skylight running along the length of the roof; a series of wide staircases, designed to create an imposing sensation; recessed windows; sunken areas and intermediate staircase landings which created unique display areas for products. The Camilleri Paris Mode offices are also located within the building, situated on each of the floors, and overhanging onto the different levels to create a layering affect. The third floor was conceived as a completely new intervention, extending from the partial space which was already built on top of the second floor. Due to planning constraints, the roof design had to include a change in level allowing a double height space along the back wall on a drop to a single height space along the front facade. In order to maximize the space available and still achieve an interesting interior volume, the design team opted for two sloping roofs at different heights which are connected along the central part of the building by a 30 metre-long beam, in turn supported by two large columns running along the whole height of the building. The introduction of a glazed wall on the third floor leading onto an outdoor terrace further enhances the flow of light. The design of the terrace windows and door serves to promote the idea of the blurring of boundaries between interior and exterior place, once again heightening that sense of interaction of the different parts of the building. It also fits the clients’ needs in that it allows them to adequately display their window accessories.
The design scheme of this project was essential revolved around the remodeling of the interior of an existing building. The extension on the third floor, as well as the various structural and design interventions allow for the building to take on a new character. One which both invites and stimulates the visitor, and most of all allows them to interact with the people and products found within the building.