Architecture as a statement
Winner of the workplace category of the Archmarathon Award Miami, Mallol Design House (MDH) in the Bella Vista district of Panama is the prestigious headquarters of Central America’s most important architecture firm, Mallol Arquitectos. Upon completing his 40th year of practice, founder Ignacio Mallol Tamayo and his partners decided to treat themselves to a space that would adequately represent their design philosophy. Based on an in-depth analysis of the factors that contribute to the architectural design process and determine the best practices in the profession, the building stands out for its bright, flexible, multi-purpose, open and non-hierarchical spaces.
The original building was a seven-storey hotel with its own history, a Bella Vista landmark located in a privileged position just a short walk from Panama Bay. Only the original steel structure was preserved, stripped down to the bare elements of space and function. « The idea was to create a building that would maintain a continuous dialogue with its new aesthetics and contents while reflecting the profession it represents, » explain the designers. « We opted for a predominant use of white throughout the project to enhance the large spaces, while using light, reflections and design to create a location that is not just a workplace but also embodies aesthetic and cultural values. »
The building has flexible, open spaces ideal for seamless communication and a shared working philosophy of creativity and collaboration, expressed through teamwork and personal attention to customers and resulting in a better quality of working life for employees. Extending over an approximately 5,000 square metre area featuring an alternation of concrete, steel, glass, wood and porcelain stoneware, MDH houses work spaces for 255 architects, 15 meeting rooms, an auditorium, a library, an open-air amphitheatre, a botanical garden, a terrace with a cafeteria and a swimming pool for employees and visitors with breathtaking views and directly connected to an indoor common room. The use of the same floor covering for the exterior space and the adjacent common room creates an attractive sense of continuity. The chosen material is Marazzi Mystone Pietra di Vals porcelain stoneware, a natural stone-look collection inspired by the rarest quartzites. In the swimming pool area, the collection was installed as a raised paving in the non-slip textured 20 mm thick version and 40×120 cm size, while the 60×120 cm size was chosen for the adjacent common room.
Mallol Design House obtained LEED Gold® certification, attaining a maximum score in the Innovation category and excellent scores in the Indoor Environmental Quality, Energy and Atmosphere categories.