Petra Blaisse – Rothschild Bank London

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Rothschild Bank

Place: London, UK

Date: 2007-2011

Client: Rotschild Bank

Architect: OMA Rotterdam

Scope of Work: acoustic and view filtering curtain for the lobby

Inside Outside was asked to design a curtain for the Lobby of the new Rothschild Bank in London, designed by OMA/Rem Koolhaas.

This contemporary building of concrete and glass is placed between old existing classical buildings. The interior, though still contemporary, oozes a slightly softer atmosphere through the warm tones of the Travertin placed on both floor and ceiling. Inside Outside responds to this design with a transparent curtain with silver and golden elements. The intruding light is reflected by the silver and gold, giving the space a sparkling energy and a sense of luxury. At the same time the reflectivity of these materials creates a play of all present colours and movement by mirroring them. This play of light, colour and movement will continuously go on changing the appearance of the curtain and the space.

The program for the curtain is to provide privacy and sound absorbance. The staff and visitors of the bank need privacy, however, the view and light from the exterior needs to be maintained. Inside Outside created a semi-transparent curtain by applying faux leather strips on a transparent voile. These golden and silver strips are placed in an irregular pattern that resembles the composition of a brick wall. By varying the scale and colour of these “bricks” we created an ever changing gradient in colour, scale and density. At the street façade a new material, gauze, is introduced to maintain the beautiful view on the adjacent old buildings. This gauze is placed gradually in between the strips of faux leather supplying a gradient of transparency to enable a glimpse or more on the view of the street.

One of the challenges was to create a transparent curtain that absorbs the sound as well. The soft faux leather, sewn on the thin voile, will absorb and diffuse sounds

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