[image: exterior view]
A pixelated cube seemingly dropped onto a site in Austria? Say it with me now … my ninja, please! Too too sick…
Designed by Graz-based SPLTTERWERK, the ‘Frog Queen’ [yes, that’s the building’s name] was completed in 2007 in Graz, Styria, Austria – and serves as the headquarters of Prima Engineering. A machine and motor technology company, Prima Engineering needed a new building to house high-end testing facilities, the company’s various research and development programs, and serve as a location to showcase their work to clients.
[image: exterior view]
The building is damn-near cube shaped, and is clad in square powder-coated aluminum panels which, from a distance, appear to be painted in a range of grey tones – but in reality are screen-printed with a grid of abstract figures, which can be interpreted as flowers [speaking to the building’s natural surroundings] or as gears [hinting at the work being done within the structure]. Check out the images below.
The building form approximates a cube, measuring 18.125 x 18.125 x 17m, wrapped on all four elevations with a pixilated pattern of square panels. From a distance, these panels appear to be painted in a range of ten values of grey tone, together dematerializing the volume of the building against both the trees of the surrounding site and the clouds and sky. Thus the cubic building is at once monumental in its objecthood in the open landscape – scale-less and immaterial – and yet utterly non-iconographic in its overall form.
[image: exterior panels]
Moving inside the building, things stay aesthetically interesting/fun. The first floor is mostly lobby/reception space, mostly finished with a brushed aluminum look – but with a reception area covered in a giant image of a green, lush, wooded-area. The upper floors are organized around an atrium space open to the reception area below, with the office and meeting room walls treated with large scale images of a variety of natural landscapes.
At the interior, individual office spaces are wallpapered with images of the surrounding Eastern Styrian landscape, creating a conceptual tension between the interior of the building envelope (narrative and pictorial) and the visual effects of its exterior panels (abstract and spatial). In this sense, the decorative strategy for both interior and exterior is conceived with certain landscape sensibilities in mind; a visual context which is simultaneously pictorial in its framed references and affective in the atmosphere it produces.
[image: section/interior elevation]
The dichotomy expressed here between the simple, plain aluminum atrium space and these colorful, photographic offices and meeting rooms is pretty dynamic. Looking straight up the atrium space you see nothing but the aluminum paneling used throughout the interior, and the openings of the skylights – but then looking in any direction from this central space a visitor gets glimpses of bright, picturesque landscapes from areas surrounding the building.
Pretty sick – and slightly ridiculous.
[image: atrium, looking up]
[image: reception area+desk]
[image: meeting room]
I was actually put on to this project through a press release for Graffiti Gone Global, which had attached these images to showcase an example of the work of FLIP – AKA Felipe Yung – a Brazilian artist and member of the artist collective Famiglia Baglione.
The project itself is SUSHISAMBA’s Las Vegas Sugarcane Lounge, designed by iCrave Design. FLIP was then commissioned to do the murals.
And that’s really all I’ve got. While the photos show off FLIP’s work, which is pretty dope, I also thought the space itself seemed pretty interesting. At first glance the photos show a ‘cool’ lounge with graffiti that seemingly isn’t all that special – but I’m really feelin’ the ceiling treatment, with all these glowing cylinders. Pretty dope.