After a local newspaper ran an article on our own offices inside an old industrial warehouse, we were contacted by “Producciones Aplaplac”, a TV production company and creators of the children show “31 minutos”. An international hit, the show’s played entirely by sock puppets and made with a budget inversely proportional to its genius level creativity. Because everything they do is produced in-house they needed a quick, cost-effective solution for their new offices.
Up until then their whole operation was dispersed and cumbersome: their production, script and art departments were split in two different locations while having to rent a sound stage to shoot each new season of the show. By 2013, they finally decided to consolidate all the elements of the program under one roof: a new industrial warehouse located in an old residential neighborhood in downtown Santiago.
Acknowledging the non-existent thermal insulation of the building was going to be a major issue, Aplaplac decided to hire us to adapt our already tested solution to their requirements.
We proposed to colonize the warehouse with three boxes of varying sizes to accommodate each individual part of the program. From the warehouse access, the first box contains the administrative and executive offices of the show. The second box and the biggest in size, holds the scriptwriters offices. The third and final box is the show’s workshop, where the puppets and sets are made. The rest of the warehouse´s space -more than half of the total space- remains free to be used as storage space as well as the sound stage.
The parallelism of the boxes layout is deliberately broken as to create tension and vantage points between them, in reference to works such as the “Metaesquemas” (1958-1959) created by Brazilian artist Helio Oiticica. The space between the boxes is thought as small rooms for leisure where more informal events can happen.
The three boxes are made out of a simple timber structure of 2-by-4’s and completely cladded in translucid polycarbonate sheets. To avoid any interior structural element, we used prefab H beams –made of timber slats and OSB boards- capable of covering the whole span between walls while supporting the weight of the entire polycarbonate ceiling. By simply reducing the size of the air volume you need to heat or cool –instead of trying to control the whole warehouse-, the boxes’ temperature can be easily managed by cheap “split” HVAC systems.
The entire project was built in 3 days, and the end result left the cast of “31 minutos” happy enough that they insisted in being part of the photo-shoot that we’re now publishing.