Architect Ken Rorrison confesses that he was `slightly in awe’ when he first met flamboyant Spanish artist and designerJavier Mariscal, renowned for his 1992 Olympic mascot dog Cobi and every other sofa, carrier bag and restaurant in Barcelona.
Rorrison, of architectural practice Harper Mackay, recently collaborated with Mariscal to create an entire design package for Framestore, one of the UK’s top five post-production facilities. Framestore’s new London headquarters will receive its finishing touch next week – a 28m-long mural based on Mariscal’s graphic identity.
`I was nervous that Mariscal might come in and say: “I’m doing it my way and you have to fit around me”, but he wasn’t a prima donna, there was a good degree of empathy,’ says Rorrison, who tried to incorporate the developing `zoomorphic’ feel of the graphics into his interiors. `We used some of his colour palette and highlighted individual elements to echo the quirky air of the identity’. The bar, for example, features a 7m-long version of one of the logo’s four typefaces, layered in planes of coloured steel.
Framestore is `a kind of city’, as its promotional leaflet describes. Its production rooms, caf, `streets’, telephone box and casual contact areas weave around a central `hot box’ which houses the main facilities. `The nature of the business demands a whole series of cells without any natural light, so we focused on the spaces between them,’ says Rorrison.
The reception – for which Mariscal chose a tardis-blue sofa designed by Ron Arad – is the crossroads of all the routes. Clients frequently spend ten hours in a room staring at a screen, so Rorrison designed the spaces to be as unlike a work environment as possible.
Each space echoes the graphics with its coloured lighting, and has its own feature such as a communications board, workstation or mini-library. The public telephone interior reflects the quirky spirit of Mariscal’s graphics. Lit in soft purple and blue, its wall is covered with Fuzzy Felts for Framestore people to fiddle with. `Nintendo is old hat, Fuzzy Felts are in,’ says Rorrison.