Roca London Gallery. Zaha Hadid Architects

The concept for the Roca London Gallery begins with water in its many forms and phases as both an idea to make space and to express our adaptability and openness to change and innovation.
Water acts as a theme for the architecture theme, connecting all aspects of the Gallery.
The displays and the areas around each display have been shaped by the movement of water. Water has created a changeable space, one which people will continue to return to.

Zaha Hadid Architects incorporate Roca’s established history and culture of innovation into the experience of the space. Rather than create a fixed gallery solely for products, Zaha Hadid has developed a flexible space for Roca, where displays, a meeting room, café bar, library, multi-media wall, reception and video screens are dispersed so visitors feel they are in an active design centre; a research hub that is much more than just a showroom.

The façade is a unique feature of the new Gallery which gives the space an immediate identity. It incorporates a coherent blend of forms and contours which are used in an unexpected way to create a series of architectural cut outs and openings into the space.
The geometry of the three display environments at the front of the Gallery form a continuous surface with the façade creating a single uninterrupted space that interweaves exterior and interior whilst the strong material logic of the façade is maintained in exposed concrete.

Roca London Gallery is a new brand experience proposal which gives you an insight into the world of Roca’s bathroom spaces. This innovative space allows visitors to experiment and discover the bathroom world, including everything from product design to the importance of water to society.
Roca’s most emblematic products are displayed in different areas or environments. Here the visitor can learn about the latest Roca products and collections, created by top national and international designers like David Chipperfield, Jacques Herzog & Pierre De Meuron, Ramón Benedito, Mariscal, Alvaro Siza, Belén and Rafael Moneo, Schmidt & Lackner or Marcello Cuttino.
One of the most eye-catching elements of these environments is the tiled floor. Composed exclusively of Roca ceramics, the floor is a mosaic of unique, individually-designed and manufactured pieces which together create a striking visual effect.

Zaha Hadid, founder of Zaha Hadid Architects, was awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize (considered to be the Nobel Prize of architecture) in 2004 and is internationally known for both her theoretical and academic work. Each of her dynamic and innovative projects build on over thirty years of revolutionary exploration and research in the interrelated fields of urbanism, architecture and design. Hadid’s interest lies in the rigorous interface between architecture, landscape and geology as her practice integrates natural topography and human-made systems, leading to experimentation with cutting-edge technologies.

The concept for Roca London Gallery designed by Zaha Hadid Architects is inspired by the various phases and states of water. Water acts as the transformational element moving across the façade, carving out the interior and moving through the main gallery as individual drops.
The complex free-form architectural language reflecting fluidity and nature is driven by the new digital design tools and the constant evolution of digitally controlled manufacturing, fabrication and contemporary construction mechanisms, processes and methods.

In order to achieve the complexity of the design and do justice to the original concept, it was essential for the project to start the conversation with the engineers, consultants and fabricators at an early design stage. GRC (glass reinforced concrete) and GRG (glass reinforced gypsum) were approved as the materials to respond and meet best the challenge of translating the fluid forms into built environment.
The GRC and GRG fabricator input specified the constraints and rules of manufacturing and installation which in turn informed and developed the architectural concept. Rationalisation techniques were naturally applied and embedded as logical part of the design language.

Straight vertical joints and a horizontal joint at 2.20m were adequately implemented to answer the challenge. The maximum size of the interior GRC panels is 3x5m and the full height facade panels are 2x4m. The two materials were applied with respect to their natural qualities as continuous white surface of the GRG curved gallery walls and exposed natural concrete GRC panels within the product display environments and the facade.

GRP (glass reinforced plastics/ fibre glass) is the material used for the fabrication of the main gallery ‘pods’ serving as lighting elements, shelves and tables and all of the bespoke furniture that includes reception desk, bar, conference table and product display shelves. Subdivision Surface modelling in Maya is the used digital design tool.

Composed exclusively of Roca ceramics, the floor tiles of the product display environments are unique, individually designed and manufactured pieces, laid one by one. Each tile was designed by ZHA team and water jet cut from the standard 60x120cm Roca tile