Stella, one of the largest luxury shoemakers in the world, commissioned Desfa Group to develop a master plan and to design its new state of the art product creation center, with the idea that it would house all of the entire product development team and all of the respective creative shoe designer teams from all over the world. The full project area extends to a total of 15,000 square meters across four floors, which includes open workspaces, showrooms, fitting rooms, a collaboration lounge, production lines, a laboratory, and a material warehouse.

Design concept
The first task at hand was to study the existing three building floor plates with its central passage corridor that connected all three buildings together. With twelve meters of separation between the buildings, there was a realization that the interior of each building block was very generous in space and areas along the façade could receive a good amount of natural light. The conclusion that the design concept of the interior could be based on how natural light with the addition of some supplemental lighting, such as faux skylights throughout the space could interplay with the original layout and architecture of the building. In addition, by using simple materials such as wood, cement plaster board, and raw steel, these materials would help showcase intimate cozier spaces in such a vast industrial open setting. Desfa’s goal was to create a secure and friendly work environment that would strengthen team collaboration seamlessly.

In the interiors of the entrance lobby, the main focus was to create a ceiling system that would mimic the system of faux skylights that were to be integrated in the larger spaces. This strategy would help resolve the limited daylight available in that space. The wood finish in the ceiling in conjunction with the beige cement plaster board used on the walls was designed to set the tone and to create a welcoming space that translated into comfort upon your arrival.

Defining the Workspace
With Stella’s long tradition for being an open organization with a strong collaboration culture, the allocation of private offices within the spaces became unnecessary. Therefore, the Desfa team prioritized designing workspaces that focused primarily on collaboration with the different user groups. Among some of the more specialized rooms, there were some private meeting rooms, video conference booths, and open conference tables with complementary areas containing a material library to facilitate the development process. Even in a simple space as the pantry, design elements were incorporated to promote creativity among the staff while having lunch or snacking. The faux skylights in the work areas became very effective in providing the needed ambient lighting. By placing workstations along the north and the south side of the building it greatly improved the quality of natural lighting needed for these high-level tasks’ areas. Above the open workspace areas, both air conditioning and remote fan system were implemented into the space to enhance the air circulation as well as provide some energy savings.

Designers’ fitting room
As Stella continues to collaborate with some of the top luxury shoe brands in the world, the designers’ fitting room became one of the most challenging spaces to design for this project. Inside each fitting room, the goal was to find the right balance between functionality and aesthetics. Materials, such as wood and concrete, are primarily used to achieve the purity of the space. The defragmented wooden ceiling with strips of light dissecting it into different portions give this space a dynamic feel with its perception of movement.

The cabinetry along both sides of the wall allow this special room to serve in a multitude of ways. Each cabinet door provides a surface where designers can pin-up sketches and draw freely during their creative process. A pull-out drawer located below each cabinet door provides a surface to place a shoe stand. It is from here where designers review shoe samples and develop their design sketches. On occasion, there is the need to review multiple shoe samples at once. Therefore, the cabinet doors are functionally designed to slide completely open.