Dezeen Magazine

Second Home Lisboa by SelgasCano

SelgasCano completes plant-filled co-working space inside Lisbon market hall for Second Home

Spanish studio SelgasCano has transformed part of Lisbon's oldest food market into a plant-filled co-working space for Second Home, which is furnished with winding communal tables and mid-century chairs.

Second Home Lisboa by SelgasCano

Second Home Lisboa is the second shared office space José Selgas and Lucía Cano have designed for the workspace provider Second Home – founded by Sam Aldenton and Rohan Silva in 2014.

Set inside the Mercado Da Ribeira, the 1,115-square-metre office is left open plan to show off the columns and iron windows of the historic market hall, which was built in 1892.

The ironwork has been painted mint green, navy and yellow to distinguish the work area from the untreated roof of the market hall below.

Second Home Lisboa by SelgasCano

Over 1,000 pot plants and trees have been installed along the edge of the long, wavy-edged tables shared by members. The tables, measuring 70 metres by 10 metres and designed by SelgasCano, meander through the shared workspace and are intended to encourage members to collaborate.

"We wanted absolutely to maintain that inherited idea of one single open space, getting small companies to share a huge table divided in three, encouraging relationships," explained architect Lucia Cano.

"The flowing design of the table gives members their own area of private space to focus on their work whilst keeping a sense of community."

Second Home Lisboa by SelgasCano

Second Home Lisboa claims to be one of the greenest buildings in Europe, using a radiant heating and cooling system rather than air conditioning to keep the space temperate – a system SelgasCano based on greenhouses.

"Another big aim was to reduce the energy consumption of the building. Working with one of the best climate engineers we ever worked with, Adam Ritchie, we were able to eliminate the air-conditioning system and create a radiant floor system with natural ventilation taken from the ones used in a conventional greenhouse," explained Cano.

Second Home Lisboa by SelgasCano

"And may be that's why we decided to give privacy and at the same time a better quality of air, placing 1,000 plants on the top of that big table," she added. "Actually the plants are the only thing that you notice when you enter the main space, even if 250 chairs, 100 lamps and 250 people are also hidden in between that densely occupied big 'greenhouse table'."

Second Home Lisboa by SelgasCano

The L-shaped plan is divided into two distinct areas, creating one zone for working and another for socialising.

While the workspace is white and bright, the leisure area, which boasts a bar and cafe, has dark blue paintwork.

Second Home Lisboa by SelgasCano

"Every aspect of the space is designed to maximise collisions between our diverse community of industries and disciplines, so sparking the cross-fertilisation between different domains," said Second Home founders Sam Aldenton and Rohan Silva.

"We understand that in the modern economy, the demarcation between work and life - and work and home - are breaking down."

Second Home Lisboa by SelgasCano

The €1.3 million (£1.1 million) fit-out also features a selection of mid-century chairs and lamps, a library stocked with Portuguese and English books, and four private meeting rooms.

The space is designed to attract entrepreneurs, start-ups and digital businesses and has three tiers of membership ranging from permanent desk space to a "roaming" membership that gives access to facilities during off-peak hours. Each of the memberships also gives workers access to Second Home's London offices.

Second Home Lisboa by SelgasCano

Current members of Second Home Lisboa – which has room for up to 250 workers – include Vice Portugal, digital marketing agency Monday and food-ordering app Levoo.

The space also runs a cultural and wellbeing programme including yoga and pilates classes, a lunchtime running club with routes along the River Tagus and a shuttle bus to the coast for surfers.

"Second Home Lisboa is the purest possible expression of our ambitious social mission," said Silva. "Working with SelgasCano, we have created an environment that is supporting creativity, job creation and entrepreneurship - and helping to catalyse the growth of Lisbon's creative economy."

Second Home Lisboa by SelgasCano

"We truly believe in the power of progressive architecture to make a positive difference in the world around us," added Aldenton.

"At Second Home Lisboa we have really focused on supporting our members' physical and psychological wellness as a way to nurture lasting creative success."

Second Home Lisboa by SelgasCano

SelgasCano previously collaborated with Second Home on its first offices in London – featuring a long orange tube as an informal workspace – the Libreria bookshop also in east London, and Kibera Hamlets School in Nairobi.

The duo, which designed the 2015 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, placed at number 110 on Dezeen Hot List – a comprehensive guide to the most talked about figures in the architecture and design industry.

Photography is by Iwan Baan.

Project credits:

Client: Second Home (Sam Aldenton and Rohan Silva)
Architects: SelgasCano (Jose Selgas and Lucia Cano)
Environmental engineer: Richie & Daffin
Prime contractor: Old2New