Transparent Anonymity

The Spanish architect Eduardo Arroyo uses glass tubing from SCHOTT for interior design.

Unconventional interior design has come to be the signature of ”Arquia – Caja de Arcitectos”. Each of the 24 branches of the Spanish bank across the country features its own individual interior design. For example, the design of the branch in Barcelona is based on dark, warm wood. The branch in ­Saragossa, on the other hand, looks cool, much like a cocktail bar.

For Bilbao, the capital city of the Basque region, the Spanish architect Eduardo Arroyo now came up with a ”vibrating glass skin” that guides people’s views to the bright interior landscape even while they are still standing outside. Whereas the work areas were done entirely in light gray, Arroyo equipped the ­customer areas open to the public with black reflective floors and ceilings. This contrast helps guide customers, gives the ­interior of the building a respectable elegance and creates a light and transparent ambience.

The walls are made of glass tubing from SCHOTT. Lined up next to each other, the glass tubes form transparent walls that separate the public area from the offices, much like a clear ­membrane. ”Their shape also makes it easier to create round, seemingly organic sections of the room,” explains Eduardo ­Arroyo, the architect. ”The tubes transmit light in a slightly distorted manner and provide soundproofing all at the same time. In other words, they allow for an open, yet private atmosphere that perfectly suits discussions with the bank,” he adds.

The glass tubes are made of SCHOTT Duran®, a particularly stable borosilicate glass that was manufactured in special lengths especially for this project by SCHOTT-Rohrglas in Mitterteich, Germany. Around 300 tubes in lengths of up to more than 3 ­meters were shipped to Bilbao. ”Glass tubing is usually processed into ampoules or light bulbs by the pharmaceutical and electronics industries or put to use in solar thermal power plants,” explains Alberto Zúñiga, Director of Marketing at SCHOTT Ibérica in Barcelona. ”Arroyo, however, came up with the idea of also using this tubing as a design element in architecture. This allowed him to illustrate his main theme of ’transparency in banking’,” Zúñiga adds.

Construction has been booming in the capital city of the Basque Region since the 1990s. The metro train stations that were built according to the plans from Sir Norman Foster in 1995, but also the Museo Guggenheim Bilbao from Frank O. Gehry from 1997, are among the masterpieces. Now, Eduardo Arroyo, one of the most well-known architects of the new Madrilenian School, has also left his mark.

The use of Duran® tubes from SCHOTT creates an organic bond between anonymity and openness: The customer areas are equipped with black reflective floors and ceilings and creates a stylish elegance.
Photo: SCHOTT/M. De Guzman

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The Spanish bank for architects ”Arquia – Caja de Architectos” appears in new splendor: a transparent glass skin seperates the various areas and helps customers to find their way through the bank.
Photo: SCHOTT/M. De Guzman

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