HISTORIC SPACES FOSTERING MORE JOY

At A Glance:
Project

Swiss Sustainable Home • Casa Felix Residence

Core Scientific Disciplines:
Sustainability
Electromagnetics
Neuroaesthetics
Design Psychology
2018 Awards:
★★★★★ Residential Interior Design • Panama
Best Residential Interior Design • Central & Latin America
SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE
The answer is a resounding yes. Science has revealed that our biochemistry is significantly influenced by what our senses capture within spaces. As we move between environments, our hormones and nervous system modify. As a consequence, our actions vary according to the spaces we experience and take one or another turn according to how our body unconsciously reacts.The spaces we utilize influence the course of our lives.
Then can spaces be designed to generate what we want to feel?
BUT FIRST, YOUR DEVELOPMENT’S LIMITATIONS:
What we envision for our spaces to become is always constrained by their initial volume and layout. In this case, the two-story home we were tasked with renovating was dark, confined, and featuring a neglected rear patio. In these spaces inhabitant’s lives shrunk by the lack of perspective and possibility to expand.

We decided to pull the patio into the center of the home, bringing light in and creating an internal perspective. Additionally, this restored the original floor plan of a colonial home, in a modern key.
HOW TO BE RESPONSIBLE AND SUSTAINABLE?
Representing a piece of local history due to its location only, the building held no architectural value. With no features to restore, its design needed to cater to three things: fulfill our client’s aspirations, respect the ‘genius loci’ (its local context), and be energetically responsible.
To respect its nature meant to be truthful to what was present, hence avoiding to emulate the past. We needed to introduce new, honest, and authentic design features. In poor words, no mass-produced colonial tile imitations could be employed.
To be efficient with energy, the construction needed to be built using innovative techniques. We emulated the Swiss Sustainable Construction Standard adapting it to Panama, and with it reduced the home’s energy consumption and costs to a third.
SHOULD ONE REVERE LOCAL CULTURE?
With its inhabitants only partially aware of their heritage, Panama possesses a wealth of talented painters and writers. This building, a shop on the ground floor which connected to a home on the upper floors, needed to flirt with pedestrians and entice them to enter. Inviting them to rediscover local talent was the best way to incorporate the spirit of Casco Viejo.

We invited artist Olga Sinclair to showcase prints of her paintings on glass, alongside poets contributing their words for poetry on the walls.
FINALLY, ENGINEERING SPACES FOR JOY:
The experience of joy is intrinsically linked to what we value in life, a concept inherently subjective. While external factors often remain outside our control, internal ones offer greater influence. As we deepen our understanding of life, a sense of internal joy can be cultivated. Our homes, acting as a reflection of ourselves, mirror these values and aspirations.

We can intentionally design and curate our living spaces to exude the qualities we strive for, fostering a synergy between ourselves and our environment. This reciprocal relationship thrives on the energy we invest – at times, we imbue the space with positive energy, and in turn, the space resonates with and amplifies that energy back to us.
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We create spaces that foster change, meeting users where they momentarily stand and propelling them into their future.
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