KOGAA
Rethinking methodologies
Prague, CZ

KOGAA, directed by Alexandra Georgescu, Tomas Kozelsky and Viktor Odstrcilik, creates substance for the built environment, committing to projects with a positive impact on users, communities, and the environment. From their self-started slow development lab in Prague, they tackle the multiple urban issues through cross-education, employing a hands-on approach and constantly reusing.

 

Transforming unused spaces

We started our studio by throwing ourselves into a self-initiated hands-on project. It was an adaptation of an abandoned distillery factory into not only our office space but also a multi-functional cultural venue with studios, event spaces, a bar and a summer cinema. The hard and slow process thankfully ended up as a success, and a proof of how vacant properties can become vibrant locations, playing an active role in the urban and economic transformation of the surrounding neighborhood and life of the city. This experience led to other projects in which we developed the whole idea from the strategy and business plan, though designing, building, running, and generating attraction.

 

Maintaining a good relationship with clients

After a few successfully-landed commissions, we realised that being the ones who helped create a brief with the client was a way to make sure that we were the ones who would be chosen to carry out the project. It led to this understanding that being a partner with the clients was a successful way to land new projects. By giving solutions to some specific problems that the client didn't even take into account, we could make them understand and help by providing them with something more than what they thought of at the start. It also allowed us to help them in the most difficult parts of the process.

 

Rethinking methodologies through the workspace

Since our beginning in the distillery and now in our freshly-moved-into old school, our office is an important representation of the way we work. It supports our methods and beliefs. It starts with the way we use the buildings in which our office is located. We help with the concept, the restoration, the running, and the creation of a curated and diverse community of creative businesses that collaborate in symbioses. Our latest office spaces feature different areas related to dedicated work functions. Monthly internal breakfasts embrace informal exchanges and take place on a large shared table next to the kitchen. Our weekly pin-ups support exchanges of creative and technical knowledge right on the main walls diving the spaces. It is here where all the voices are heard. The office also features a meeting room/library with a central organic table, that breaks-down formality, and hierarchies. Finally, we have an inspirational, constantly-changing library of findings and mock-ups with a high table that we use when presenting clients with details of manufacturing and materials selections.

 

A space reflective of a philosophy

The whole office space is larger and much more generous than our needs, but it feels good, there is space for ideas, and for privacy. It is also a way to educate clients and inspire them to do the same for their own workspaces. Lastly and very importantly, we 'reuse' in everything we do; it is a way of thinking, and behaving holistically. Our office interior was designed and built based on materials and structures we preserved and stored over time from our events and projects. Solving for  where to store material and what to do with it in the designing phase is crucial for efficient sustainability. Our team is thereby able to see and learn first hand how important it is for the projects we design.

 

Bringing in changes through building processes

We are dedicated to make a change in the real estate market and create an alternative to development, and we don't think the change is so far. By managing and running our own building sites as a new type of development we noticed how it facilitates a sustainable growth of the building in coexistence with its community. Entering the building process in its early stages allows us to plan the process, the economical models, and functions while bridging the inactive period of a site. We are faithful that the slowing down of some processes can make development more sustainable, starting with the areas where resources are being exploited or used inefficiently.

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Photography Courtesy of KOGAA






a project powered by Itinerant Office

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