Cultural center interior | Sofia, Bulgaria | 2021 – In progress.
Lead studio partner: Lusio Architects
Project Management: ProjectPro
Investor: OJB “Shalom”
3D visualisation: Hristo Hristov & Mihail Topalov
Photoinstalation design (Cafeteria): Aglika Spasova
We are a part of the project team for the interior design for Shalom Educational Complex in Sofia. The new complex will bring together the Ronald S. Lauder School, Kindergarten and nursery, and Cultural and educational center with one of the largest libraries in Sofia, a sports hall and two STREAM labs for research, languages and arts.
Our team is working on the interior project for the Cultural center part of the complex.
The project is in a technical phase currently.
Foyer (1st floor)
The foyer is the most representative space for the Cultural center. Its function is to meet its guests, welcome them and help every individual feel like part of something bigger – a community. The interior architecture of the space affects and inspires – an ample open atrium space, lots of natural light through the glass exterior walls, and a thorough visual connection to the heart of the Jewish center – the celebration hall. Thanks to the different areas throughout the two levels, everyone can find their place here and become part of a lively space with lots of functions, regimes of use, and visual connections.
As to the materials, limestone floor tiles, a limestone solid reception desk, a wooden staircase, and gallery railings add a representative and sustainable feeling to the space. Jewish values are intertwined with the building through the openness of the plan, use of traditional natural materials.
Celebration hall (1st floor)
The celebration hall is the heart of the Jewish Center Shalom, where significant community events, celebrations, and daily activities take place. It is separated from the foyer by a two-level glass wall and takes a vital role in its interior architecture. To meet the needs of the busy life of the community, it is designed to be multifunctional on many levels. Different regimes of use are possible thanks to several interior solutions.
First, a sliding glass wall system allows the whole first-level glass wall to the foyer to be folded on one end. Thus the foyer can be connected to the hall, creating an even bigger space. The adjacent part of the foyer can be easily rearranged for different events.
Mobile telescopic platforms provide extra multifunctionality to the space, as they can be retracted in a cabinet along the rear wall of the hall. The whole floor is accessible for different uses (such as dancing, parties, dining tables, exhibitions, etc.) when the platforms are retracted. When the platforms are pulled out, they provide amphitheater seating for a better view of the stage.
Cafeteria (2nd gallery floor)
This is a more informal space where people of all ages spend their time between different activities. This is where elder and younger members of the community intersect, enjoy coffee, or simply come to play a backgammon game. Here students can hang out after school, and more informal meetings occur. It is a cafeteria, but it provides a lunchtime meal for everyone.
The cafeteria consists of a bar, three different seating areas, and restrooms. The restrooms’ wall is designed as a photo installation with photos of the community members and their gatherings, including school art and blank spaces for everyone to contribute to the board.
Parquet flooring is used in addition to the wood railings to create a natural, cozy feeling.
Workspace (3rd floor)
The main workspace of OJB “Shalom”’s staff members is situated on the third floor of the Cultural center. Its dynamic structure, work specifics, and constantly changing working practices have determined the mostly open-plan layout and flexible design. All functions that need more privacy are separated from the main space by glass walls that allow light and visual connections and encourage openness and community relations.
The floor consists of two main zones – a meeting zone and a work zone.
It includes a lobby, meeting rooms, the chairman and CEO offices, and a lay leaders lounge. Visitors use the stairs / elevator from the Jewish center foyer to come up to a lobby with a reception desk. A meeting room and visitor restrooms are also situated here.
Parquet flooring and limestone solid reception desk give a more representative look to the space and continuity to the design of the foyer & cafeteria. Storage furniture behind the reception desk separates the lobby from the lay leaders lounge. It serves the reception on one side and contains wardrobe space and lockers on the other side. Carpet flooring defines the area and contributes to its acoustic comfort and coziness.
The co-working area holds an open plan space with work desks for 24 people, soft seating alongside the exterior windows, a separate office for the departments’ directors, and supporting spaces. There is also a kitchen with a folding glass wall that allows this space to be closed or open to the co-working, giving it the flexibility to host more significant events and office gatherings.
The co-working open space is designed in achromatic colors in contrast to its peripheral areas which are differentiated in warm and vibrant colors. Linoleum flooring marks the corridor passage and separates the different areas. Above, the exposed ceiling with acoustic panels and installations unifies all areas and allows higher space.
Flexibility is key to the work process. The common spaces like call boots, focus room, meeting and team rooms provide opportunities for meetings and work. Two conference rooms on the upper levels (5th and 6th floor) can host training courses, lectures, larger board meetings, discussions, etc.
Madrichim hub (4th floor)
The madrichim have their own space in the Jewish Center Shalom. It is situated on Level 4 with direct access to the rooftop terrace. It is designed to be flexible and to provide different spaces essential to the madrichim’s dynamic activities.
The elevator to the floor arrives at an ample open space with a glass wall to the terrace. Alongside one of the walls, there is a two-tier seating. It creates an auditorium-style space suitable for presentations, lectures, or performances and, at the same time, provides more relaxed seating for individual work, small-group conversations, or collaboration. This seating is the only fixed furniture in the room, which makes it easy to transform the space when holding different types of events. It also passes through the glass wall turning into an outside bench seating. Thus it visually unites the madrichim hub with the terrace and, at the same time, creates an outer auditorium-style space. A folding partition glass wall system allows an even better connection to the terrace.
The madrichim hub consists also of two team rooms, a kitchen corner, and restrooms.