RÒMOLA. A Marble-Made Tent In The Galaxy
By Andrés Jaque / Office for Political Innovation

This project transforms the former 1946 garage of Gutierrez Soto’s most significant building, located in the geographical center of Madrid, into an assembly of bakery, café and experimental restaurant. The original volume and structure of the building is recovered, leaving a 5-meter-high space with massive openings onto the streets.

“[Transgender] Zahara is a mix of desert, coincidence and cafetería”
Pedro Almodóvar, La mala educación

Since 2008, architecture in Madrid has suffered the hegemony of austere-looking hydraulic tiles and red ceramic bricks, which are uncritically perceived as old and independent-business oriented, but which paradoxically have become a tool of temporary, low-wage-based labor and corporative franchises and have conducted an unnoticed invasion of the city. Within nine years, this process has marginalized and set close to extinction the whole material and human context of marble, leather, gold-chrome-plated metal, and rare woods paneling craftwork that has, since the 1960s, been the social base in the development of the network of Madrid’s cafeterías: shining, comfortable places where anonymous service is provided and where this service, delivered with equal and standardized courtesy to everyone, has quickly turned them into spaces where women and LGBTQ communities had historically found an alternative to macho bars. This project is the result of a strategy to work with a small number of super-qualified marble manufacturers, leather upholsterers, metal benders and chrome-platers, rare-wood panelers and artisan varnishers behind the material production of Madrid’s cafeterias by taking their capacities a step further: to reintroduce into the city’s ecosystem the counter-austerity dissident space of the cafetería as a resistance to ceramic corporative hegemony.

A marble-made tent in the galaxy. Taking advantage of supermarble’s capacities to resist traction.

In the 1990s and 2000s the tiny town of Novelda (Valencia) became the hub for a transnational flow of rare marbles. Now inactive, the town’s extensive pools of accumulated dusty marbles, onyx, and granites from around the world can be seen as an archeology of pre-austerity times. Whereas brick and hydraulic tiles are stock in a discourse of false authenticity, groundness and faked localism; Novelda marbles now embody a refreshingly contingent value. This ungroundness condition of the marbles is registered by a number of technologies attached to it, such as the glass fiver and resin reinforcements, articulated anchoring systems, intended to render marble as a sort of supermarble, capable not only of resisting compression but also traction. In what has been a unique engineering challenge, the project takes this capacity to its limits, by creating a supermarble-made self-standing tent. The tent accommodates the customers’ tables and allows other uses (including cooking) to being organized in a C-shaped periphery around it.

RÒMOLA. A Marble-Made Tent In The Galaxy
By Andrés Jaque / Office for Political Innovation

Address: Hermosilla, 4. Madrid

Office for Political Innovation: Laura Mora Vitoria, Roberto González García, Paola Pardo, Víctor Cano Ciborro, Nieves Calvo López, Marina Fernández Ramos, Marta Jarabo Devesa, Danay Kamdar, Pablo Maldonado, Solé Mallol, Valentina Marín, Flavio Martella, Víctor Nouman García, Larissa Reis, Isabel Sánchez del Campo, Belverence Tameau, Borja García Lázaro.

Structural Consultancy:
Mecanismo. Ingeniería de Estructuras (Juan Rey, Jacinto Ruiz)

Service Design Consultancy:
DITEC. Diseño y Tecnología Ingenieros Consultores

Quatity Surveyor:
Alfonso Sáenz

Safe & Security Coordinator:
José María Gutiérrez

Photography backdrops
Miguel de Guzmán y Rocío Romero. Imagen Subliminal

Architects: Andrés Jaque / Office for Political Innovation

andres jaque

+34 911886136
Calle de Otero, 3
28028, Madrid, SPAIN

Andrés Jaque and the Office for Political Innovation explore the potential of post-foundational politics and symmetrical approaches to the sociology of technology to rethink architectural practices. The office’s slogan is ‘ARCHITECTURE IS TECHNOLOGICALLY RENDERED SOCIETY’ and is currently devoted to the study of connected-domesticities like politically-activated urbanism.
They are authors for reference buildings including Plasencia Clergy House (awarded with the Dionisio Hernández Gil Prize), House in Never Never Land (finalist of FAD Awards and Mies van der Rohe European Award), TUPPER HOME (finalist of the European Award Mies van der Rohe and of the X Bienal Española de Arquitectura y Urbanismo), or ESCARAVOX (COAM 2013 Award and finalist of FAD Awards).

In 2012, the Museum of Modern Art of New York (MoMA) incorporated ‘IKEA Disobedients’ by Andrés Jaque / Office for Political Innovation into its collection as the first architectural performance acquired by the museum. This work has also been nominated in Architecture category for the Design of the Year 2013 Awards of the Design Museum, London. In 2013 they presented ‘SUPERPOWERS OF TEN’ at Lisbon Architecture Triennale, ‘Different Kinds of Water Pouring into a Swimming Pool’ for RED CAT Gallery at Roy and Edna Disney / CalArts Center for Contemporary Arts, in Los Angeles, and ‘Hänsel & Gretel’s Arenas’ at La Casa Encendida, in Madrid. In 2012, they presented their intervention ‘PHANTOM. Mies as Rendered Society’ at Mies van der Rohe Pavilion in Barcelona. In 2011, the research and prototype-making project ‘SWEET PARLIAMENT HOME’ was presented at the Gwangju Biennale and, in 2010, the installation ‘FRAY HOME HOME’ was presented at the Biennale di Venezia 2010.
They are authors of the publications PHANTOM. Mies as Rendered Society, Different Kinds of Water Pouring into a Swimming Pool, Dulces Arenas Cotidianas, Eco-Ordinary. Codes for everyday architectural practices and Everyday Politics. Their production has been published in the most important media including A+U, Domus, El Croquis, The New York Times or Vogue, among others. Their work has been exhibited at MoMA New York, MAK Austrian Museum of Applied Arts / Contemporary Art in Vienna, London Design Museum, RED CAT Gallery at Roy and Edna Disney / CalArts Center for Contemporary Arts, Schweizerisches Architektur Museum in Basel, the Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine de Paris, Mostra di Architettura de la Bienal de Venezia, Gwangju Biennale and Lisbon Architecture Triennale.

Andrés Jaque [1971], directs Andrés Jaque Architects and the Office for Political Innovation. He is currently Advanced Design Professor at Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation GSAPP Columbia University. He has been Tessenow Stipendiat 1998 in Toepfer Stiftung FVS, in Hamburg, and visiting teacher in a number of international universities and has lectured and taken part in round tables extensively throughout the world including Princeton University, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule in Zurich, Instituto Politecnico di Milano, Centre International pour la Ville de Paris, Centre pour l’Architecture et le Paysage (Brussels), Sociedad Central (Buenos Aires), Berlage Institut (Rotterdam) or Museo Nacional (Bogotá).

The office clients list includes AC/E Acción Cultural Española, ARCOmadrid, Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, Empresa Municipal de la Vivienda y Suelo de Madrid S.A., Art Fairs S.L., La Musa S.L., Matadero Madrid, Fundació Mies van der Rohe, Obispado de Plasencia, Ojalá Awareness Club, Construmat, Fundació Mies van der Rohe, Comunidad de Madrid, Aluz Imagen y Comunicación S.L., Ayuntamiento de Burgos, Caja Duero and Xunta de Galicia, among others.