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

Arquitectos: Andrés Jaque / Office for Political Innovation

andres jaque

43-01 21st Street
LIC, New York
NY 11101

(+34) 910 572 163
Calle Arriaza 6
28008, Madrid, SPAIN

Office for Political Innovation (OFFPOLINN) is an international architectural practice, based in New York and Madrid, working at the intersection of design, research, and critical environmental practices. The office develops projects in different scales and media, intended to bring inclusivity into the built environment.

Currently, the office works on projects for Thyssen Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Art Institute of Chicago, Lafayette Anticipations, CA2M, Real Madrid, Colegio Reggio, and Grupo La Musa.

In 2016, OFFPOLINN received the Frederick Kiesler Prize from the City of Vienna; the office has also been awarded the SILVER LION for Best Research Project at the 14th Venice Biennale and with the Dionisio Hernández Gil Award.

OFFPOLINN’s projects have been the object of solo exhibitions at MoMA, MoMA PS1, MAK Vienna, Princeton University, RED CAT Cal Arts Contemporary Art Center in Los Angeles, the Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine de Paris, and Tabacalera in Madrid. Its work has been included in exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago, ZKM (Karlsruhe), Tel Aviv Museum of Art, London Design Museum, Whitechapel Gallery (London), Z33 (Hasselt), the Schweizerisches Architektur Museum (Basel), Lisbon and Oslo architecture triennales, and the Venice, Chicago, Gwanju, and Seoul architecture biennales.

OFFPOLINN’s work has been published in the most important architectural design outlets including A+U, Bauwelt, Domus, El Croquis, The Architectural Review, Abittare, Arquitectura Viva, and in publications like the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, the Guardian, and El País.

Andrés Jaque
Founder Principal

Andrés Jaque founded the Office for Political Innovation in 2003. He has brought a transectional approach to architectural design; practicing architecture as the intervention on complex composites of relationships, where its agency is negotiated with the agency unfold by other entities.
Andrés Jaque is director of the Advanced Architectural Design Program at Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. He has also been visiting professor at Princeton University and The Cooper Union.
Andrés received his PhD in architecture from the Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Madrid, where he also received his M. Arch. He has been an Alfred Toepfer Stiftung’s Tessenow Stipendiat and Graham Foundation grantee. In 2018 he co-curated Manifesta 12 in Palermo.
His books include Transmaterial Politics (2017), Calculable (2016) PHANTOM. Mies as Rendered Society (2013), Different Kinds of Water Pouring into a Swimming Pool (2013), Dulces Arenas Cotidianas (2013), Everyday Politics (2011), and Melnikov. 1000 Autos Garage in Paris 1929 (2004). His research work has been included in publications like Perspecta, Log, Thresholds and Volume.