BUENOS AIRES – The typology of the ‘man cave’ comes with all sorts of connotations and carries the depiction of a male-only sanctuary with a lack of rules. The concept has been around for longer than it has had a name but in recent culture, the man cave has become more of a ‘thing’ due to its acceptance on popular TV shows and in films (for instance, in the 2009 film I Love You, Man where the existence of the male-only zone is the whole basis of their bromance). Estudio Normal has designed a somewhat more mature response to the client’s need for personal space in the converted loft of an ex-industrial warehouse in the Argentinian capital.
‘The project, which seemed initially to be going along the lines of the “man cave” tradition, took a different turn when, in conversations with the client, we proposed envisioning the space as a reflection of his own individual intellectual expansion,’ explains the design studio, also based in Buenos Aires. ‘The design is based on the old typology of the library – back when they were entire rooms that housed the expansive universes of their owners.’ The formation of the boxed shelving structure provides a bespoke furniture arrangement with the added bonus of ample storage space.
In contrast to the stereotype, the intervention is not designed to be a private hideaway but purely a space for the client to indulge in hobbies and recreational activities, often alongside his two daughters. The placement of the intervention essentially divides the space into three distinctive parts, with open spaces on either side of the two-floor structure. With no doors to the enclosure, Estudio Normal describes the penetrable fortress as ‘a spatial oxymoron’.