When it came to designing a physical flagship for digital bank XAPO, the team at Lagranja Design found inspiration in an unexpected locale—old army barracks in Gibraltar's historic center. To transform the deteriorating military buildings, built in 1817, into a modern bank, firm founders Gabriele Schiavon and Gerard Sanmartí cleaned and restored the original stonewalls, creating an environment reflective of an ancient bank vault. Beneath dramatic arched bays, constructed with local limestone, sits a modern office, complete with 3D-printed furnishings, which the designers say seemed like the "right choice" for a digital bank. The space also features a walkway surrounded by shallow reflective pools, balancing the structure's height and creating an illusion of infinite depth.
The project, which marks the first historic space taken on by the firm, took "a lot of respect and some daring decisions," note Schiavon and Sanmartí, who also created an adjoining public space within the barracks for art and cultural events. A walled patio also offers clients and employees a place to unwind in the open air. For a cheeky touch, laser beams visible from outside the space form a light installation at night—creating a web of patterns around the reflective pools and reception area. "Whenever a bank is robbed in the movies, the burglars are dodging laser beams—we wanted to make fun of that," the founders add. Suited for a company that specializes in cryptocurrencies, the space offers a surprise around every corner, resembling more of a modern day labyrinth than a bank.