BIG has unveiled the design for a new headquarters building for Farfetch, a luxury online fashion platform. The purpose-built “fashion village” will be built on the slopes of Leça River in Porto, Portugal and is part of the larger Fuse Valley site. Fuse Valley, also designed by BIG, will feature 24 buildings that will be home to various tech companies, startups, and services.
“Rather than a corporate office complex, Farfetch’s future home in Fuse Valley will be a lively urban ensemble bringing every curator, creator, customer and collaborator together in the most innovative new neighborhood of the city,” said Bjarke Ingels, Founder and Creative Director, BIG, in a release. “The urban fabric will allow Fuse Valley to grow and expand organically, like a natural village.”
The Farfetch project will feature 12 interconnected buildings that each represent the various elements of the company’s organization, with the design of each space tailored accordingly. BIG’s design will amplify the exchange of ideas between the different aspects of the organization and create new opportunities for the approximately 3,000 Farfetch employees based in Portugal, visitors, and locals.
Fuse Valley as a whole is organized around plazas, parks, and courtyards that are landscaped and programmed to connect the indoors with the outdoors. Individual buildings rest on a series of urban terraces connecting the main road to the east with the Leça River to the west. Along the central arrival axis, an urban alley will open all the way from the street to the river. It will feature all the major public programs and amenities along the riverfront of Farfetch, including lobbies, an academy, an auditorium, a canteen, and wellness facilities.
The project will be a manmade extension of the hillside. The roofs of the new buildings will rise and fall to create peaks and valleys with slopes and terraces providing employees with open spaces to enjoy breaks and host gatherings. Paths will extend from the landscape to the roofscape, creating flexible way finding for people to move around the complex.
Facades will recede at the ground flow to expand the public realm and create natural canopies to welcome visitors. The chamfered corners of the buildings will merge to create archways and openings between the courtyards that will act like canvases for different artistic expressions. Atelier-like attics with additional ceiling heights and open mezzanines will be created by the sloping roofs of the buildings. Open connections extend from the attic mezzanines all the way to the ground to create visual and physical connectivity across all floors.
The interior of all the buildings will prioritize an immersion in nature and provide a biophilic environment that will increase productivity and wellbeing. The vegetation will also provide a naturally shaded and cooled environment.
The Farfetch HQ project is slated to break ground in early 2023 and open in 2025.