Cobra Studios Transforms an Art Deco Building Into the Coolest Meeting Rooms Ever

If there was ever a way to bring back in-person meetings, this would be it: Design a location for that sole purpose by combining a “dated 80’s vibe” with shiny sci-fi surfaces, and create spaces that look more like a high-end design gallery or a very bougie spaceship. This is exactly what Belgium’s Cobra Studios has achieved at the newest location for Sparks, a company that provides these types of spaces on-demand for individuals and organizations to hire as needed.

The project spans 2,500 square meters within the vast 1930s Shell complex, an Art Deco gem close to Brussels Centraal station, which includes a dozen meeting rooms, an entrance hall, and bar and restaurants, and washrooms — each with its own identity. Cobra’s founders — architect Kenny Decommer and scenographic designer Hugues Delaunay — used the original architectural features as a starting point for their very contemporary interventions. For instance, a marble and ceramic floor by late Belgian sculptor Olivier Strebelle in the building’s oval hall defined the color palette for the project. Meanwhile, existing materials like travertine, marble, and concrete were combined with latex, clay, stainless steel, foam, resin, velvet and aluminum, to create “a universe that is surprising and charismatic; stylish and chic whilst being fun and naïve.” 

Around the building, visitors will find an entirely stainless-steel staircase, a midnight blue reception area, and green plastic walls in the cafe. Smaller delights include table lamps with marble bases, metal-tube bodies, and blocks of geometric resin on top to diffuse the light. Due to the limited budget, many of the furniture pieces were made from recycled or leftover materials. “We had to be inventive with the materials and how to use them,” the duo said. “We used wall cladding in covering for cars, tubes that come from brooms, signage that comes from tuning for cars, arches and handrails in soft polished acrylic… We wanted to take a futuristic approach to the decorative arts movement.” Would happily trade Zoom for the chance to meet up here instead.