When Rex Architects took on the Vakko Headquarters project, a hotel construction from the 1980s was already on site and had to be converted. What came out was a complex steel structure composed of six room-sized steel boxes, stacked at interesting angles, inside the former building’s skeleton. In about six weeks, everything but the exterior ring of the hotel was carved out, creating a foundation that the architects could build upon. Due to the possibility of earthquakes, this exterior ring also had to remain free-standing.
The interior boxes, which appear like a showcase, are used as showrooms, auditorium, library, meeting rooms and offices. Within the structure the interior is enveloped with a combination of glass and mirrors that exude a beautiful geometrically surreal aesthetic. The interior mirror-glass reflects the spaces and people in what can best be described as kaleidoscopic. Angles appear to criss-cross and tilt in the air, and Vakko’s employees even talked about frequent disorientation in this beautiful labyrinth-like construction.
Inspired by the façade design of other multinational fashion brand offices, Rex worked with a Turkish workshop to produce a specially designed glass skin. The resulting glass sheaths that cover the building’s exterior are ultra thin and possess a kind of local craftsmanship that allowed the architects to imbue the building with something unique. Vakko’s refined image was also taken into consideration when designing this exterior, which creates an effect similar to a mirage. In order to conceal the former hotel’s crude concrete exoskeleton, thin panes of glass imprinted with X’s were also wrapped around the structure’s outside façade.
The fashion and media headquarters also houses one of Istanbul’s most beautiful modern libraries. The Vitali Hakko Creative Industries Library (open to all visitors by appointment) houses a more than 12,000 item collection including books on fashion, architecture, cinema, art, or photography. For those interested or more specifically studying in these fields, the collection is invaluable and probably one of the best in the city (including limited editions and autographed copies).
The Fashion Center also hosts the annual Istanbul International Arts and Culture Festival, organized by Istanbul’74 (which is run by Vakko’s Art Director). The festival has hosted such names as Academy Award winning actress Tilda Swinton, editor-in-chief of Vogue Paris Carine Roitfeld, celebrity photographer Mario Sorrenti, Italian-Turkish film director Ferzan Özpetek, and Givenchy’s Creative Director Riccardo Tisci (among many others).
For more detailed information about the Vakko Fashion Center & Power Media Center, visit Rex Architect’s project page.