Spanish designer Fernando Abellanas has built a workspace that clings to the underbelly of a major overpass, and slides on rollers from one side
Far from the madding crowds of Valencia in eastern Spain, Fernando Abellanas is enjoying the solitude of his unique new studio. But it’s not the airy, light-filled glass and white walls affair you might expect of a designer: it’s a purpose-built desk space that hangs in the underbelly of a major city overpass.
On one “wall” – the concrete pillar that supports the highway above – a detachable structure of plywood boards and metal tubes serve as a desk, chair and shelves. Using the bridge’s beams as rails, Abellanas’ structure can slide on rollers from one side to the other.
It’s an example of what is becoming known as parasite architecture – buildings that cling, perch or sprout from others. The studio took Abellanas, a furniture designer and plumber, just two weeks to build after he discovered the space. He was drawn to its strange mix of materials and location. “Despite being next to trains and with traffic above, it’s a place no one stops to look up at,” he says.
Parasite architecture is a growing trend and ranges from planned projects, such as residential wooden pots installed on Toronto’s CN tower, to makeshift structures – such as Tadashi Kawamata’s artistic tree houses, which he scatters everywhere from New York parks to the Paris Pompidou centre, or the entire illegal “villa” one man built on top of a Beijing condo over the course of six years.