Interactive Space | IO- The Space | By A² Architects

Project IO- The Space
Location Bahria Town Islamabad
Type Cultural
Photo Credits Danish Ansari
Architecture Design firm A-Square  Architects


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Design Team Saad Zia

Natasha Afzal

Fariha Afzal


Conceived as an inclusive public and event space, IO functions in collaboration with its sister space “café sol”. It provides opportunity for community building and promotion of arts and culture. While café sol has a very warm and cozy ambiance, IO offers a contrasting experience with its dark, futuristic and cyberpunk interior with a hint of cosmos.

By considering the client’s interest in the cosmos, as they have named their space after sun(sol) and Jupiter’s moon(io), the architects extracted four concepts.

1) infinity
2) stars
3) solar system and platonic solids
4) dimensions and perceptions

The small scale and occupancy load of the space played a major role in developing the aesthetics of the space according to the four concepts without compromising the functionality. The space is divided into three zones, the performance area, bar and the public area.

Mirror is used on the ceiling above performance area, bar and on the rear wall of the bar area to enhance the visual depth of the space by creating an illusion of infinity.


1 watt LEDs form a starry night ceiling with zodiac constellations of the clients and the architects above the public area. This feature engages the public to sit under that starry ceiling as if they are staring into deep space and can map out the zodiac constellations.

The bar was conceived to be a highly functional structure and also a sculptural element. To marry function and aesthetics, the architects looked at the marriage of Plato’s philosophy and Kepler’s astronomy.

Plato believed that the five platonic solids make up the elements of our universe. It was also believed that the earth is at the center of everything. However, Kepler proposed a heliocentric model of our solar system with the help of platonic solids by circumscribing a sphere round each platonic solid. The cube contained the other platonic solids and spheres within it. The ratio between the radii of the circumscribed spheres matched with the known six planets from the sun.

Therefore, cube is used as the basic element for the design of the bar. To play with the perception the architects added another dimension to the 3D platonic solid by making it a 4D platonic solid, thus marrying function (cube) and aesthetics (hypercube). Four hypercubes/tesseracts are incorporated within the bar structure to create a bold sculpture that represents how we would perceive things in 4D.


Info-360 is an Online Architecture Projects Directory which has evolved into a Complete Portal to Pakistan Architecture, Construction , Real Estate and Academics. It was Started Back in 2014 by Architect Abdul Ahad ,Graduated from University of Engineering and Technology Lahore . The Idea Behind info-360 is to provide a single platform for Architects,Contractors ,Students to Display their work and Business Profile and to create a 1- Stop Information source for Visitors.

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