Like many designers practicing in historic cities, LopezLopez Arquitectura enjoys making modern interventions in an existing context. The young firm, led by Javier López Franco and Patricia López González, added a contemporary flair to their own remodeled workspace in the ancient walled city of Lugo in northwestern Spain. The 1,776-square-foot studio’s biggest challenge is its lack of natural light: Its only window occupies a narrow storefront, letting sunlight into a small reception area. A long hallway leads to a larger work area (shown) at the rear of the building.

LopezLopez dramatically improved the overall atmosphere by following classic examples of open, modern design. “Multifunctional, versatile spaces, in the style of lofts in New York, or Eames and Luis Barragán’s houses, had always appealed to us,” López Franco says. Freestanding walls and carefully placed ambient lighting create layers that give the illusion of extra width. A mostly white color scheme gently reflects light throughout the interiors. And polished concrete floors, along with an African teak mezzanine and built-ins, add texture and richness to the space.