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An unexpected workspace in rural Cheshire

Manchester studio ‘kin have revived a neglected office building with refreshing and modern details.

29/06/2020 3 min read

Project Team

  • Interior Designer

    'kin

  • Project Management

    Hollis

  • Main Contractor

    TMT

  • Furniture Provider

    ByForm

  • Flooring Suppliers

    Casa Ceramica, Forbo Flooring Systems

  • Furniture Suppliers

    Fogia, Tom Dixon, Muuto, New Works, Mass Productions

  • Surface Suppliers

    Du Pont – Corian, Forbo Desktop, Fenix, Detale CPH, Farrow & Ball

Initially asked to provide some concept ideas for the building’s reception areas in order to see what was possible with the space, ‘kin ended up designing all of the building’s common areas, including the striking triple height atrium – which quickly became a driving factor in the design. It was important for Hollis (acting on behalf of their investment company client) to restructure the flow of the space, and utilise some of the existing dead zones for practical tasks such as meetings and socialising.

 

One of the main goals was to create an interior that people wouldn’t expect to find on a business park in rural Cheshire. ‘The client wanted to create a space that completely transformed and modernised a very dreary and tired looking interior,’ says Matt Holmes, Design Director at ‘kin. ‘We wanted staff and visitors to be wowed by what they saw as they approached the building. This made every surface finish and piece of furniture very important to the design. Furniture and finishes are the elements that users physically interact with. We wanted to encourage people to touch and explore these. Each piece of furniture, lighting and each material finish were selected with user interaction in mind.’

‘We knew that there were two main challenges we needed to address. One being the flow and user experience. The other making the most of such a tall and light space. By centralising a circular reception desk and creating enclaves of seating and refreshment points deeper into the space, we ensured that no matter where a user entered from, it was incredibly intuitive for them to use and navigate. Visibility was key to it all,’ says Matt.

The central desk allowed the team to tie the plan into the vertical space, using a 10-metre-high bespoke chandelier. Made up of 4 hoops of vertical illuminated batons, the chandelier was designed in conjunction with Enigma Lighting.

‘The original concept for the chandelier was to create a feature made of opaque and coloured disks, suspended high above the reception. As sunlight streamed through the atrium, the disks would cast different colours and patterns around the space during different times of the day. Unfortunately this was rejected by the client, and an illuminated feature was created instead – ultimately ensuring that no matter the time of day or year, visitors are consistently greeted by its warm glow,’ says Matt.

Keen to move away from an austere and corporate look and feel, and towards a more relaxed and welcoming environment in order to appeal to a broader range of potential tenants, the client wanted to create a space that was commercially appealing but also set the standard for their portfolio going forward.

‘kin worked closely with the main contractor TMT to ensure every aspect of the design was implemented to the highest standard. The team held a series of workshops with TMT and the various subcontractors to talk them through each part of the design. ‘As a result, we built a great relationship with them – which definitely made for a better end result,’ Matt comments.

Connecting with the user was at the heart of the concept, making them feel comfortable with a sense of familiarity, fostering the sense that the space is theirs to use as they wish. ‘From the way we designed elements such as the chandelier through to the finishes, we wanted to excite and enthuse people that visit the building. It was important that no matter what time of day or even year you visit the space, there is always that familiarity.’

Photography by Midi Photography

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