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Basha-Franklin has designed a new arrival to Aldgate Tower that provides a space for pause, social connection and inclusivity.
Brookfield Properties UK
Established & Sons, Gubi, &Tradition, Blastation, La Cividina, Nort Studio, Icons of Denmark, Kasthall, Ferm Living
Grestec Tiles, Diespeker & Co, Cradley Brick Specialists, BAUX, Amron Architectural, Kriskadecor
Lease a Leaf
Brookfield Properties approached Basha-Franklin to refresh and reinvigorate 2 Leman Street, Aldgate Tower to relaunch this portfolio building to market. The existing ground floor experience needed to be updated to compete for tenants in this up-and-coming city fringe location.
The 5,000 sq ft ground floor space was under-utilised by the building community and lacked identity and presence. B-F knew that in such a vibrant, well-connected location the building needed a worthy identity and user experience, to anchor the building to its location and community.
‘We established a strategic design brief to activate the space, strengthening the building identity and creating a desirable, inviting lobby experience,’ says Director, Rachel Basha-Franklin. ‘The user experience strategy was key to providing a social, collaborative space with flexibility and increased appeal to a diverse range of occupiers. The ground floor now has the added value to tenants as they can use the space as an extension to their own workplace.’
The design concept established a space to respond to place, community, craft & culture. Basha-Franklin’s design solution embraces the vibrant culture and history of the area, reinventing it to create an immersive human centred environment expressing texture, colour and biophilic solutions.
The sheer volume of the double height lobby space was initially too austere and disconnected – now brought to life with a trio of suspended feature canopies, providing a standout feature and focal point to the space. Each canopy frames a circular booth below, which are created from glazed ceramic and upholstered leather, and offer a space for socialising or working.
Throughout the space a thoughtful and contextually relevant material palette is visible. ‘We approached the space with texture and warmth,’ says Rachel. ‘The use of ceramic and brick is a representation of the iconic Brick Lane and a nod to the east end tube art; the metal on the reception desk and the feature canopies link to the historic metal craft in the area – and the suspension and fluid form are to symbolise the textile industry and market-scape.’
‘The brickwork cladding was developed by taking a standard brick and using it in an entirely unconventional way,’ Rachel adds. ‘We worked closely with the contractor, QOB Interiors to solve the challenges of installation and ensure this unique feature was a great success. We love the tactile nature of the bricks and its connection to the historic brick making industry in this area.’
The connection to nature within the space is a juxtaposition to the urban setting. Natural light floods into the ground floor through the 7m high glazing, and by introducing light reflective material qualities throughout the design the relationship with the outdoors is enhanced.
The new ground floor space supports a range of activities that creates a naturally inviting and welcoming destination for tenants and visitors. Central to the space are two hospitality lounge settings designed to cater for both waiting lounge and collaborative work, and feature pendants provide both task and indirect uplighting which bounces off the acoustic Baux raft. There are spotlights around the perimeter to pick up artwork details and the fluid language of the bespoke artisan brick wall. The cork which wraps from floor to wall not only provides an acoustic function but softens the space, creating a hospitality feel.
‘We began the design process in March 2020 and within a short time we were all working remotely through the lockdown period of the pandemic,’ Rachel tells us. ‘The fast-paced nature of this project meant that all approvals, co-ordination and delivery for this project were carried out during lockdown. It is a testament to the team that this project was delivered on time and on budget.’
The location is an eclectic hot pot of culture, craft and art – and Basha-Franklin has successfully captured this with a contemporary and impactful space, filled with light, colour and surprise.
Photography by Philip Durrant
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