A kaleidoscope of colour at Birdies sports and social space
Hidden under the iconic Battersea Power Station train arches, interior architecture studio SHED has created a cocktail bar and playful golf course.
Embracing changing attitudes to workplace design, the studio has created a mindful and luxurious space that moves away from traditional corporate styling.
Buckley Gray Yeoman
Dodds & Shute
Havwoods, Chroma Global Flooring
Fredericia Furniture, Icons of Denmark, Carl Hansen, Menu, Vitra, König + Neurath
Fenix, Caesarstone, Solus Ceramics, Kvadrat
Bespoke by James Johnson Joinery
Optima, Atrium Lighting, James Johnson Joinery, Hann Tucker (acoustic consultant)
When we first took a look (not physically right now, of course) at Buckley Gray Yeoman’s recently completed scheme for Elsley House, we immediately thought that it would make an ideal feature for us. So, while firmly adhering to lockdown rules, we asked the firm’s Jessica Hillam to tell us all about it.
Their main aspiration was to have a smart and luxurious office space that felt relaxed and welcoming whilst appealing to younger staff – they wanted to challenge the traditional look and feel of financial offices. In the last decade or so there has also been a vast change in the attitudes towards health and wellbeing in the workplace, and our client was keen to address these as a part of their office move.
For the space, they had a strong vision for the front of house client facing area and back of house breakout space for staff, but by no means wanted either to be less important than the other in terms of design or finish. They also established sustainability and product longevity as important goals for the project.
Initially, we acknowledged the building’s strong Art Deco identity, which we wanted to subtly incorporate, but over time it was more important for us as designers to carefully consider and understand how each space would be used to inform our design. For example, the main visitor reception space has lounge seating beneath pendant lighting with brass floor detailing between rooms to distinguish each space, with walls clad in veneered oak fins to create a strong identity, which was visibly different from the main office areas. We also positioned seating and lighting to allow for the placement of large art pieces throughout the space, adding to the luxurious feel.
The lighting design was also key in conveying the client’s goal of creating a quality workspace with variety to encourage healthier working styles. The main office has generous natural lighting, from large angular rooflights above, but elsewhere – in the private work pods, for example – we chose feature mood lighting to give more focus and intimacy. In the main office area, we wanted to ‘lift’ the ceiling to enhance the amount of natural light, so the housing for the artificial lighting is white to blend into the ceiling and not create glare or feel heavy above your head!
We really wanted to incorporate changing attitudes to the design of workspaces by creating a fresh and relaxed environment. Looking at the finished project, I think we have succeeded in creating a space which isn’t explicitly ‘corporate’ but is a considered space with quality furnishings. It represents their attitude as shrewd and sincere investors and their consideration for quality and longevity.
Longevity, sustainability, and wellbeing were key items from the brief, which were embedded in our design.
We worked closely with our furniture supplier (Dodds & Shute) to uphold strict sustainability criteria – they have a strong environmental stance and have operated as a climate positive business since 2018. For this project alone, 33.54 tonnes of carbon dioxide were offset! 93% of the lighting supplier’s products are recyclable and 60% are sourced from renewable energy, whilst the wood, supplied by James Johnson & Co, was sustainably sourced with a certified volume of 81%.
Also, the wellbeing of staff was an overriding concern from the client, who wanted to create a healthy working environment. In response, we provided a variety of spaces that offer a flexible working environment, with sit/standing desking, breakout spaces, alternative working areas such as private study pods and a library lounge room.
We take material and product specification seriously and met frequently with the client to understand what they were looking for and propose furniture and finishes that were high quality whilst appropriate for each space. They asked that we choose sustainable products wherever possible and were committed to buying quality products that would last, which avoids the model of procuring cheap items that will soon need to be replaced.
The quality of the space for the firm’s staff was really important to us and our client, rather than solely the visitor areas. So, for me, the large staff breakout area we provided is a genuinely flexible space, which can be used for hosting clients, staff drinks, informal events and simply for people to rest. There is lounge seating, a dining table, an island bar, and folding doors that open onto a landscaped terrace with planters and outdoor furniture, looking out to nearby All Saints Church – it’s great on a sunny day!
Major partners for this project
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