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Buckley Gray Yeoman focus on post-pandemic flexibility at The Clove Building

25/02/2021 3 min read

Project Team

  • Designer

    Buckley Gray Yeoman

  • Main Contractor

    Open Contracts

  • Client

    Dorrington

  • Furniture Supplier

    The Furniture Practice

  • Seating

    HAY

  • Sofa

    Muuto

  • Recycled PET breakout chairs

    De Vorm

  • Lighting

    Flos, HAY

  • FSC-approved engineered flooring

    Havwoods

  • Recycled PET wall panels

    ReFelt

Buckley Gray Yeoman were recently tasked with the refurbishment and refit of the floorplate of long-standing client, London office specialist Dorrington, in order to appeal to a wide range of tenants in a challenging post-pandemic market.

‘Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, the number of office tenants in the area has declined, so we were asked to redesign and refit the space to appeal to a wide range of tenants in a challenging post-pandemic market, where flexibility was a key requirement of the brief,’ says architect Jessica Hillam.

‘In a post-pandemic workplace, the ‘future’ is always kept in mind and flexibility is key – the so called ‘plug and play’. We considered the growth of a potential occupier, so the space can accommodate growth without stripping out any fixed elements. The Clove Building has been designed to allow up to a 40% increase in occupancy by only moving furniture and without changing any fixed elements.’

To facilitate this, Buckley Gray Yeoman created additional floorplans that show tenants how to achieve this flexibility, rather than expansion leading to hasty arrangements that create a cluttered environment. This level of care and forethought is part of BGY’s commitment to a deeply user-orientated design.

‘Another challenge in a post-pandemic environment is in creating good quality space that can meet rapidly changing needs, as well as creating a comfortable office that you want to work in,’ Jessica continues. ‘So, in terms of the aesthetic of the design, the neutral soft palette of natural colours, the materials and the inclusion of planting is designed to create a sense of calm and wellbeing within the space as well as bring some comfort and luxury to the office!’

Sustainability was a concern for the team, working closely with their suppliers to consider the environmental background and impact of products. The use of an engineered board for the FSC-approved timber flooring meant the life of the flooring can be extended rather than unnecessarily replaced. Recycled PET felt (made from recycled plastic bottles) is used for wall panels and four large breakout chairs.

‘We retained portions of the existing carpet and did not replace the existing track lighting (which was already LED),’ Jessica explains. ‘The use of planting within the interior space helps with wellness for tenants, whilst neutral tones were intentionally used so furniture can easily be moved to another space within the building or the client’s portfolio – all reducing the need to specify new products. We also wanted to create a space that is practical and simple for the user to control and adjust themselves. For example, the telephone pods are built from a component system, meaning they can be deconstructed and moved elsewhere, both highly flexible and allowing for long-term reuse.’

Wanting to completely change the look and feel of the space, the team took into account the building’s context, design history and spatial qualities to create a space with a sense of impact upon arrival. They mediated the building’s low floor-to-ceiling heights by establishing a datum line to draw the eye to a lower level, whilst awkward spaces within the floorplate are used as private ‘cosy’ spaces or meeting areas. The fixed elements, such as the kitchen, storage and meeting rooms, are all placed on perimeter walls and corners to maximise the options available for the main, open-plan area.

‘Our overriding goal was to create an attractive space that would stand out in a crowded market of fitted office space,’ says Jessica. ‘We didn’t want to produce a ‘copy and paste’ design and instead provided a thoughtful design that considers all the aspects of the existing building, its context and approaches to creating a healthy workplace.

‘We were also committed to designing a space that embodied future flexibility, thus increasing the length of time a given space can last because tenants can reconfigure the space rather than strip-out or vacate. The office has been designed to 1:8 occupancy but can allow for an increase in desk numbers to 1:6 with a limited impact on breakout areas and without the need to remove fixed elements. For example, power and data connections were pre-installed within the floor void to allow for quick reconfiguration – all part of a ‘plug and play’ design.’

Photography: Dirk Lindner

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