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Ekho Studio blends industrial past and digital future for CEG Group

Sitting in Holbeck’s Temple district in Leeds, the design for Globe Point embraces and elevates the local community.

10/11/2022 3 min read

Photography: Tom Bird

Interior designers, Ekho Studio, were delivered a brief from commercial estate management business CEG to redesign Globe Point – a 37,000sq ft office block sitting in the newly regenerated Temple district in Holbeck, Leeds.

Ekho’s mission was to turn a professional and fluid workspace into a warm and impressive arrival space for guests. The fit-out of the building’s 300sq m ground floor has now been completed; designed to embrace and celebrate the dichotomy between the grainy industrial heritage of Holbeck, and its progressive digital future.

“Globe Point is an interesting and unique project that will both fit with and elevate the surrounding area,” comments Sarah Dodsworth, founding partner of Ekho Studio. “It’s a special scheme, and one we’re really proud to be associated with. The ground floor amenity area has been designed as a community space, reflecting the diversity and energy synonymous with this vibrant city neighbourhood.”

It was important to CEG that Globe Point’s design is aspirational yet affordable, and not a ‘flashy, shiny, traditionally corporate building’. Ekho sought to match Globe Point’s design with Holbeck’s community. Creative and independent, the area is a breeding ground for new businesses, but has little in the way of public facilities to nurture casual business encounters. To make up for the lack of amenities in the immediate vicinity, CEG incorporated a café with an adjacent commercial grade kitchen and events space on the ground floor.

“We sought to work respectfully with the beautiful brick crafted building,”adds Dodsworth, “whilst creating something that was softer and more tactile and also telling a sustainable story by prioritising natural, renewable, low impact, reclaimed or high-recycled-content materials.”

Soft lighting and plants elevate the natural and tactile materials found on the ground floor including cork, timbers and textured clay wall renders which contrast the statement monolithic black café servery bar. A pendant light hanging above the servery enables a seamless transition from day to night lighting; the servery itself has been formed from a solid surface material called Durat, comprised of post-industrial plastics including 30% recycled acrylic with flecks of natural mineral pigment.

While the café acts as the focal point on the ground floor, visitors are greeted into the building with a discreet reception desk and a dynamic multi-screen video wall to provide further engagement of events hosted in the building. To the rear, and away from public access, sits a 200sq m workspace awaiting tenant occupancy.

On the ceiling guests will see slick acoustic panels from Kvadrat’s Soft Cell range, accompanied with dark blue matte wall linings from the Fenix range by Arpa. The expressed coffered soffits in the café space are lined with Woodwool – a rigid board made of strands of straw, with great acoustic properties – whilst the internal perimeter walls feature a subtly beautiful and warm toned clay render from Clayworks, whose plasters are unique blends of unfired clays mixed with minerals and pigments to provide healthy, breathable finishes for internal walls and ceilings.

Manufactured in Cornwall from abundant raw materials, these are amongst the most sustainable and healthy wall finishes available – recyclable, compostable, re-useable, and free from toxic ingredients, to comply with the building’s BREEAM ‘Excellent’ status.

CEG asked Ekho to ensure as many furnishings as possible are manufactured in the UK. As a result, Globe Point’s sofas are from MARK, loose furniture is from Very Good & Proper, and the upholstery fabrics are from Camira, who are based in Yorkshire and Bute. Dutch-manufacturer Kvadrat is the only exception, who were chosen for their sustainable specification.

“Our overall approach was one of considered contrast”, Dodsworth continues. “The scheme’s planting, for example, is housed in various styles of pots made from reclaimed whisky barrels, recycled metal pots and upcycled plastic bottles, which are subtle, but unique, whilst the scheme’s three bespoke artworks by Leeds-artist Melody Sutherland are informed by the Temple area’s intriguing textures, with a layered treatment, set into 70-mm-deep timber frame boxes.”

Sutherland’s work celebrates the grainy architectural richness of the area, referencing local landmarks synonymous with the post-industrial landscape of Leeds.

“Globe Point has been designed to deliver the highest quality workspace in a great location close to the station,” comments Antonia Martin-Wright, Head of Investment at CEG. “It is the first of our developments to complete in the Temple district, and a first for Leeds this year. It is set to create a buzz in Temple and, as the numbers of people living and working in the area continues to grow, this will help to support the fantastic bars, restaurants and other amenities, including our events space partnership with Chow Down.”

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