Explore the latest projects from the UK’s commercial interiors industry, featuring the best of workspace, hospitality, living and public sectors.

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HLW promote social connectivity at ICG’s new London workspace

With design elements inspired by local and historic architecture and building better connections, HLW has created a space that brings teams out of meeting rooms and offices and into shared communal areas to collaborate and build better partnerships.

02/09/2021 3 min read

HLW designed ICG’s new home to encourage people to move and connect with each other at work – a fit for purpose design for clients and staff, and a space that reflects the culture and delivers a brand experience.

Having outgrown their previous two offices, ICG’s new home addresses a desire for an office that’s fit for purpose and responds to a more modern, fluid, and adaptable working environment – reflective of their pioneering and innovative approach to business as world class leaders in their field.

HLW developed the new London office design on the notion of ‘Bridge Connections’- reflecting both the day-to-day connections ICG make across their London teams and the globe and referring to the connections of the building to nearby historic railway Ludgate Hill Station. The remains of the stations platform and stairs were once found directly below the building: the iconic, dusty red pillars that once supported the Ludgate Hill Railway are still a much-loved feature of the Thames landscape, sitting alongside Blackfriars Bridge and railway line.

The resulting big idea to ‘Bridge Connections’ produced a design that supported a workplace to enable ideas to flourish, linking people and places. Colours, materials and patterning within the building are inspired by the historic Ludgate Railway engineering elements and the surrounding Christopher Wren architecture. The Portland stone used in local buildings is reflected in the natural stone flooring and wall tiles. Patterning and texture of the wall cladding reflects the geometry of St Pauls, and that iconic dusty red of the Ludgate Hill Pillars can be seen in as a main feature within the palette.

Moving from inherited (and uninspiring) desk and meeting spaces, the new workplace has a focus on providing choice – with people and their connections embodied inherently within the design. Bigger, more accommodating meeting spaces are spread across the work floors, integrating seamless technology.

A more natural flow through the office balances both the confidential and collaborative nature of business needs. At the heart of the space is a new connecting stair, which provides a central collaboration zone, with the clubroom on one level and IT Genius Bar and flexible team workshop spaces below. These key areas have been introduced to provide a focal hub for the business.

The clubroom also opens out to the large terrace with amazing surrounding views. A combination of flexible and fixed furniture was used strategically, designed to suit day to day use with mixed work settings and the ability to convert to a townhall scenario for 100 people – who can ultimately spill out onto the terrace for a large-scale event. The fixed joinery surrounding the stair is complemented by free standing furniture that can be easily moved when required.

Sustainable materials were used throughout the space – some even sourced via ICG’s client portfolio, from companies such as Garnica Ply, who are committed to using sustainably sourced wood from fast-growing popular plantations, which capture 11 tonnes of CO2 per hectare per year. Garnica’s ‘Thanks Poplar’ program has financed the reforestation of over 50,000 trees. All internal meeting room tabletops and clubroom and tea point joinery are sourced from sustainable wood plantations.

Recycled plastic surfaces from Smile Plastic has been installed (made from 100% recycled yoghurt pots!) and Buxkin provides the wall cladding behind the reception banquette, made from recycled shoe leather. Flooring includes carpets featuring green carpet credentials and renewably sourced cork flooring. Paint finishes are all low VOC, lighting and services have been designed to support and energy efficient solution, whilst being sensor smart with PIRs across the floors.

HLW has maximised space usage, and cleverly designed integrated acoustic panels and services between the existing ceiling beams to create an elevated meeting suite, in a space that would otherwise be comprised in height.

This project is a finalist for Project of the Year, Workplace Interiors at the Mixology21 Awards.

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