Prague’s Maximilian Hotel reopens following redesign by Conran and Partners
One of Prague’s most established boutique hotels, Maximilian, has reopened after a refurbishment programme by Conran and Partners.
As we’ve already alluded to in this ‘coworking issue’, flexible workspace offerings come in a variety of shapes, sizes and styles, offering an even greater range of flexible terms, facilities and styles. While coworking continues to make a lot of the headlines, the rise and dramatic improvement in the serviced space offering has often flown under the radar. Well, we think it’s time to put that right.
Office Space in Town
Sam Kopsch Studio
Quadrant, Desso, Gerflor, Polyflor, Harvey Maria
Claremont, orangebox, Morgan, Frovi, Max, Nova, Interstuhl, Boss
Egger, Polyrey, Corian
Vantage Space, Acrylicize, MBD, LTD
There is no logo at all anywhere in the building – we want people to feel as though it’s their building, not ours
Office Space in Town, one of the UK’s leading serviced office providers, has recently completed and opened its newest (and seventh) Central London office in Blackfriars, following an extensive £8.5 million refurbishment. This, of course, isn’t our first rodeo with OSiT, having been fortunate enough to take a look at both the brand’s Waterloo and Monument facilities.
The new 37,500 sq ft space, in the heart of London’s prestigious midtown district, has been designed and developed in collaboration with Sam Kopsch Studio, with commercial workplace design specialist, Area, overseeing the fit-out.
Those aforementioned previous tours featured fantastic themed designs (Alice in Wonderland and nautical) so we’re intrigued to see what we’ll find in Blackfriars. We’re told that the space is inspired by ‘happiness’, and is intended to help boost productivity and wellbeing. Right up our street!
‘We worked closely with our office outfitters, Area, and interior designer, Sam Kopsch Studio, to create a professional, digitally advanced and luxurious office,’ Developments Director, Simon Eastlake, tells us. ‘Everything has been meticulously designed to offer clients the optimal working environment that will allow them to thrive whilst supporting the wellbeing of the employee. We truly believe 22 Tudor Street is the ultimate ‘home of happiness’.’
Opening its doors a few months ago, the new development provides over 475 workstations, split over five floors, offering office spaces for between two and 40 people to rent on flexible terms. There is, of course, much more to an OSiT centre – and General Manager, Roy Jones, is on hand to give us a tour of the space.
Upon entering, we’re struck by three things – firstly, how calm and tranquil it is, secondly, that there appears to be no Office Space in Town branding, and, thirdly, we can’t help but smile at the biophilic ‘green’ ceiling immediately above us. ‘The whole point of this building is to make you smile as much as possible, because work can be tough enough’ Roy begins, noting our faces when we see the ceiling above. ‘We did originally want this to be a ‘live’ feature, but watering it was a bit of an issue, so we have used plastic plants instead.
When we took the building on, we took it right back to basics – in fact the only thing that’s original in here is probably the ceilings
‘The space here has a real spa feel. We wanted it to be open and a space for people to sit and relax. There is no logo at all anywhere in the building – we want people to feel as though it’s their building, not ours.’
We ask Roy how he and the OSiT team approached the theme of happiness. ‘We asked all the staff what made them happy and then took their answers and suggestions and looked to apply them to the meeting rooms here on the ground floor. So we have a choice of nine bespoke meeting rooms, each of which are inspired by the question: ‘What makes you happy?’
From a quirky hot air balloon and LEGO theme, through to an aquatic ‘under the sea’ theme and Star Wars-inspired design, each meeting room is designed to surprise and inspire – and, of course, make you smile. With jars of sweets and nods to childhood favourites throughout the rooms, it’s difficult not to!
We’ve really tried to get away from plastics, while making things as simple and practical as possible. There’s an awful lot of attention to detail in everything we’ve done here
This isn’t just quirky for the sake of it, however. It’s all well and good offering a cola bottle and making people smile at the hot air balloon, but that feeling of wellbeing and happiness will soon wane if the facilities don’t work to the standards expected of a modern London workplace. ‘You’ll see that all the tables have smartphone chargers,’ Roy points out, ‘while the windows change colour with the sunshine.’
The building boasts the first UK installation of View Dynamic Glass – intelligent, electrochromic windows that automatically tint to maximise natural light and reduce heat and glare. ‘As the sun goes around the building and the room becomes brighter, the windows will turn darker. You can have an app on your phone, which means you can have your own window darker and every other window clear. This eliminates the need for blinds, which helps with the carbon footprint and with cleaning. At eight o’clock at night, the entire building goes dark – so none of our light goes out to the street.
‘When we took the building on, we took it right back to basics – in fact the only thing that’s original in here is probably the ceilings. As we own the freehold – we have a 125-year lease here – we put in new air conditioning throughout. In fact, the air con in these meeting rooms is one and a half times the size it needs to be – and everything can be managed by the users, so each room is managed individually.’
Indeed, the building benefits from the most up to date technology throughout, with a Wired Score Gold rating. The look may well be (very intentionally) quirky in places – however this new facility also provides some of the City’s most sophisticated office space.
Furthermore, the finishes (a perfect example being the light, sophistication of the lobby), furniture elements and all-important details are of the highest standard, from the weighty glassware in the meeting rooms, through to the sustainable cans of water in the communal fridges and smart Mikomax phone booths for those private calls. ‘We give all of our clients a reusable coffee cup,’ Roy points out. ‘We’ve really tried to get away from plastics, while making things as simple and practical as possible. There’s an awful lot of attention to detail in everything we’ve done here.
‘This is all about looking after our clients. People are looking for wellbeing today, so we’ve tried to evolve our business so that we tick all those boxes.’
We’re here to help. We have an open door policy. My first concern is to get the meeting rooms singing, to get everything right and to make sure our clients are happy
With a background in hospitality, it’s clear that the service levels are a further differentiator here. ‘We’re here to help. We have an open door policy. My first concern is to get the meeting rooms singing, to get everything right and to make sure our clients are happy. You have to go that extra mile – we go and see our clients, we don’t like to hide behind emails.’
As well as the stunning reception area and themed meeting rooms, there are bright and brilliant subterranean client lounges and generous breakout spaces, featuring bold graphics and colours. To encourage wellbeing and mindfulness still further, a number of inspirational graffiti quotes have been applied to walls throughout.
Heading back up the building, all of the office suites include individually controlled air conditioning, great soundproofing, impressive sit/stand desks and task chairs as standard, high-speed internet access and the latest telephony.
Add to that a gym studio, cycle storage (even this is smart and intuitive), shower facilities and well-equipped dining areas, all of which are supported by OSiT’s dedicated onsite team, of course, and even a tranquil roof terrace high above Blackfriars and you’d pretty much have to be made of stone to not raise a smile.
Major partners for this project
Inspiration for your next read
London-based architect Jump Studios (a Populous company) has worked alongside Serbian practice Antipod to create a dynamic new workplace in Belgrade for the independent gaming studio Nordeus, best known for Top Eleven – the world’s most successful mobile sports game, with over 200 million registered users.
Fitwel has been created from a desire for a wellbeing standard that could be applied to any property of any age and condition, not just the Grade-A city monoliths. Written by: Georgia Elliot-Smith, Director, Element 4
As regular readers will be all too aware, we like to get out and about. With both London and Manchester within easy reach of our editorial team, it’s important to us that we don’t just focus on these two centres. So, a day out in the lovely West Country ticks a number of boxes for us!