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Plus X and U+I complete first innovation hub in Brighton

Designed by Studio Egret West, Plus X and U+I have launched Plus X Brighton, the first of a national network of purpose-built innovation hubs designed to support the next generation of businesses building Britain’s new economy.

11/08/2020 3 min read
Coworking and library areas

Designed by architect Studio Egret West, Plus X Brighton will be one of the healthiest workplaces in the country. The 53,000 sq ft building is on track to join a handful of international buildings to be accredited Platinum standard by the WELL Building Institute. The building is also highly sustainable and has been designed to achieve BREEAM Excellent and an EPC B Rating.

The innovation hub comprises a number of different flexible workspaces to support businesses of varying types and sizes. At its heart is a three-storey coworking space with digital studios and prototyping labs for the creation of first batch prototypes and state-of-the-art facilities for entrepreneurs, start-ups and scale-ups, whilst more traditional office space is distributed over the four floors above. The building also features Brighton’s first rooftop terrace, which is designed to enhance biodiversity with edible plants and herbs and offer occupiers an additional social space.

The building has been designed to be flexible and reactive to member demand and changes in the market. The floorplates from ground to second floors are split into two halves, allowing businesses to grow and evolve within the building. This also creates an impressive triple height atrium linked by a series of unfolding bridges and stairs, encouraging users to circulate throughout the building and find moments of interaction and inspiration.

Adopting a contemporary and layered aesthetic that reflects the dynamic nature of Plus X Brighton, the bright and open yellow façade hints to the open exchange of knowledge and vibrant activity of the spaces inside. Drawing in the materiality of the building’s façade, the key circulation space is also clad in yellow aluminium, pared down with the use of birch-ply clad meeting boxes and paneling. These hanging meeting boxes provide a dynamic backdrop to the ground level seating, café and flexible event space, which together form a key interface between the public and working areas within the building.

Breakout areas and kitchenette

With an abundance of natural light flooding in through expansive strip windows, the building is punctuated with dramatic lighting features such as Atelje Lyktans Hood pendant, which function as both a focused lighting source and sound barrier. Throughout, the fixtures, fittings and foliage have been carefully curated to create a relaxed, collaborative atmosphere, where ideas can be exchanged and innovation can flourish.

To support the wellbeing of occupiers, air quality is monitored for such things as CO2, dust and humidity and adjusted to meet WELL standards. A biophilia strategy incorporates plenty of greenery, allowing people to enjoy the benefits of nature both inside and out. The building has also been designed to feature green electricity, with solar panels, as well as a zero to landfill policy, locally sourcing produce in its café, and using only eco cleaning products.

The fact that the building has been purpose-built for Plus X, with both regeneration specialists  U+I and the Plus X team working closely with Studio Egret West from the very outset of the project, enabled the space to be designed with the specific end user in mind, from the configuration of the building to the specification of materials and finishes.

As well as inspiring workspace, Plus X Brighton provides state-of-the-art facilities with leading technology and equipment to enable members to develop concepts and create first batch product prototypes. These include precision CNC milling machines, laser cutters, UX test suites, electronics laboratory, image, video and podcast studios to cater for members like Lucy Hughes, the winner of the international James Dyson Award for her biodegradable solution to single use plastic.

Paul Rostas, Co-CEO of Plus X, said: ‘Our Plus X Brighton innovation hub has been designed to help businesses innovate, collaborate and grow. We worked with Studio Egret West and U+I to create a standout seven storey building infused with colour, light and work and meeting space shaped for positive and creative productivity. As well as being one of the healthiest buildings in the UK with world-class air quality control, rich biophilia and a living green rooftop offering ‘dream big’ views, we believe our unique services and facilities will make the innovators of the future.’

Photography by Jim Stevenson

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