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SpaceInvader’s Nest offers a ‘cosy hideaway’ for tech firms

The innovative office has been moulded into a light-diverse and functional space with a focus on health and wellbeing.


2 min read

Photography: Andrew Smith for SG Photography

Developers Bruntwood SciTech invited SpaceInvader to consider the best usage for the lower ground space within the newly re-developed ‘Glasshouse’ building at world-leading life science and innovation campus in Alderley Park, near Manchester. A former toxicology lab, the project has turned 16 separate buildings around a central courtyard garden into a single 150,000 sq ft commercial office building designed for digital and tech businesses.

“Rather than giving us a brief, our client simply asked, ‘What can be done here?”, says director and founder of SpaceInvader, John Williams. The transformation started by bringing light into dark spaces; where Nest is now situated originally had only one glazed area facing towards a sunken garden. “We realised we could make a virtue of its safe and cosy feeling of enclosure, creating a kind of hideaway that tied in with some elements of the rest of the building for the sake of integrity, but which was also distinctly individual,” added Williams.

Track lighting, lighting panels and curved lighting brightens up the floorplan while acoustic protection limits the noise carried, enabling people to be productive in ‘peace and privacy’. “Our overall approach,” explains SpaceInvader’s interior designer, Mollie Ruttle, “was to design a space that immediately felt serene and uplifting when you entered through the incorporation of great lighting and biophilic cues, whilst also making the best use of natural daylight.” Other key lighting elements include backlit biophilia, dramatic wall-to-floor lights and curved suspended lights. SpaceInvader left the ceiling exposed too to maximise ‘a sense of height’.

Clean lines run throughout to create a ‘less is more’ approach which encompasses bespoke joinery with radius corners for softness and visual intrigue. Curved timber rafts complement materials such as reflective steel and natural timber while furniture brings colour in with palettes consisting of oranges and greens alongside aluminium and brushed steel. Soft furnishings have been added for comfort and to form ‘a place people want to sink into and dwell in’ while a selections of art prints expand upon modernism, plants and data – Nest’s key themes.

Inside, two small and dedicated work suites are available to rent out for small-scale tech companies, while the rest of the building offers a collaborative coworking area for everyone to use plus meeting rooms, tea-making facilities and a yoga studio and wellness space. The singular glazed wall runs down the side of both work suites and in the yoga studio a light wall made of white Corian evokes a calming effect, with changing colours from backlit LEDs.

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