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

Maison François: a french brasserie with a postmodern twist

Paying homage to the grand brasseries of Paris, Lyon and Alsace in both flavour and design, Maison François is a new restaurant on the site of what was previously Green’s Restaurant & Oyster Bar in St James’s.

25/11/2020 3 min read

Interviews, opinions and profiles from industry experts

Perkins&Will make world-first pledge to deliver zero-carbon office design

Architects Perkins&Will and Penoyre & Prasad have pledged to ensure the internal fit-outs of offices and commercial property will be net-zero carbon. 

19/11/2020 4 min read

Key industry articles and insights looking at the latest news from the world of commercial interior design

Lessons from King's Cross?

More property tech, and much more interventionist landlords, will mean big changes for the way office floorspace works post-COVID, says an office developer active in one of the most cutting-edge of London’s office markets.

25/11/2020 3 min read

Discover the latest and most innovative products curated by Mix Interiors.

Form Us With Love designs New School range for .mdd

A fresh take on the classic school chair, New School provides a range of options available to meet the varied ergonomic requirements of modern office environment.

26/11/2020 1 min read

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Spacelab transforms a warehouse space into a connected workplace

This month’s property focus extols the many virtues of transforming warehouse space into workspace. Kara Carter, Director at Spacelab, shows us that this can and does go way beyond the hypotheticals – in this case resulting in a major transformation of both space and culture – and even a major award win.

19/11/2020 3 min read

Many warehouse buildings are considered not suitable or appealing as a modern workplace – whether people are concerned about the perceived costs to convert a relatively inexpensive shell, an association with their former factory days, or they just can’t see the potential. We’ve proven that warehouses can be converted cost-effectively to meet today’s requirements, while also providing much more flexibility for its occupants than many modern day buildings offer.

Clothing retailer Boden’s head office no longer supported their needs or their brand. Teams were segregated across six floors, had nowhere to bring the whole organisation together, and the flow of product rails between teams was hindered by narrow corridors and small passenger lifts. While their existing office space was cramped and over-utilised, right behind it sat a large, open warehouse space; previously their clothing distribution centre, it was used only occasionally for the odd photoshoot. Thinking that their only option was to relocate, they initially came to us to help assess what they needed to help them identify a new home.

Working with Boden to build a detailed picture of different teams’ needs, we developed a brief for their property search, in terms of size, connectivity and visibility across floorplates. Based on this brief, we carried out extensive analysis of potential locations, while also analysing their existing space. The comparison conveyed the flexibility of their existing site, and, through the natural size and openness that the warehouse offered, the incredible possibilities that this space held within it.

It’s not often that we have the opportunity to work with a blank canvas where we can completely dictate the shape of the floorplates that sit within the building’s envelope.

Based on results from our unique spatial analysis tool, we extended the existing office into the warehouse behind it, connecting the two segregated buildings with a two-tiered mezzanine to create one open space.

We positioned the social hub centrally within the building where the warehouse sat, enabling it to become the heart of the space and the business, with the sheer volume resulting in an impactful and impressive space.

Tiered amphitheatre seating now links the social hub to the other floors, as well as providing ample social and meeting space for the whole business to come together within minutes. A large projector displays their latest collections and announcements.

The existing height and size of the warehouse enabled us to increase the usable floor area by 2,508 sq m – without breaking up the openness and full visibility across the space, helping everyone feel more connected to each other and to the brand as a whole.

One of the biggest challenges of converting a warehouse space is ensuring adequate daylight levels due to the deep footprint. Previously, the warehouse space was very dark, with limited access to natural light. So we added four large skylights into the warehouse, along with full-height glazing and louvres along the south-facing facade – increasing daylight penetration into the lower levels of the building to help create a healthy working environment.

Based on data gathered through our workplace consultancy the client has adopted a more agile way of working, moving away from a focus on ‘the desk’. A variety of different types of workpoints to suit the varying tasks required by teams have been created – spaces for collaboration in creative design hubs, breakout spaces, touchdown benches, quiet rooms, booths and bookable meeting rooms of varying size.

The building’s exterior has also been transformed into a modernist icon, with external walls painted white and new windows framed in black.

With one team member stating ‘this building has changed my life’, this project is a great example of how a space can have a huge impact on both mental and physical wellbeing, helping people feel more together and connected to the wider brand.

Furthermore, we upgraded the building’s efficiency to ensure it met modern standards, reinsulating the warehouse along the perimeter and the roof.

Boden is a truly bespoke environment, tailored completely around the client and their needs. It demonstrates that we don’t need to write these buildings off and demolish them. Instead, re-working the building can be a more sustainable solution to create a future-proofed home – and it got recognised for its success, winning a regional BCO Award in the Recycled/Refurbished Workplace category.

Photography: Jefferson Smith

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