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Universal puts a modern spin on traditional banking for crypto company Copper

Featuring refined materials and a day-to-night members’ club, the new workspace looks at the historic icons of banking architecture through a contemporary lens.

14/11/2023

2 min read

Photography: Ed Reeve


Located in the iconic Richard Rogers-designed Broadwick House in Soho, digital asset technology company Copper has revealed a new HQ designed by Universal Design Studio. Breathing new life into both the landmark building and the traditional design concepts of financial institutions, the workspace features a members’ club and mezzanine events space, transforming from flexible office space by day to bar and lounge by evening.

Choosing Soho was a purposeful move by Copper to bring the world of finance to a new destination in London. To highlight its arrival, a dramatic ‘Copper curtain’, designed in collaboration with lighting specialists Speirs & Major, animates the exterior of the building. Operated digitally in unison, the curtains are opened in the morning and drawn in the evening.

The lobby of Copper’s HQ features jesmonite wall panels, linking back to more traditional bank entrances. A gold desk ad gridded lighting ceiling sit in contrast, adding a touch of the cinematic and alluding to more contemporary design elements further into the space. According to Universal, this idea of bringing together two distinctive contrasting finishes recurs throughout the building, to echo the safe and trusted nature of finance with a new digital future.

“With Copper, our aim was to create a space that juxtaposed the traditional and modern financial worlds, cemented crypto in the physical world and reinforced a sense of trust and tangibility,” says Universal Design Studio Director Carly Sweeney. “Part of our brief was to create a sophisticated, refined environment that not only excites, impresses and entertains but also creates a magnet for new talent. A dynamic workspace that provides a backdrop for events, product launches and live streaming.”

The main workspaces for the Copper team are light, with a focus on natural materials and a connection to the street level around the perimeter, playing to the strengths of the original facade design which focused on transparency. A central ‘Copper Core’ runs through the entire building, punctuating each floor, for the staff work floors this contains key amenity spaces such as meeting rooms and quiet rooms. Dodds & Shute collaborated with Universal Design Studio on the project by procuring furniture and lighting.

Between the ground and fifth floor are a series of hero spaces to create a network of connections for staff and a narrative for clients as they move through the building. This includes a digital safe and server room, executive studio and wellness suite. The team has also introduced recurring motifs including a dramatic gridded light ceiling that is seen on arrival, which repeats in meeting spaces throughout the building. Inspired by cinema and film, the grid is also used as a signifier for spaces that clients are invited into and a sense of order.

“We really focused on the contrasts between the familiar and unfamiliar by juxtaposing finely crafted materials with highly engineered detailing to create a series of immersive and contextual spaces,” adds Jake Powley-Baker, Design Director. “Dramatic, plush, cinematic meeting rooms in the heart of the plan, surrounded by light filled, neutral workspaces looking out over the panoramic views of London.”

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