Telling tiles Workplace materials with Barber & Osgerby, Studio Job and Giles Miller
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OnGoing 17 FROM THE EDITOR The March issue looks at surfaces game-changers 19 NEWS Hut Architecture completes refurb of 33 Welbeck Street
23 GRANT GIBSON ON... High Nest furniture by Form Us With Love for +Halle 24 ON LONDON Peter Murray asks what new London will actually look like
27 ON TOPIC Steve Lang explores the benefits of scent in the office
28 STRONG SILENT TYPE Monotype’s London office is full of references to fonts
52 BRIGHT YOUNG THINGS The Wheat Youth Arts Hotel teams art with design
62 MATERIAL WORLD Three leading designers’ surface collaborations
88 PRODUCTS Brands showcase their latest launches, all in one place
36 WHAT A CORKER Selencky Parsons opts for cork throughout its new office
57 OLD FRIENDS Hawkins\Brown updates UCL’s Bartlett School of Architecture
73 ON CO-WORKING Building BloQ is an openaccess workshop for makers
98 THE SHREDDER Source8’s Dan Pilling protests day to day office nuisances
44 ON THE MONEY Squire and Partners’ bespoke office development in Mayfair
75 THE SOPHIST Mary Ann de Lares Norris and Neil Usher talk collaboration
OnOff 77 DESIGN SHANGHAI PREVIEW The show returns to celebrate China’s flourishing industry 81 MIPIM PREVIEW What to expect at this year’s event in Cannes 85 CREATIVE CORIAN Cutting Edge to create one winning reception desk design
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From the editor
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Welcome to our March issue, which has a strong materials focus running throughout the magazine. Our cover story features three well-known design practices: Barber and Osgerby, Studio Job and Giles Miller, who have come up with gamechanging designs for tiles. For anyone contemplating a refresh of a workplace (or in my case bathroom) this should provide surface inspiration aplenty. Our photography friends Ilka and Franz once again worked their magic for us and the results are dreamily hyper real. Font fans will delight in Monotype’s new London office on p.28. The work of Ben Adams Architects and SEA Design, the scheme includes a plywood surface that incorporates 750 versions of the letter M, whether you’re a Times New Roman, Gill Sans or Arial kind of person. Various nods to Britishness through the medium of materials was what caught our eye at Clarges Street in Mayfair whether that was racing green leather panels or a herringbone arrangement of etched glass leaves inspired by nearby Green Park. The roof terrace also affords spectacular views of the rest of London’s greenery, a timely reminder that it is edging ever closer to springtime when office workers can take advantage of their outdoor space. Cork was the order of the day for Selencky Parsons’ new south London workspace. It’s easy to work with and smells great they say in the OnSite story on p.36. Speaking of all things scent-like, Steve Lang, a director in the commercial research
team at Savills talks us through the importance of smell in the office and how it can even enhance employee wellness. If supermarkets can use baked bread to encourage shoppers, hotels have a certain fragrance associated with them and like it or loathe it Lush is pretty unavoidable on the high street, then there’s no reason why workplace can’t brand themselves in a similarly non-visual way. Our materials obsession this month even extends to the Shredder as Dan Pilling, who we first met at the Surface and Materials Live event in October last year, puts forth his pet hates. Just don’t mention shiny tiles in his presence. Plus there’s a chance to design a reception desk in our exciting competition (p.85). This month sees us jet off to Cannes to see what this year’s MIPIM exhibition has in store, beyond the yacht charters and Ray Ban’d property folk. Filippo Rean, the event’s director of the Real Estate Division gives us his top tips on everything from hot topics for debate to appropriate footwear (p.82). Expect a full rundown in the next issue. Till next time Helen Parton email@example.com @onofficemag
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Production Tim Garwood Lee Moore syndication manager Kerry Garwood production manager Nicola Merry production assistant Shelley Burgess studio manager Elliott Prentice senior designer Justin Clarke design Jess Jilka, Kerry Thomas production director studio director
Special mention Our superb sub-editor Sarah Cutforth has been working on the magazine for over a year now and we thought it was high time we celebrated her way with a pun, particularly when it comes to cover lines. Not to mention her tolerance of our cheesy suggestions which thankfully never see the light of day. Keep on subbing Sarah!
Hut serves up an original blend in Marylebone Hut Architecture has recently completed the refurbishment of a five-storey office building in Marylebone, central London, which comes complete with its own front-of-house barista service. Located at 33 Welbeck Street, the project, which was completed within a tight timeframe, involved introducing a new entrance, windows and core, as well as undertaking a complete refurbishment of the existing offices throughout the building.
Joas Souza X3
The reception features a mix of honest, robust materials, such as concrete, metal and brick, and the desired look and feel were decidedly “non-office”. The offices’ furniture came courtesy of Workhouse and Salt & Pegram. Differentiating it from the usual office building first impression – and making sure that the olfactory welcome is as good as the aesthetic one – Welbeck Street features a fully trained barista. The reception desk design incorporates low-level seating,
so that anyone waiting can sit and enjoy their coffee while reading an art book from the bespoke metal bookshelf opposite. There was a need to be prudent with costs and to this end, the timber used on the walls in the toilets was reused from another building. The scheme, which is 986sq m in total – with the lower ground floor the largest space at 188sq m – has already been pre-let.
Camira’s global report is on trend
Woven Image hits landmark
Milliken launches its new Freelay LVT collection Milliken has launched Freelay LVT, a new addition to its luxury vinyl tile (LVT) range. The Freelay LVT collection includes six designs and features adhesive-free installation. Freelay LVT planks and tiles have been created for easy installation and maintenance, and are particularly beneficial where regular access to underfloor facilities is needed, such as within commercial environments. The range was designed to integrate with Milliken’s carpet tile collections and has been created using HD photo realistic imagery to replicate wood and stone surfaces.
Living Atlas interactive mural
Sustainable textile firm Woven Image recently celebrated the conversion of 80 million recycled plastic bottles from oceans and landfill to make its products. For more than 20 years the company has embraced environmental sustainability in design and has delivered textile solutions that are committed to high levels of environmental performance. For every 1,000 sheets of its recycled content EchoPanel decorative panelling that is manufactured, approximately 42 tonnes of post-consumer waste PET plastic is diverted from landfill.
Design studio The Agency of Design has created the Living Atlas, a sculptural interactive mural for the offices of insurance firm Liberty Specialty Markets (LSM). The digitally augmented mural, made from DuPont Corian, is on the wall behind the reception of LSM’s HQ at 20 Fenchurch Street in the City of London. Animations projected on to the Corian reflect the data that informs LSM’s business. Corian specialist Cutting Edge used parametric software to digitally cut five panels in Glacier White Corian, which were handfinished to form the faceted surface.
Textile manufacturer Camira has launched its latest global trend report, focusing on the key trends inspiring commercial interiors. The report, Evolution: Global Trend Directions 2017/18, is a celebration of how we have developed to become such a unique and complex species. It takes readers through four main interior trends, looking at individual colour and textile palettes and combinations. Camira will continue to share regular updates and insights, as well as looking at particular projects that reflect the trends.
GRANT GIBSON ON
High Nest furniture by +Halle Compared to a tennis umpire’s chair by its designer, Form Us With Love, this elegant hybrid seating offers a surprisingly fascinating perspective on the office The Nest collection of seating and tables from Danish manufacturer +Halle is another one of those currently fashionable hybrid projects for the office breakout zone. In an accompanying film, various members from its design team, the Swedish studio Form Us With Love, expound on the notion of the changing nature of the workplace meeting – going from formal to informal – and how the boundary between the home and the office has blurred. All of which is fair enough and something we’ve investigated regularly in this column. While most of the range exudes that Scandinavian sense of minimal good taste (there are plenty of curves and much of the collection is available in a timber frame), what really makes Nest a little different is the long-legged sofa and accompanying table. It’s a rather odd kind of mongrel cross between a bar stool and a lounge chair. The idea is apparently that the additional height (the seat of the sofa stands at 78cm and the table is 102cm) breaks up the monotony of the office landscape, while also allowing people standing up to join a meeting and still maintain eye contact with those sitting down. It’s a neat enough idea and taking a pew, as I did recently at the Coexistence showroom in north London after being tipped off about the collection by Relay Design (which featured in The Shredder in last month’s issue), is a surprisingly fascinating and rather enjoyable experience – providing a subtly different perspective on the space surrounding you. In fact it put me in mind of the Ladder That Likes The Wall ladder-cum-seat by the young designer Xenia Moseley which was created for Richard Rogers as part of the Wish List exhibition, sponsored by Benchmark and the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC), at the V&A a couple of years ago. Form Us With Love, meanwhile, has compared it to a tennis umpire’s chair. However, it’s also a design that asks some searching questions of its manufacturer. As the designer points out in a small booklet that was released with the launch of the collection last
year: “If you have a longer structure that you want to keep ‘clean’ aesthetically then the stresses on the joints and spot welds increase. We invested a lot of time in developing the right steel frame that would hold its lines but not take over visually.” It goes on to add: “A simple, rational metal construction with bent tubes is the optimal way to create a simple but durable leg construction but keep some spring.” But there are issues. The elliptical footrest on both the table and chair, which presumably provides structural strength and are necessary for comfort, also adds visual clutter. While I loved the quality and stitching of the Kvadrat fabric, I have to confess to being less
certain about the manner in which the footrest was attached to the legs with screws. It seems to me this would be a decent solution if the rest of the collection had a raw, industrial feel, but it hasn’t – instead it’s rather elegant. Finally, on the sofa that I looked at, the welding on the frame appeared somewhat crude – which is strange when you consider that the designer is keen to emphasise the craft credentials of the piece, writing: “Design shouldn’t be put on a pedestal necessarily, but the idea of celebrating real craft is worth lifting. In this case, lifting a little higher from the ground than usual.” No question there’s some interesting thinking going on here – and in terms of the way our offices are evolving with the acceptance that workers require different types of space to accomplish a variety of tasks – it seems completely en pointe. Sad to say, though, I wasn’t wholly convinced by the execution.
PETER MURRAY ON LONDON
What will tomorrow’s London look like? As large-scale regeneration projects start to reshape a number of areas, Sadiq Khan must communicate a clearer vision of the city as a whole
early every conference or lecture that I attend on the subject of city planning starts with a statement about the growth of cities in general: “According to the United Nations, 54% of the world’s population lives in urban areas, a proportion that is expected to increase to 66% by 2050.” Or, if they are referring to London in particular: “Our population is projected to grow by 70,000 per year to 10.5 million by 2041.” We understand that as a result cities have got to get more dense, yet it continues to surprise me how little consensus there is – particularly in London – about what a denser city might be like. Although we need somewhere around 60,000 new homes a year, we struggle to understand what sort of city this is going to create. I thought of this when I visited Beirut to look at the regeneration of the Lebanese capital. During the Lebanese civil war from 1975-1990 Muslims and Christians from west and east Beirut respectively attacked each other across the central area of the city and turned it into rubble. When peace came, the Solidere development company, a public-private venture, took over the area and began rebuilding. Brit Angus Gavin – formerly of the London Docklands Development Corporation – was responsible for a masterplan that retained much of the street grid and view corridors from before the war, opened up some of the Roman remains, restored key landmarks and hired a bevy of international names to design new buildings. The restored buildings retain the old street pattern and scale of the centre of the city before the war but are now pedestrianised and stand next to towers by Foster & Partners and Herzog & de Meuron, which as standalone designs are
fair enough but offer little to the public realm. The old streets made better pieces of city. In London we are developing a whole range of places of a similar size to central Beirut – King’s Cross, Stratford, the Royals, Elephant and Castle, Wood Wharf, Greenwich Peninsula, Cricklewood, Tottenham, Meridian Water and Old Oak Common. Apart from the fact that Allies & Morrison seems to be involved with a majority of projects at some stage or other, we struggle to have any coherent idea of what shape our city should be in the future. There are good examples of masterplans like King’s Cross but, with each “estate” taking a different approach to place-shaping, there are no typologies that reassure a nervous public. No modern equivalent of the terraced house, the mansion block, the Cerdà grid, Haussmann apartment or the standard 8m by 40m suburban block. In a period of fast growth for the city – and one in which the influence of London’s borough planners is waning because of their eviscerated departments – perhaps we need new typologies: the modern mansion block that provides density at modest height; the courtyard; the back-to-back; the podium that provides a human scale on the ground plane with towers behind; and streets. As mayor of London, Sadiq Khan needs to start thinking about this as he works on his new London Plan. The faceless, evidence-driven documents of past mayors failed to give any hint of what sort of city the London Plan delivered. If he is serious about his slogan of a “city for all Londoners”, the mayor must explain his plan in a way that all Londoners can understand just what sort of city it is going to be.
What new building typologies does London need? @PGSMurray & @onofficemag
Photography by Bernd Ott / Illustration by Alessandro Cripsta
Wake up and smell the office Steve Lang, director in the commercial research team at Savills, WORDS BY CHARLOTTE TAYLOR
explains the untapped potential of scent in workplace design
esigning an office that your employees enjoy spending time in is recognised to have a positive impact on productivity, staff retention and ultimately the bottom line. As an industry, we create buildings to appeal to sight, acoustics and touch, but what about the sense of smell?” asks Steve Lang. Lang is director of the commercial research team at Savills and author of What Workers Want 2016, in partnership with the British Council for Offices. The BCO and Savills recently teamed up again for a survey that suggests that employees have begun to attach greater significance to smell in the workplace. “Of 1,000 office workers, 75% said that smell was important to them – up from 67% when we last ran the survey in 2013 – but only 60% are satisfied with the smell of their workplace,” he says. While scent in the office and its impact on employee wellbeing is being taken increasingly seriously by occupiers, retailers are currently leading the way in utilising the power of scent, where the most effective spaces draw on all five senses to create a holistic customer experience. Ambius, one of the largest providers of workplace scenting, claims that 75% of the emotions that we generate each day are affected by smell, and yet scent is still regularly left out of the equation in office design. “Smell may rear its head during design discussions around ventilation and the proximity of kitchens to workspaces, or in comments between colleagues annoyed at someone’s particularly pungent lunch, but it is seldom considered as something that could impact workplace wellbeing,” says Lang.
Steve Lang: “A corporate scent can be a type of sensory branding”
The role of smell has been harnessed in retail, where it is predominantly used to drive sales, as well as in the hospitality industry, but scent has a different task in the office, suggests Lang. Positive effects aren’t limited to maintaining a calm ambience, but could range from improving mood to increasing employee focus. Smell memory is the most powerful part of our memory, triggering strong emotional responses, and a pleasant scent can go as far as to elevate mood by 40%, according to Ambius. “Scents such as lavender, pine and
eucalyptus are reported to alleviate stress,” Lang explains. “Others such as lemon and jasmine can be employed to improve concentration and accuracy.” Some office occupiers have gone even further by developing their own signature scents – to soothe or energise staff, but also to strengthen corporate identity: “Having a corporate scent can be a form of sensory branding; providing consistency across offices and evoking specific emotions among employees and visitors.” But, with scent causing strong emotional responses in the individual, there are several considerations to be made. Just like office lighting, acoustics, temperature and other environmental factors, what works for one employee is counterproductive for another: “Of course, scenting the office may not be to everyone’s taste, and organisations need to be aware of sensitivities among the workforce, otherwise the benefit to some employees could be wiped out by headaches and allergies among others,” says Lang. “Nonetheless, the evidence in favour of actively managing the smell of the office is growing,” he concludes. “Don’t be surprised if in 10 years’ time integrating a scent into the office is as common as providing natural light or a bunch of flowers at reception to greet clients.”
In the next issue Richard Pearce, CEO of developer TCN, looks at creative workplaces
Pictures by Edmund Sumner
Words by Charlotte Taylor
Set type Ben Adams Architects and SEA Design put their own stamp on a precisely detailed Shoreditch office that celebrates the work of international font giant Monotype
Warm plywood and a large M logo welcome visitors to the office
onotype is a global leader in type and has designed many of the most widely used fonts, including Times New Roman, Gill Sans and Arial. Its new 330sq m space in Shoreditch, east London, establishes the company in this hub of tech and creativity. Ben Adams Architects designed the space in collaboration with visual branding expert SEA Design and they have created an office that tells the company’s story through its architecture and design. “Although this is one office in London, it might have projects involving people from all over the world – so it had to have a dual role,” Ben Adams explains as he shows me the space. Monotype has arms in the United States, Europe and Asia and the new office was designed for its growing London team and to welcome ongoing international collaboration. Twelve members of staff initially moved into the office in October, but the flexible space can house a team of 35 to 40 people. A wall of bespoke plywood joinery divides the office into distinct zones for collaboration and focused solo work; glass-walled meeting rooms and phone booths cater for different work styles. It’s a small space but feels like the opposite: it’s beautifully light and open, thanks to a combination of extensive sightlines and plentiful natural light. “We wanted to maintain a sense of depth,” says Adams, “so standing [in the centre of the space] we can see all the way through the office. We can see the external windows and the views out of Shoreditch, and through into the other areas.” Sightlines ensure that staff aren’t lost in the C-shape of the building, hidden round corners, and the complexity of the layout prevents the office from feeling stark when only the permanent staff are present. The office is “unusually blessed with natural light” and with windows on all sides. The sunlight changes the character of the interior throughout the day and flows through its glass walls to animate the space with light and shade. This is further emphasised by a neutral material palette, calm colours and pale timber furniture. The decorative detail within the office design is the pièce de résistance. Ben Adams Architects and SEA have crafted a celebration of type within the space – an interior full of visual treats and references to the typographic world for those with an attention to detail. The first thing visitors might notice are the display cases, which provide a glimpse into Monotype’s impressive catalogue of fonts and historic artefacts. “The archive is never-ending and I’m sure the displays will
Designer: Ben Adams Architects with SEA Design Client: Monotype Location: London Duration: Jul-Oct 2016 Floorspace: 330sq m Cost: Â£175,000
“If you detail plywood correctly you can do things that are very, very precise”
Natural light and long sightlines create a feeling of openness Monotype’s M logo is laser-etched in 750 fonts on to plywood
change very frequently. It gives you lots of visual collateral; it decorates the space and makes it feel part-office but also part-gallery,” Adams reflects. “And if you’ve got that back catalogue, then why not show it off?” Designing the office was also about attracting the best designers into “a space that was an appealing, attractive piece of design in its own right”. Adams’s firm is known for its extensive research and informed approach and it revelled in Monotype’s history and employees’ expertise: “Attention to detail characterises what the staff do and there’s a level of precision that you have to respect,” he tells me. “We felt that we had to allow that to inform the architecture and get that into the design.” The walls, floors and ceiling of the plywood partitioning tunnel have been laser-etched with 1,500 impressions of Monotype’s M monogram in 750 typefaces – and the effect is magical. “There’s lots of plywood in this design. The reason for that is that it’s a very honest, simple, fairly cheap material that you can buy anywhere. But if you detail it correctly you can do things that are very, very precise and controlled with it, so it has that relationship with typeface.” Noto, one of Monotype’s most recent typefaces, has also been honoured, ensuring that the modern successes of the brand are highlighted alongside its formidable history. The all-language font was created in collaboration with Google, to create a cohesive visual language that can be used on computers around the world, and 986 of its glyphs now adorn the glass walls above the building’s atrium. The glass-walled meeting rooms and phone booths have their own playful details and feature lines of 474 full stops, each in a different font. Even the names of meeting rooms are inspired by type design legends. Elsewhere,
“Attention to detail characterises what the staff do… we felt we had to allow that to inform the architecture and get that into the design”
Glyphs drawn from Monotype’s Noto font decorate glass walls
storage units were laser-cut directly into the doors, shaped to represent a single bracket glyph; one feature wall includes shelving cut specifically to fit Monotype archive boxes in yet another respectful nod to its heritage. Monotype’s London branch is now within easy reach of the many design studios, clients, and institutions that it works with, and in a space that showcases what the brand does to the utmost. The atmosphere is open and inspirational and proves that even a small office can mix function, future-proofing and personality.
“As architects, we were in quite a nice position to do something very different for Monotype... We think about space and they think about the page; it’s a very different world but we’re all creative people,” says Adams. “It was really exciting because you look at the world differently for a period of time and you look at things through different eyes – which, for a designer, is always an important thing to do.” The architects are already talking about the next Monotype design, on a much bigger scale, for a software team in New Delhi.
When it set out to create its own south London studio from scratch, up-and-coming architecture practice Selencky Parsons discovered the perfect material
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Designer: Selencky Parsons Client: Selencky Parsons Location: London Duration: July-Sept 2016 Floorspace: 44sq m Cost: Â£30,000
oung up-and-coming architecture firm Selencky Parsons has given up co-working in favour of its own office. The move in autumn 2016 from Peckham to nearby Brockley in south-east London has allowed the six-strong practice to design its own space. The ground floor unit of Langtry Court – a new brick building opposite Brockley station by Emoli Petroschka Architects – is just 44sq m, and needed to accommodate workspaces, a meeting area, cloakroom and kitchen. While some businesses introduce pods (vintage emergency vehicles, caravans or bespoke rooms à la Google’s Jack) for occasional gatherings or concentrated work, Selencky Parsons has turned this approach on its head. Instead, the practice designed a 30sq m room-within-a-room – built by Eden Project Services, which worked on its office refurbishment for Given London (OnOffice Mar 2015). This is where the workstations are, while the other functions happen in the area around the front door and to one side. For the room, co-founders Sam Selencky (formerly of Patel Taylor) and David Parsons (who was with Arup Associates in Shanghai) were on the hunt for a material with “an element of warmth and richness to it to contrast with the concrete floor and walls of the original shell”, says Selencky. They homed in on plywood and its cheaper cousin OSB (oriented strand board or sterling board). However, eventually cork won out, partly because of its sustainability and price point. “Plywood gives you a nice crisp finish but is more expensive and more difficult to work with than cork, and it’s well used. OSB gives more of a rough finish, but doesn’t give you the softness of cork,” he explains. Cork tiles from the Cork Flooring Company line every surface of the studio pod – walls, floor and ceiling – equating to 120sq m of cork. It’s the same tile everywhere, with a matt
Workstations line the cork walls of the pod Perforations on walls and ceiling aid storage and improve acoustics
White markings on the floor map the practice’s projects
“It got us thinking that rather than trying to disguise the floor, we could make it a feature” Warm oak surfaces define the kitchen cut into the pod’s exterior
sealant applied to the floor. “This was important as we wanted consistency throughout the surfaces,” Selencky adds. A grid of holes has been punched into some of the wall tiles, some of which have been filled with wooden pegs. These sections then become a coat and cycle helmet rack, a hanging garden of indoor plants, and flexible storage space. More holes are punched in the studio’s roof although, because the room isn’t rectilinear, the architects switched the pattern to a series of circles centred around the lights suspended through the ceiling. Every hole acts as “acoustic attenuation” to stop echoing, and lets through heating and cooling from the ceiling, Selencky explains. The exposed corners – “tricky things to express nicely,” he says – have been finished with black angled beadings, and the opening into the pod has a black plate steel lining. These elements make a visual link to the windows’ dark metal frames. In fact, black is the accent colour throughout, used for sockets, furniture and picture rails. The black knobs on the kitchen cupboards come from Peckham homewares business Chocolate Creative. Likewise, the firm’s signage outside the building is laser-cut from black steel plate. Langtry Court’s builders had left a pattern like an electronic schematic drawing on the floor slab. “That got us thinking that rather than trying to disguise the floor, we could make it a feature,” says Selencky. He and Parsons held an internal design competition to come up for ideas for a floor, which resulted in a Selencky Parsons project map: marking the geographical locations of structures completed from their current and past addresses. And by drawing the map themselves on the floor using white paint pens, it became “simple and cost-effective”, and worked with a few white stains already marking the floor. Normally, desks are not positioned near windows because of the exposed cabling. But the tight space meant this was a good way of maximising efficiency of layout. A low wall has been built along the window that hides the cabling and creates series of alcoves that double as a display area. A small black lamp lights each window day and night, and the content is changed frequently, as a way of keeping Brockley’s myriad train commuters entertained. These window dressings perhaps also make up for any locals’ disappointment that the unit was taken by a firm of architects rather than an artisanal butcher or some such hipster enterprise. At ceiling level, along the length of the window, is a panel, “so you read it as a hole in the cork wall,” says Selencky. It also allows blinds to be hidden in the top alcove.
“You can pin things on it without marking it, it is easy to work with and it smells great” A changing display of illuminated objects can be seen from the street A ceiling level panel defines the edge of the pod by the window
Any accessories that are not black are cork, such as the kitchen’s cork and concrete pendant lights by Romanian design firm Ubikubi, the Ikea stools and Nud lights in the studio pod. Meanwhile, the kitchen worktop, splashback, workstations and their legs were cut from long lengths of oak, which ties in with the Ikea kitchen cupboard doors. Selencky waxes lyrical about their material of choice: “It has the added benefits of acoustic absorption to reduce reverberation, you can pin things on it without marking it, it is easy to work with and it smells great.” The only downside he can think of is that it can fade in strong sunlight. The firm, which has a house in south London shortlisted in New London Architecture’s 2017 Don’t Move, Improve! competition, is to complete two new-build houses in Kent this year. Also in 2017, its NCGM Primary Substation, next to New Covent Garden Market in Nine Elms, is due to be finished. Although Selencky Parsons has no immediate plans to specify more cork, “we would be happy to use it again for the right project,” says Selencky.
Tailor Squire & Partnersâ€™ sophisticated new offices for British Land are cut from the same cloth as their Mayfair neighbours Words by Helen Parton Pictures by Gareth Gardner
Sliding walls draw back to open up the reception area Blood red padded leather echoes the local members’ clubs
Architect: Squire & Partners Client: British Land Location: London Duration: Feb 2015-June 2016 Floorspace: 4,598sq m Cost: Undisclosed
rchitect Squire & Partners has created a thoughtful, high-end design for this bespoke office project in Mayfair with a selection of materials and patterns that repay closer and repeated inspection. Part of a family of new buildings including the nearby headquarters of the Kennel Club, the voyage of material discovery at 7 Clarges Street begins with the facade. This uses Portland stone as its main building material, in keeping with the Mayfair streetscape, with hand-carved fluted stone columns and bronzeframed windows and balconies. An illuminated, projecting canopy references architectural gems such as Claridge’s and the Burlington Arcade. Stepping inside, visitors are greeted by an interior that, as architect Tim Gledstone says, “references Mayfair clubs, fashion and tailoring, British eccentricity, Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen – it’s a real melting pot of a destination”. If all that sounds a bit in-yourface then the result is anything but. Instead, it has an assured, expensive-feeling but not ostentatious, aesthetic appeal. At the centre of proceedings is a mass of bronze, commissioned from art studio Based Upon as a reception desk. Dark and
textured, a closer look shows that it has inlaid patterns that result from collecting leaves from nearby Green Park and using a process not unlike a dentist taking a mould of your teeth to reproduce the unique patterns of the foliage. To your left as you enter is more bronze, in mesh form this time and encased in glazing which is illuminated. This acts as a fixed panel that allows a sliding wall to sit behind it when in the opened position. Cast your gaze to the floor and there is a pale Portuguese limestone floor with a pattern intended to represent the signature check of fashion house Daks. On the wall, to the right of this entrance area, hangs an artwork by Neil Canning, commissioned by British Land and again inspired by Green Park. The client has also installed a handful of smaller paintings by Gwen Hardie within the project. The smallest of the royal parks provides yet further creative cues for the imaginative collaborations on the opposite side of the reception. Here a rug features a graphic interpretation of the park’s walkways; a glass coffee table on top creates an interesting distortion of these desire lines. Up above, a lighting installation by Haberdashery features hundreds of suspended glass shards, etched with a leaf motif. Arranged in a herringbone pattern, these give another nod
“It’s a changeable space and somewhere you can use for entertaining. It combines generosity with intimacy”
High-end materials such as bronze and leather set the mood
Full-height glazing opens directly on to the sixth-floor terrace
to the tailoring traditions of nearby Savile Row. This area features plush soft seating in shades of green, brown and red, with oak doors to a kitchen servicing workers and corporate events. To this end, this section of the reception can be closed off by the leather-clad sliding walls that recede behind the aforementioned bronze panel. Each side is clad in a different shade of bespoke leather – the blood red tone facing the reception evokes the colourways of the Doc Marten boot, while the side that presents itself to the seating area is British racing green. “This is somewhere the occupiers can do business. People want this more and more, it creates value. The building’s done in quite an anti-corporate way but this sort of design is very contextual. Projects of this kind have been well received by the market,” says Michael Wiseman, head of office leasing at British Land. “This [the reception] has been really important, it could easily have been a third of the size but we wanted it to serve as a function for the rest of the building.”
Spacious toilet areas are detailed with veneered wood
“It’s about becoming less vanilla – we wanted the building to have personality”
Gledstone echoes his view: “It’s a relaxed but generous space. It’s a curated space, a changeable space and somewhere you can use for entertaining. It combines generosity with intimacy.” Moving up from the reception, a lift lined with hand-stitched leather panels adds to that feeling of a private members’ establishment. “It’s intended to be a club of like-minded businesses or high-end co-working,” Gledstone says. The doors open on the sixth floor, at the top of the building, to reveal a triple-aspect space devoid of columns with full-height glazing – if not a blank canvas, then maybe a bronze-framed one upon which would-be tenants can create their dream workspace. He adds: “It’s about becoming less vanilla – we wanted the building to have personality. We were trying to design in a sectorless way, the function [of the businesses] is almost secondary.” Of course, no site visit to an office interior would be complete without an inspection of the toilets. Those at 7 Clarges Street are well worth pausing in, being generously proportioned with rich-coloured veneered timber. Finally, stepping out on to the roof terrace, complete with sedum roof – al fresco areas are now de rigueur for cool places to work, we’ve noticed – we see what Gledstone quips are the “Mary Poppins views and where you can also see how the royal parks related to each other”. Above the doors on the outside area are pin-striped details – again a reference to the art of tailoring. Coming back to earth, at the other extreme of the building there is also plenty to talk about. The basement is home to the cycle facilities. Well signposted in white and green graphics, these are brightly lit and easily accessible from the goods entrance. No scrapping for places to park your bike either, with more than enough places for your Brompton, Cannondale, Santa Cruz or whichever brand is flavour of the month with Mamils (middle aged men in Lycra, to the uninitiated). There’s even a spot to whip out your Allen keys for a bit of essential maintenance. Far from the usual afterthought with a few token showers is an impressive suite of changing facilities with lockers aplenty and fresh towels on tap. And, as Wiseman points out: “Decisionmakers often have bikes and often this is where they want to start a tour of building.”
In the next issue Brightly lit cycle facilities offer storage and changing options
We take a ride to Hong Kong to look at the new offices of taxi firm Uber
Against the grain Designer Li Xiang brings a distinctive art-inspired approach toÂ the interiors of the Wheat Youth Arts Hotel in Hangzhou
rt, design and a youthful spirit are the defining elements of the Wheat Youth Arts Hotel by X+Living, an 80-room hotel on the seventh floor of a shopping mall in the Binjiang district of Hangzhou, China. Li Xiang, lead designer at X+Living, created the space for
“young people or people who think they are still young”, aiming to reflect the contemporary lifestyle of the city of Hangzhou. Li’s team has designed the interiors like an art gallery, providing understated canvases to display unusual art objects on the walls in order to spark discussion between guests. The lobby acts as both a socialising and reading space and was designed with a study or library in mind. Bookshelves with curved tops line the walls and a folded-paper style partition separates a more private area for work or reading. Yellow benches sit between high glass screens, while green and black chairs create cosy nooks for socialising. Finishing touches include a black dog statue with a chain lead and black and brown Chinese checkers that form the shape of a world map on one wall. The guest rooms feature white walls and customised furniture in light timber, including a desk, clothing rail and an easel to encourage artistic expression from guests. A geometric headboard frames each bed and an en-suite bathroom is separated from the main space by glass walls. The rooms are finished in a variety of colours, including light pink, beige, dark grey and navy. In keeping with the creative theme, each room contains an art screen that slides to one side to reveal the television. Splashes of colour on the screens create a strong contrast to the neutral palette in the room, drawing attention to colloquial greetings such as “you alright” and “what’s up man”. Art and communication are woven through the quirky corridors of the hotel. “With the use of our originally designed paintings in the corridors and public areas, we try to make guests feel like [they are] walking in an art gallery,” Li explains. Black detailing and a variety of artwork combine to add a sense of intrigue to the long white corridors. “The general mood for this hotel is artistic – we use music, painting and reading... to decorate the whole atmosphere of the hotel,” says Li.
The lobby has the air of a library, with bright glass-framed sofas
Chinese checkers create a visually playful corridor installation An art screen both hides the TV and adds colour to bedrooms
An upside-down pink bicycle is one of many artistic interventions Geometric headboards curve round each bed
Colourful Chinese checkers adorn one ceiling, a pink bicycle hangs upside down from another and every hallway features informal signage – even a grand piano. “This allows guests to amuse themselves, share the charm of music and take music as a tool of silent communication between strangers,” she adds. “The coffee bar adopted the design and colours of the bookshelf in the lobby and creates a feeling of a coffee bar in a bookstore. It also presented the artistic and literary atmosphere of the hotel,” Li says of the main socialising space. On the ceiling, seven small wooden figures with parachutes are positioned as if in flight. For Li they are “embracing the world in the most graceful posture, which reflects the intention of the hotel, a youth art hotel for every guest who is fond of challenges and arts”. Two smaller study spaces feature more bookshelves, a small games room gives guests further opportunities to meet and socialise and another smaller room contains bicycles for spin classes. The Wheat Youth Arts Hotel is one of many new design hotels that are targeting millennial travellers, but it takes a unique gallery-like approach, encouraging social interaction through art as well as varied social and work/study spaces. “A sense of caring and communication can be felt everywhere,” says Li. “This is a hotel that says hello to guests with walls, a hotel that looks like a gallery, a hotel that is willing to accompany you, and a hotel that makes you willing to sing a song or draw a painting for others.”
Back to school With former students on the design team, Hawkins\Brown’s airy upgrade to the Bartlett retains its experimental spirit
Hawkins\Brown’s airy building connects visually with the street
ith a strong representation of its alumni within the practice, Hawkins\ Brown has enjoyed a long-standing relationship with the Bartlett School of Architecture, part of University College London (UCL). Four years ago this relationship was formalised when it won, via invited competition,
the commission for a modest extension and light internal refurbishment of the school’s building in Gordon Street, Bloomsbury. Over the course of the consultation period, the brief evolved into a much more significant project: to create a modern, light-filled building to accommodate the school’s 1,000 students and 134 staff, built on
the structural concrete frame of the original – introducing approximately 3,000sq m of additional space. As part of the plan, the architect moved the faculty library and School of Planning into UCL’s nearby Central House building, and turned two warehouses on Hampstead Road, north of the UCL campus, into temporary accommodation for
the entire faculty while works went ahead on the deep retrofit. Project architect and Bartlett alumnus Tom Noonan was all too familiar with the original building, Wates House, where the school had been based since the 1970s. “It was insular and illogical with no views out,” he explains. “There was a racetrack internal corridor, and the shutters were always closed just to give extra wall surface. “The Bartlett is famously run on a units system, each with its own identity and ethos. This cellular layout manifested in a closed-off and competitive atmosphere. A brick moat around the perimeter of the building meant that the public were not able to engage with it.” Noonan recalls: “The amazing thing about the building, however, is that you could do whatever you wanted in it. You could draw, paint on to, or drill into, the walls. It encouraged you to experiment, to push the envelope. We really wanted to retain that, and for the new building to remain a vessel for creativity, not an overdesigned environment.” The long-running consultation involved crit panels and presentations, to ensure that the practice
A central staircase was introduced “to unlock the building”
Extended landings are a social generator for students and staff
understood how to simultaneously upgrade the building and retain its world-class teaching culture. “The three main things we wanted to achieve were: to create a shopfront zone for exhibitions, to enhance the visual connection and engage the public at street level; to extend up one floor, creating views that connect the building with the roofscapes of Bloomsbury; and to introduce one central staircase that unlocks the building,” says Noonan. Where it was once stratified, the building now has a mix of offices and studios on every floor. The staircase, at the centre of the plan, has extended landings, and was conceived as the social generator component within the building – unlocking space, and bringing students and academics together to the social core. The unit system is supported in a semi-open-plan setting to encourage cross-collaboration and ideasharing, and the interior design concept has been kept as raw and robust as possible, to take hard knocks.
Floor-to-ceiling windows look across the Bloomsbury skyline
The fit out’s robust detailing extends to bespoke lockers by Hawkins\Brown
Everything – down to the lockers in the fit out – is bespoke by the architect. The unique desking system employs key clamps, so each year the new intake of students can come in and reconfigure the space to how they would like to work. Despite the hotdesking ethos prevalent across the UCL campus, Hawkins\Brown designed the school with a desk per student – a system common to leading architecture faculties all over Europe and America, including Columbia and Harvard. “In architecture hotdesking can hinder how you work, only making models you can take home with you, for example, or working in A0 rather than in A3,” Noonan explains. “With a brief to maximise the desk space from the building’s original capacity of 300 to a capacity of 1,000, and an ambition to provide
additional, unprogrammed spaces, while retaining the original structure of the building, one of the key challenges was to eke as much space from the structure as possible.” Within the building’s extension, the plywood floors and ceiling create a warm and tactile differential. There is a clear marker of where it transitions into timber. “We wanted the building to retain the logic of its journey over the last 40 years’ Noonan explains. “It’s exposed and it’s honest and tells the story of its transformation.”
In the next issue Look out for our new RegiOn section
Making Words by Helen Parton & Charlotte Taylor
surfaces Image by Ilka & Franz
work A workplace materials special with inspirational tiles from a trio of high-profile practices: Barber and Osgerby, Studio Job and Giles Miller
A Puzzle game of infinite possibilities British design studio Barber & Osgerby has turned their hands to a playful range of geometric patterned floor tiles for Mutina
he British duo Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby set up their eponymous studio over 20 years ago and in that time have been responsible for a diverse range of work from furniture and lighting to installations and limited edition pieces. One of Barber & Osgerby’s most recent collaborations is with Mutina on a tile collection called Puzzle. Exclusively available from Domus, the tile showroom hopes it will be a great fit for most project environments, including workplaces. “It’s a game with infinite outcomes,” Barber and Osgerby say. Puzzle was created by experimenting with simple geometric forms. By making a series of physical models, the two were able to research possible compositions and develop potential patterns on the tiles. The next step was adding in choices about colour and tone to bring the collection to fruition. Both plain and solid coloured tiles vary things up, creating a moment of calm to contrast with the energy of the abstract patterns. During the design process the duo noticed that certain shapes created images that looked like an abstract map, which inspired the idea of using European islands as reference points for the colours of the collection. The eight chromatic families in the collection are therefore named after European islands. The neutral colours represent the isles of Faroe, Gotland, Aland, Anglesey and Skye, while the warmer, brighter shades take their cues from Mediterranean islands such as Crete, Milos and Murano. There is a composition of six graphic patterns in three colours and a set of two symmetrical patterns in two colours called Edge with three variations in solid colours. In other words, no shortage of textural combinations. They say: “The geometric shapes become softer and more fluid as the puzzle grows, allowing patterns to ebb and flow. Objects emerge like maps, islands or clouds, with endless possible permutations, meaning that whenever Puzzle is used it will always be unique.”
“Endless possible permutations mean that whenever Puzzle is used it will always be unique”
Jessica Kingelfuss X2
Having worked with manufacturers from B&B Italia and Cappellini to Flos and Knoll, one of their best-known commissions is of course 2012’s Olympic torch, where again materials were at the heart of the design. Eight thousand circles were made in the aluminium alloy, more commonly used in the aerospace and automotive industries, using cutting-edge laser technologies. The circles not only represented all of those who took part in the torch relay that year but let you see right to heart of the flame. The torch’s materiality added to its usability, in that the whole thing weighed less than a kilo and, given the aluminium’s robustness, could function in high altitude, sub-zero temperatures and high winds. Aluminium, together with steel and composite materials, was also the material of choice for Forecast, Barber & Osgerby’s contri-
bution to last year’s inaugural London Design Biennale. This 7.5 tonne structure, installed in the courtyard of Somerset House, consisted of a group of wind masts and rotating elements inspired by weather measuring instruments, with movement triggered as the wind blew. More recently, Barber & Osgerby worked on a new edition of the B&B Italia Tobi-Ishi table on the occasion of the reopening of several areas of the Sir John Soane’s Museum in London. The table was inspired by the simplicity and elegance of Japanese joinery and is constructed from three large pieces of European oak.
Designers Jay Osgerby and Edward Barber
left Barber & Osgerby’s Puzzle tiles for Mutina
Touch wood Studio Job’s Wood tile collection for Bisazza is a move into more accessible design
Dennis Brandsma X3
isazza’s Wood tiles from Studio Job were previewed at last year’s London Design Festival before the full range was launched in October. The Antwerp and Amsterdam-based design duo’s flooring accompanies Wood collections created by Kiki van Eijk, Edward van Vliet and Bisazza Design Studio for the Italian manufacturer’s first venture into wooden products. Bisazza also introduced new Mosaic ranges from Alessandro Mendini, Ferruccio Laviani and Kiki van Eijk. Studio Job founders Job Smeets and Nynke Tynagel, who first met at Design Academy Eindhoven, are best known for their rebellious and personal one-off pieces, interiors and installations. This tile collection showcases their playful, expressive approach, and it was important to them that the products were more more accessible than their earlier work. Studio Job’s tiles come in a range of colours and patterns, contrasting natural tones with bright colours and combining geometric-shaped elements to create a 3D effect. The mix of modern techniques and geometry makes for a timeless appeal and eccentric take on classic parquet. “We went back to history because you always see this pattern a lot in tile floors,” says Tynagel. “I always loved the three-dimensional effect.” The collection includes Cannage, Plissage, Bloc, Zig Zag, Escalier and Gingham – the latter featuring multicoloured checkerboard squares that can be laser-engraved with Studio Job’s iconic animal skeletons. In this way, the collection expands on the duo’s past work for Bisazza, which included tiles decorated with imagery inspired by the Industrial Revolution. The skeletons have featured in tiles, wallpaper and furniture from the studio, and adding them to the floor creates an effective fossil-like effect.“They are our identity, our bread and butter. We have a huge library of icons and we wanted to make a link to previous collections that
The Escalier design gives the effect of 3D cubes
left The tiles can be used in domestic and office interiors
“We went back to history because you see this pattern a lot in tile floors”
we did for Bisazza,” Smeets says. “Also to make it not too innocent – to make it a little bit bold.” They see the tiles being used in domestic interiors and offices: “They’re such complex patterns, but still very simple,” says Smeets. “It’s the grains of the wood and the shapes of the parts that are very interesting and different.” Colour options ensure the collection remains accessible: “With this collection we really wanted to create a usable flooring for a larger audience. It’s quite commercial,” he explains. “And they really stand out because of their different way of using colour.” The Wood tiles were originally available in five colour options: Cuoio, Marron Glacè, Moka, Naturale and Nottepalette and Bisazza has introduced five new colours – Sugar, Cherry, Pearl, Denim and Mint – for 2017. The collection is the latest mark of Studio Job’s 10-year relationship with Bisazza, with five collaborations including the recent Perished and Industry mosaic patterns. The duo tell me that they are open to working with any brand that is passionate to create products with them. “We wait until brands come to us – it’s a better way of doing things, when they really want something from us in their collection,” says Smeets. “And once you have that relationship with a brand it’s really nice when it goes on, you build a connection and keep working together,” adds Tynagel. Working with Bisazza allows them to share their work. “It’s really good to show your identity, because a lot of people will see [the work],” she says. “Our more art-like pieces are very limited because very often they are in a museum or a gallery, but this is for a wider audience.”
Job Smeets and Nynke Tynagel of Studio Job
Extra texture Giles Miller Studio is constantly looking for new applications for its innovative surfaces
iles Miller’s London-based studio is at the top of the surfaces game. The studio creates an impressive array of innovative surface, material and sculptural works, from individual mosaic tiles to artworks and murals on an architectural scale. Miller’s interest lies in the manipulation of materials and he has a passion for playing with light, reflection and texture. Giles Miller Studio’s work is created with a focus on the subtlety and detail of hand-crafted design; surfaces are typically built from small components that are designed and fabricated in-house. A strong knowledge of branding lies at the heart of GMS and projects include one-off commissioned surfaces for international clients and strong brand partnerships. One such relationship is that between the studio and Clerkenwell Design Week. Miller and his team clad one of Clerkenwell’s historic archways in 20,000 wooden hexagons in 2012 and positioned a giant sculptural target of reflective pixels in front of its medieval gate in 2013. In 2016, the studio partnered with British Ceramic Tile to navigate design lovers through the festival’s new layout. The Billboard series of four glass-tile sculptures were created with over 8,000 vibrant, hand-crafted tiles and decorated with a swoosh to direct visitors between key venues. The sculptures were illuminated when the sun set, fulfilling their role into the night. Projects for a variety of venues have added function and adventure to spaces, including the Sheraton Hotel in Edinburgh. GMS created a feature wall for the main reception using the studio’s popular hexagonal Alexander tile. The motif features five stag silhouettes to reference the local culture of the Highlands and the positioning of the tiles in opposing directions is a good example of the studio’s clever manipulation of reflection and light to beautiful effect.
Hex textured tiles in Jesmonite from Heliot & Co
left Giles Miller has built strong brand partnerships
Scale tiles create a multitextured effect
Coloured Scale tiles can create a variety of patterns
“They can be bought from us in batches but used to create a unique surface every time”
Another workplace to enjoy some GMS flair is Aldermary House in the City of London, where the studio arranged its hexagonal Walnut tiles to give four shades of imagery by altering the pivot angle of the pixels from the surface. Miller’s inspirational work with materials and leading international brands means that the studio’s name that is synonymous with luxury. Recently, GMS branched out to create its own upcoming surface brand, Heliot & Co, to provide some alternative tile options. Heliot & Co says that it aims to offer a diverse range of surface designs, with creativity and quality finishes but which are also suited to various budgets and applications. The new range is a playful collection and has been designed with ease of application, accessibility and value in mind. Titled Hex and Scale, the feature tiles are made in Jesmonite and can be used to draw bespoke patterns on to a wall or surface to a client’s design. “Jesmonite is a wonderful material that we chose for this particular design because of its readily available supply in the UK and easy tooling process,” Miller says. “This means we can create new designs without huge tooling costs, which is great for producing new shapes and textures easily.” The Scale tile is a classic square shape, while the Hex is the contemporary hexagon shape often used by the studio. The combination allows the collection to fit into a wide variety of schemes. And, thanks to their highly detailed surfaces, both tiles can create a striking textural feature and illustrate various patterns depending on the directions that they are laid. “The functionality of the tiles is in their ability to be adaptable in the pattern they create, so they can be bought straight from us in batches, but used to create a totally unique surface every time,” says Miller. “We envisage them being used in a variety of contexts, where only the imagination limits the potential for creativity and individuality. The tiles could be used to create patterns, graphics, logos, text or illustrative imagery, and much more.” GMS is constantly looking for new applications of its core work, as its done with Hex and Scale, says Miller.“We have also launched a range of framed precision-engineered artworks that can be used as a central wall feature,” he says of another recent project, this time providing an alternative to the GMS surfaces that typically cover entire walls. Applications might change but GMS continues to draw inspiration from the “composition of materials” and explore new projects. As Miller says: “We are interested in how texture and material can interact with a viewer and our work is now pushing on the realms of sculpture and architecture, as well as interior decoration and artworks.”
Clare Dowdy on co-working
An industrial revolution
From an unprepossessing London trading estate, an innovative pay-as-you-go workshop is offering flexible workspace to suit a new generation of makers
member to use. Having storage therefore allows members to keep their equipment and materials on site for when they next book in.” Building BloQs is already London’s largest open-access workshop. But come December 2017, it will be the biggest in Europe. It’s mov‑ ing to a new building by Karakusevic Carson
Could the Building BloQs model be rolled out elsewhere? Have your say.
In this column’s quest for co‑working spaces in all their guises, I am delighted to be able to report back from a tatty trading estate up against the North Circular road in north London’s Edmonton. Despite its hinterland-esque location and unreconstructed surroundings – a half-destroyed caravan squats opposite the entrance – Building BloQs has attracted 170 active members in its four years of operating. That’s because it’s not about laptops on tables but work benches and large pieces of industrial machinery. Sculptors, cabinet-makers, black‑ smiths, fashion designers and bike-frame manu‑ facturers rub shoulders in the 1,020sq m building. Building BloQs is a reaction to the continu‑ ing loss of workshop spaces as gentrification (or regeneration, if preferred) sweeps through London. There are other open-access workshops, but they tend to be focused on community or edu‑ cation. And while Somerset House’s Makerversity (see January’s column) is more technology-led, “this is more analogue,” says co-founder Al Parra. “We are not prescriptive about the work that happens here,” he adds. “It can be from the philo‑ sophical to the prosaic. What unites these prac‑ titioners is the requirement for machines and workspaces.” So the industrial machines and processes cater for makers working in wood, metal, CNC, textiles, concrete, plastic and paint. Yellow lines demarcate work bays, which cost £24 and £36 a day for a small and large bay respectively, with a discount for booking a month at a time. This pricing structure is one of the many ways Building BloQs differs from conventional co‑working spaces. “We are keen not to become part of the problem,” says Parra. “We don’t want to become landlords, renting fixed spaces, as other people wouldn’t be able to access the work‑ shop. This model makes it possible for them to come and go, and do commission-led work.” Likewise, to cater for the pay-as-you-go model, there is plenty of storage, at £2 or £3 a day. “Storage makes the rest of the space viable,” explains Parra, “because members clear down their work bay if they are not booked in the next day. This then frees up the work bay for another
Architects in the nearby Meridian Water rede‑ velopment, which at 5,100sq m will quadruple its space and allow up to 1,000 members. The new £2.7m home will also offer automotive, ceramics, electronics and plastic-forming. “There is already demand for these sorts of things, and because more and more workspaces are closing, there are more and more homeless makers,” says Parra. This is courtesy of £1.35m from the Mayor’s London Regeneration Fund, match-funded by Enfield Council. Next door will be art studios cour‑ tesy of the Association of Cultural Advancement through Visual Art (ACAVA). “That could be the beginning of a cluster of more creative enter‑ prises as a goal for Enfield Council,” says Parra. Will these efforts turn the environs into the next Shoreditch? No disrespect, Enfield, but that seems like a bit of a stretch. More likely is Building BloQs’ potential to act as a model for other areas ripe for redevelopment.
Building BloQs’ pay-as-you-go workshop space
In the next issue Clare visits Martello Hall, a workspace that is also a bar
Mary Ann de Lares Norris, vice president EMEA of Oblong
Is the modern office hindering collaboration?
usinesses today face a new challenge: how to foster real-time collaboration and enable teams to interact with the vital content they require to make decisions, stay engaged and create solutions? Old paradigms no longer meet the demands of our data-driven workforce. Teams are distributed far and wide. The days of being tethered to a geographically fixed office every day are long gone, and faceto-face interaction is more scarce, driving us to seek ways to collaborate as if we’re in the same room when we’re miles apart. Workspace collaboration technology is evolving to keep pace with the digital, data-centric and Internet of Things (IoT) explosion, and the modern workplace must meet the demands of a new “digital native” millennial generation. These challenges have given rise to a new concept that is emerging on the business scene: “infopresence”. Infopresence is all about the experience of being immersed in information from multiple sources, so multiple users within a room or across multiple locations can collaborate like never before. It is about taking the repository of our private workspaces – which include laptops, tablets, and mobile phones – and having a massive canvas, a 3D immersive visual environment, in which to immerse not only ourselves but also whoever is with us in the room, or at a connected distance, in the same information. Ultimately, we can make decisions as a group faster, in a way that we couldn’t if we just had a conversation or talked over video. So instead of the modern office hindering collaboration, companies that effectively utilise collaboration technology have the power to extend and transform the physical office environment, to allow collaboration across screens, devices and geographies. Organisations need to move on from overly rigid office design principles and adopt new practices that match the behaviours of their workforces. The millennial generation grew up with devices in their hands and expect to have all of their applications and data as an integral part of their workflow. So, to retain their talent and to be successful, companies have to maximise the ability of their teams to work together and communicate seamlessly across different locations. Adopting the latest generation of collaboration technology enables organisations to free this new generation to work “natively” and, therefore, deliver maximum value.
RIS OR N
In this month’s workspace battle of wills, Neil Usher takes on
t’s a pick ’n’ mix world out there, of clichés, value judgments, half-truths and pure fiction. Sometimes we stumble across them piled haphazardly together, accumulated “old paradigms”. Let’s make a pile, and work through them. One: Collaboration is a new challenge. It’s actually a very old challenge – both in terms of unpicking collaboration from mere co-ordination and co-operation and in terms of the “how”. Humans working together to develop ideas free of compulsion is as old as humanity itself. It didn’t jauntily arrive with the first BlackBerry. Two: Old paradigms no longer meet the demands of the modern workplace. Many still very much do. While there are new approaches and technologies to hand, most notably the rise in importance of social behaviour (as distinct from the technology itself), we are perpetually operating within a working environment that blends old and new. Very often the metaphor of the old survives, replaced by a new technology (for example, email replacing the letter and memo). Separating paradigm from metaphor helps. Three: Teams are distributed far and wide. True, some are. But many are not. One of the most interesting quirks of technology is how tech development teams function most effectively in an agile engineering environment, working face-to-face, surrounded by whiteboards, Post-its, slips of paper. The more intense the tech being developed, seemingly the greater need to be in the same physical space and the more analogue support required. Four: Millennials are making demands for collaborative technologies. In reality, demands for the right technology emanate from every stratum of an organisation, and every generation. An understanding of the old paradigms and metaphors, and how technology has evolved in respect of each has in many respects placed older generations at an advantage. They (we, to declare my interest) understand why it was needed, and are appreciative. Five: To be successful and retain talent, organisations need to invest in the latest generation of collaborative technologies. They actually need to do a heck of a lot more than this. Stuff like… a culture that rewards innovation, offers development opportunities, and treats everyone fairly. And of course, a fantastic workplace in a convenient location that offers a choice of where and how to work, supported by great connectivity and excellent amenities. One thing I do agree on – it’s a massive canvas. And what an opportunity.
How should offices enable collaboration? @workessence & @onofficemag
Design Shanghai preview
Shanghai surprises This month’s exhibition sees the debut of a new workplace design hall words by
and boasts a growing presence in the city beyond the main site
his month sees another edition of the Design Shanghai exhibition, with the usual mix of international brands tapping into the Chinese market and giving the city a chance to showcase the flourishing domestic design sector. This time round, proceedings will not only be based at the Shanghai Exhibition Centre between 8-11 March but also at several offsite events. Following on from a debut collaboration last year, 2017 will see more activity around the Xintiandi area, with a festival featuring art and design installations curated from 6-19 March by Song Tao and Hou Zhengguang. Back at the exhibition centre itself, visitors can peruse the Classic and Luxury Design Hall and the Collectible Design Hall, the latter featuring design art exhibitors such as Zaha Hadid Design. As well as a kitchen and bathroom design hall, one of the other new additions is a workplace design hall featuring the likes of flooring firm Shaw Contract, seating manufacturer Kusch + Co and Scandinavian furniture producer Kinnarps. Elsewhere Europe is well represented with the exhibitor list taking in Moroso, Magis, Bolon and Hay. As in previous years, the Design Shanghai AD China Design Forum Programme features a stellar
Lighting and domestic design is booming in China
Paul Cocksedge, Bethan Laura Wood, Luca Nichetto
The Shanghai Exhibition Centre is the centre of activity
Moroso is one of the international exhibitors
lineup of Chinese and international speakers, which ties in with the east-meets-west nature of the rest of the event. These include Ole Bouman, founding director at Shekou Design Museum, as well as OnOffice’s May 2016 issue cover star Luca Nichetto, Bethan Laura Wood, Benjamin Hubert and lighting supremo Paul Cocksedge. The theme of the 2017 programme is “Global design, global craft, global manufacturing” – reflecting the rapidly changing design industry.
Design Shanghai preview
Chinese character As well as international design talent, the event will showcase words by
a number of China’s burgeoning domestic design stars
Beyond Object is a London-based brand founded by Hanhsi Chen. The company focuses on high-end desktop accessories, including tape dispensers and pencil sharpeners. Chen believes that daily objects can be designed and crafted as functional sculptures, and each object should have its own soul and uniqueness.
Rooy is the work of designer and artist Yuan Yuan and made its debut at Milan in 2015. Its name means “as if tomorrow” and refers to Rooy’s future-facing approach, typified by this elegant, organically shaped seating system. Rooy also has the same pronounciation at Ruyi, a good luck charm made of jade.
The W&S Group has been going strong for nearly 20 years and boasts a team of experienced design professionals. Its mantra is “supreme living, beyond possession” and the company – under the stewardship of its founder and design director Ben Wu – has positioned itself amid the high-end sector.
Launched just last year by the Xiamen Space Fabric Cultural Communication Company and aimed squarely at the contemporary design market, ALiTLE’s products include this Toughness chair. The team includes designer Jacky Zhang and the name derives from the idea that a little change can make a big difference.
Co-founded by Chen Furong in 2014, WUU is dedicated to developing furniture, lighting and accessories and has previously exhibited in Milan and at 100% Design. Some of its latest designs include the T series of lamps. This collection consists of a wall lamp, a floor lamp and a desk lamp, all composed of aluminium.
Yes We Cannes The south of France property show will be talking Brexit, words by
digital readiness and cities of tomorrow
s architects make their annual pilgrimage to the French Riviera with the promise of a plethora of developers to woo, Brexit amongst other things will be dominating their thoughts. The message from the UK government under the banner ‘Property UK’ is that the country is very much open for business with its own dedicated pavilion, led by the Department of International Trade (DIT) together with various other stakeholders representing both national and local government. Elsewhere, there is the wellestablished London stand, with its prominent position adjacent to the main exhibition space at the Palais. Regional cities are flying the flag for attracting inward investment to their particular part of the UK too. Manchester, for instance, is bringing the second largest delegation of the 550 cities that are exhibiting. Other regional representation this year comes from Leeds, Sheffield, Glasgow, Liverpool and Cheshire. North of the border, the Scottish Cities Alliance is a collaboration consisting of seven Scottish cities, including Aberdeen, Glasgow and Perth, working together and estab-
The world’s investors and developers descend on Cannes
Planning for cities of the future will be one of the hot topics
lishing themselves as digital hubs in order to become more internationally competitive and more attractive to potential investors. One such initiative is the Innovation Lab in Perth, a hub which links the digital and creative sectors to research and education to encourage entrepreneurship. Interestingly, the City of London Cooperation is getting on board the coworking bandwagon, billing itself as the ‘world’s original coworking space’ dating back to the time in the 1600s when merchants met to do business. These days, the Square Mile is promoting its public wifi, the Shoreditchification of its food and retail offerings and is positioning itself as a supporter of the arts, citing its funding of the new Museum of London as an example. In the overall conference programme at Mipim there will be a brace of back-to-back sessions that examine the aforementioned Brexit
issue, one from a London standpoint, the other with a more international outlook. The conference programme will also have a number of sessions related to workplace design. On 14 March, there will be a session entitled New Ways of Working, New Production Tools: What is the Impact on Headquarters, which will look at the new models of working in an office, as demanded by younger generations. The day after, Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO of the US Green Building Council, will be part of a panel examining How To Transform and Reuse Buildings Almost to Infinity. Looking in a wider context, a session on the same day called How To Think In Advance, the Cities of Tomorrow will welcome speakers including architect Murat Tabanlioglu and Chris Fannin, senior vice president and director of planning at HOK.
Ready for the Riviera Mipim’s Filippo Rean shares his insights into making the words by
most of your time in Cannes
technology revolution, geopolical instability and societal changes are sweeping through the business world. Property professionals are facing new challenges that drive them to understand their business differently,” begins Filippo Rean director of the Real Estate Division with Mipim, the annual industry event in the south of France. The yearly pilgrimage to Cannes will see several topics on attendees’ minds he continues, “The 2017 edition will be focused around the New Real Deal for Real Estate. This refers to the new landscape, 8.3 billion people will live on Earth and 60% of the population living in cities in the coming years. How will this impact the design and construction of tomorrow’s cities? There’s also efficiency of resources: how will future real estate projects take into account the need to monitor and save resources, when energy demands will grow 40% and half the world’s population will be living in area of high water stress.” Whether for or against, Brexit will undoubtedly remain a talking point. “Global economic and political power shifts are another major global challenge, also taking into account the new USA government and the upcoming French, German and Dutch elections. How will these
“How will future real estate projects take into account the need to monitor and save resources? ”
Filippo Rean offers his top tips for getting the most out of Mipim
working. It involves many aspects of the business, from investment to the building itself to asset management.” New financing models such as bitcoin and green bonds will also form part of the sessions of the Innovation Forum. Mipim is not just where the London architecture and property scene gathers, though sometimes it feels like that – in a good way – but where all corners of the globe are represented. “The Middle East has an increasing presence, with new exhibitors including Al Marjan Island, and Dubai Holdings. New European exhibitors include Malta and the Madrid region of Spain plus Belgium’s AG Real Estate, Generali Real Estate form Italy and the UK’s Terra Firma Capital Partners.” As well as a stack of business cards, a strong constitution and possibly sunblock, Rean says “Preparation is key. Every company needs to understand what its goals are as it heads to Mipim. If a company wants to raise brand awareness then it should be looking at setting up press and networking events. If a city is searching for international investors then these should be identified and contacted well before.” changes in power ricochet off the “Finally,” he adds, “wear comfortsector and impact on investment, governance and global cooperation. able shoes!” Digitalisation is another major area of interest says Rean. “We musn’t forget the impact of crowdfunding, big data, the internet of In the next issue things as over one trillion objects Don’t miss our full round up of Mipim will shortly be connected to the internet, which will clearly change the way real estate professionals are
Student Design Competition ×
OnOffice has teamed up with a number of surfaces experts to launch an exciting competition for young designers to create a reception desk words by
co m p e t i t i o n f ro m Cutting Edge, in partnership with OnOffice magazine, CD UK and Simply Rhino, is calling architecture students and junior architects/designers to design a Corian reception desk for a contemporary co-working space. The partners are looking for functional and inspiring desk designs that will make a statement about the different companies or freelancers that might work within such a space and which explore the varied applications of Corian. The winning designer will have the exciting opportunity to see their work created by Cutting Edge an expert in Corian surfaces for the past 25 years, producing pieces for Ernst & Young architects and the London Aquatic Centre by Zaha Hadid Architects. Architect and competition judge Amanda Levete
Fellow judge Stuart Melrose is a British artist and designer
Cutting Edge will work alongside the winner to develop their design and fabricate a reception counter to a value of £10,000. With the reception desk toured and displayed at leading design and architecture trade shows, this is a unique opportunity for a rising talent to see their design created and shared amongst industry experts. The prize also includes Simply Rhino training covering 3D Modelling, Rendering or Parametric Design worth £650. An impressive selection of judges have been brought on board: representatives from partners are Kevin Hoy, founder of Cutting Edge, Jenny Oughton, senior project manager, Cutting Edge, Gary Baker, managing director CD UK and Charlotte Taylor, deputy editor of OnOffice magazine; two renowned designers will also join the panel, Amanda Levete and Stuart Melrose. Levete is a RIBA Stirling Prize winning architect and founder and principal of AL_A, an international award-winning design and architecture studio. Recent commissions include the highly anticipated expansion of the Victoria & Albert Museum in London and the remodelling of Galeries Lafayette Haussmann in Paris. Artist and designer Stuart Melrose has worked with leading corporate clients such as Microsoft, The Compass Group, BAA Limited, Xbox, Zaha Hadid, Travelex, Disney and The Discovery Channel, and has enjoyed solo shows at 100% Design ‘Futures’, Designersblock, Grand Designs Live ‘House of the Future’, amongst others.
A dramatic reception desk creates a memorable welcome Designs must meet the requirements of a busy front of house
The reception desk competition was created for aspiring architects and designers (students from relevant University courses or those working in junior architecture or design roles*) with the aim of encouraging them to explore the benefits of using the material.
BRIEF AND SPECIFICATIONS
• To design a freestanding ‘meet and greet’ reception desk for a contemporary co-working space. • To meet the maximum dimensions of 1,800 x 800 x 750mm or 1.5m2 footprint surface area. • To create a design that is predominantly fabricated in Corian. • To include the following elements within the design: – DDA compliant area, – Lockable storage drawer and a lockable cupboard suitable for A4 paperwork, – ‘Manned’ workstation functionality, such as storage facilities, PC / docking and phone systems.
• All design submissions should consist of a 3D CAD model of the desk, a detailed specification, and a concise description explaining the main design features.
does the design minimise material wastage? Has the design made the most of the Corian material strengths and understood the fabrication process?
• Consideration of production. Has thought been given to the production process and the likely associated costs?
Entries will be judged on the following: • Functionality of the design. Have the specifications of the brief been met and does the piece meet the requirements of the modern coworking office?
Entrants can apply at: www.cuttingedge-uk.com/competitionpage/ before midnight on 24 March 2017 where they can also find the full terms and conditions of the competition.
• Originality of the design. Does the design display imagination and stand out from other entries? • Effective use of Corian. Is there an effective use of sheet material and
* Proof of current status as a student or position will be required by shortlisted entrants.
This month our pages feature a selection of products that are currently available across the design market. Our Product of the Month is the Liquid Line by Skialight which can be found on page 91. All of the featured products can also be found in the Directory section of our website onofficemagazine.com/directory
Aspect Commercial Flooring Ltd has specified Latin Pine from the Moduleo Transform collection for a recent fit out of the Braemar ACM offices in London. The flooring specialist chose Moduleo for the project, as it met with the clientâ€™s requirement for a light, woodeffect tile in a Herringbone finish. Moduleoâ€™s Transform collection includes both wood and stone finishes and is created to withstand heavy footfall, making it ideal for commercial environments. www.moduleo.co.uk
A sculptural, state-of-the-art desk area has been designed in HI-MACS for the Ashton Sixth Form College reception. The concept is a 10m long design that incorporates extremely precise angles to mirror the angles of the building itself. Sharp, sleek and ultra contemporary, the desk is beautifully in sync with its surroundings. HI-MACS provides a hardwearing and aesthetically pleasing design with a seamless surface that is resistant to stains, moisture and sunlight. www.himacs.eu
Milliken announces a new addition to its Luxury Vinyl Tile range: Freelay LVT. The LVT range, created using high-definition photo realistic imagery, replicates wood and stone, as well as abstract designs. The authentic appearance is heightened with micro-bevelled edges and deep embossed textures. Within the Milliken LVT range there are 3 collections: Wood, Stone and Abstract. The new LVT range enables a whole interior to be united seamlessly. www.millikencarpet.com
Knightsbridge Furniture The Alfie chair, designed by award-winning British designer Sean Dare, was inspired by the 1960s film of the same name. Alfie features angular lines complemented with a masculine finish, making it the perfect standalone feature for a meeting room or breakout space. Knightsbridge has approached the design of its Alfie chair with creativity in mind, crafting the piece to help encourage social interaction between colleagues and heighten productivity. www.knightsbridge-furniture.co.uk
Republic of Fritz Hansen has chosen Junckers Oak Boulevard for its HQ showroom. The classic and contemporary designs sit perfectly on Junckers’ signature long-length planks, adding a further architectural dimension to the space. Finished with the newly reformulated UltraMatt Lacquer, the floor has a natural, matt appearance. Developed in response to the growing trend for natural, ‘unfinished’ looking floors, Junckers UltraMatt Lacquer protects the solid wood floor, making it durable and hardwearing. www.junckers.co.uk
DAO WOOD presents its unusual Octopus Secreteur, a versatile solution for storage. The Octopus Secreteur combines functionality with the playful imitation of one of the most interesting creatures in nature. DAO WOOD continuously produces designs reflecting simplicity and flexibility to create dynamic furniture. The principle of variability that constitutes the essence of nature is applied to all DAO WOOD products, creating whimsical but practical designs. www.daowood.com
The Circle Wood collection from RAK Ceramics interprets the essence of real wood, using advanced digital printing technology. The gres porcelain glazed tile is brought to life with swirling grains and circular rings, creating a highly authentic natural wood effect, but with the performance benefits of a porcelain tile. Suitable for both walls and floors, Circle Wood can be continued from one surface to another, creating a seamless look. The palette includes ivory, grey, greige, nut, beige, and brown. www.rakceramics.com
Formica Infiniti uses technology to deliver an anti-fingerprint and anti-marking surface with a vast colour palette. The post-formable properties of the product means Formica Infiniti will maintain its shape and integrity. Architects and designers now have more freedom to create streamlined interiors, with the option of curved matt surfacing. Suitable for vertical and horizontal application, Formica Infiniti’s contemporary matte finish marks the introduction of a new generation of laminate. www.formica.com
PRODUCT OF THE MONTH
Skialight PRODUCT OF THE MONTH Skialight introduces its Liquid Line pendant light system. Each system module functions as a standalone version that can optionally be linked to create continuous lines of light with different configurations. Liquid Line creates perfect uniform illumination on the entire length of any system arrangement. Its luminaire body is made of aluminium, available in an extensive range of colours, including matt white and matt silver. www.skialight.co.uk
ROCKFON Mono Acoustic is installed around the perimeter of the galleries of The Word to help create a homogenous and continuous ribbon around the circular atria of the building, which enhances the atrium. ROCKFON Mono Acoustic is a unique product that combines the elegance of a seamless ceiling with highperformance sound absorption. To create a continuous finish, the ceiling tiles are installed and then finished with an impressive acoustic render to create an elegant, monolithic surface. www.rockfon.co.uk
Kährs has introduced its Götaland Collection - a new range of five oak wood floors. In colours spanning floury white to chocolate brown, the new three-strip collection combines lively oak with a vintage finish. Named after the Götaland region – domain of the ancient Götarna tribe - the new collection captures the spirit of Southern Sweden. Each design features a dynamic surface treatment that is hand-scraped, sawn, brushed and bevelled. www.kahrs.com
Forbo’s new Flotex Plank collection combines the comfort of carpet, the durability of a resilient floor covering and the design versatility of a plank format, making it the perfect solution for high traffic areas, such as hotels and transport hubs. Offering six new designs: Triad, Box-cross, Lava, Seagrass, Concrete and Wood, the collection provides endless design possibilities, which use shape and pile direction to create a stimulating floor pattern. www.forbo-flooring.co.uk
Antron carpet fibre
Mount Lighting’s exclusive M-Line range is a new and innovative modular LED luminaire system. The system provides a modern, aesthetically crisp and clean luminaire with the versatility to incorporate endless feature design concepts. The light created by M-Line transforms the visual appearance of high-specification commercial and public interiors. The truly unique property of M-Line means it can provide a continuous line and shaped configurations with fully lit corners for feature lighting. www.mountlighting.co.uk
When refurbishing its new office at The Shard, ED&F Man sought to create an interior that was not only striking, but that supported the wellbeing of its employees. To help achieve this vision, biophilicinspired collections from modular flooring manufacturer, Interface, were selected. Interface’s Walk the Plank collection in skinny plank format was specified, alternating between ash, maple and hickory, echoing the calming yellow and wood shades of the plants in the supergraphics on the walls. www.interface.com
Burmatex has called upon INVISTA’s Antron carpet fibre to help deliver vibrant colour and high-end performance to its latest carpet tile offering, Hadron. Hadron benefits from 100% solution dyed Antron Lumena polyamide and allows for a broad spectrum of design combinations. These accents range from the intense pops of Firefly and Sparkler to the mid tones of Mint and Arctic. With a multi-hollow cross-section reducing the appearance of soiling, Antron Lumena makes maintenance easier. www.antron.eu
Reach is the stylish new monitor arm available from CMD. Reach is available in silver, black and white and comes complete with quick release VESA and C clamp, through desk and 80mm grommet hole fixing kits as standard. The arm tension can be adjusted quickly using a simple Allen key system to support monitors ranging between 2kgs and 5kgs, which covers most of the popular brands. www.cmd-ltd.com
Fowler & Co
Fowler & Coâ€™s innovative Rake Chair has a statement pronged back that is gently pliable, offering the user a subtle massage when moving against the independently sprung back splats. Shown above in with a durable wool felt seat-pad, the Rake Chair is also available with colourful woven seat options, and as a more formal desk chair, making it both functional and versatile. www.fowlerco.co.uk
Desso is extending its DESSO AirMaster collection, with the launch of Desert AirMaster. Desert AirMaster creates dynamic flooring, while improving indoor air quality. Inspired by nature, Desert AirMaster has a diffused pattern to give a marbled effect to flooring. Offering a broad range of neutral colours, including three grey shades, a beige, a brown and a blue tone, Desert AirMaster can be used to create free-flowing patterns and achieve a soft and calming environment. www.desso.co.uk
Glanbia has called on the services of modulyss and its First Absolute and Xtra Cambridge carpet tile collections. No less than 1,500 sq m of modulyss product was specified, with corridors, meeting rooms and reception spaces among the areas to receive a stunning new look. To create the base for the scheme, modulyss First Absolute was selected in its 930 and 912 designs, grey and silver hues. This neutral look was interspersed with the bold accent orange of Xtra Cambridge 25F. www.modulyss.com
The Oka, from 299 Lighting, represents a homogeneous beam of light, emitted from a slim, simplistic aluminium casing. The Oka is just 60mm deep whilst offering a direct-indirect distribution. With the Tunable White option, the Oka can adjust colour temperature from a warm 2700K to 5000K, whenever the user requires. Choose from White or Black powder-coated Aluminium with either direct or direct-indirect distribution. www.299lighting.co.uk
Domus has provided porcelain tiles by Italian design house Mutina for Oktra’s Head Office in London. A combination of Tierras Industrial square and triangle tiles were used with Tierras Frame Decor tiles in the 9,400 sq ft open-plan office. Made from partly recycled materials, the Tierras collection was designed by Patricia Urquiola, combining traditional aesthetics with the latest production technology. Domus also supplied Domus Wood and Selection Oak porcelain timber for the project. www.domusgroup.com
Kährs’ new Studio collection includes twelve parquet stave options, in white, natural and smoked oak, and walnut, which can be used to create traditional parquet designs and bespoke patterns with contrasting strips and borders. For a ready-made patterned finish, Kährs also offers the Chevron Collection. The Chevron plank has a V-shaped design and is offered with matching frame boards. Colour options include warm white, weathered grey, classic brown and dark brown shades, each with lively oak graining. www.kahrs.com
Margot Kasojevic´’s Seismic LED is a 3D printed light, which has a frame sequence, derived from an animation of seismic shifts. The geological land vibrations and changes are recorded and are 3D printed in ceramic to produce a statement object that is reflective of both innovative design and the natural world. The sequence can be configured and printed along a vector to suit a particular environment, in this instance, a circular helix that defines the LED light direction. www.margotkrasojevic.org
HI-MACS introduces nature into the newly renovated Novotel Madrid Centre by using nextgeneration materials, transforming the hotel into a model for contemporary design. The view of the main lobby is made of six large HI-MACS pillars, with backlit rhomboid patterns that portray a geometric abstraction of the trunks of the trees and their leaves. These epic structures in the form of asymmetrical prisms are the focal point of the lobby and make up the backbone of the hotel. www.himacs.eu
The shredder ×
Dan Pilling of support services specialist Source8 takes a practical approach to disposing of those day-to-day workplace irritants – whether they’re tiles or teaspoons
Dan Pilling Dan is workplace lead at Source8, working with clients to translate workplace need into effective strategies and operational delivery.
Floor boxes As the wireless office is still very much a thing of the future, the reality of connecting to power and data systems still requires a humble floor box – often broken, clunky and poorly designed. Surely there must exist a more streamlined method of making the transition to the dusty, dark data underworld? Technology is rapidly developing to negate the need for scrabbling under desks, wrestling with a lid that doesn’t fit and finding a connection for your loose LAN lead. At which point, I’ll be glad to see the end of the floor box.
His focus is communication – engaging with management teams and end users to convey complex data and design proposals using visual presentation tools
Shiny tiles It never ceases to surprise me that high-shine porcelain floor tiles are still used in some public buildings. On a rainy day, the floor is littered with anti-slip mats on flooring that isn’t fit for purpose. The tile market now provides a wide palette of surface finishes – many suppliers include slip-resistance data – and effective management of sources of moisture is the key to avoiding trips. My advice when sourcing new or replacement tiles is to talk with a supplier directly and use their knowledge to help you find the right product.
Communal teaspoons Never is an office complete without a selection of tea-tinged, mismatched teaspoons, lurking in a dirty cup or isolated and lonely at the bottom of the sink. The teaspoon’s role is underestimated and its experience in the field of beverages rarely acknowledged – so I propose tea-tinted-teaspoons of old be consigned to the shredder, and a whole new breed commissioned and celebrated on a shelf of its own – taking its rightful place as the hero of the workplace.