This exciting central-London project, in Old Street’s Tech City hub, saw us transform two floor plates into an attractive tenant proposition designed to appeal to a range of tech start-ups. Tech City is part of the Old Street roundabout development which has seen enormous growth in recent years. It’s home to many young entrepreneurs, who typically want simpler office lease terms and fully fitted suites that are ready to move into.
We met with the client and letting agent to fully listen to their requirements, then discuss and develop a comprehensive brief based on local market demand and office workplace trends.
Our objective was to design and build two fast-track quick-lease floor plates that would appeal to tech start-ups by encouraging agile working. We needed to make effective use of the existing space and features, and incorporate features that would enhance wellbeing and facilitate collaboration and flexible working.
We had 4,078 sq.ft to work with on the 4th floor. Our first task was neutralising the colour scheme – the previous tenant had a very specific fit out, and we wanted a much cleaner background palette.
We blended pockets of flexible working space with relaxing breakout zones, installing booths for solo work and one-to-ones, as well as collaborative hot-desk areas. Furniture is instrumental in facilitating flexible working, so we ensured there was a diverse mix of seating, desks and table styles. We also decided to reduce the number of meeting rooms, which we felt were disproportionate to the overall space.
The kitchen area of every office is important socially and for wellbeing, and we wanted to create a space that would encourage people to break away from work at key times. So we upgraded and enhanced the existing facilities, choosing a concrete-effect worktop with terrazzo tiled splashback to complement the exposed beams and columns. We used planting to enhance the environment, and transformed a very ordinary bench into a comfortable and visually appealing laptop station.
Furniture is always integral to our designs, not an afterthought or add-on. Working with UK furniture manufacturers, our design team developed a detailed furniture specification that would deliver our desired aesthetic and ambience. Comfort, functionality and flexibility were central to our choices. We opted for a blend of sit-stand desking, simple benching and quality operator chairs. We used a mixture of casual meeting furniture in the smaller rooms, and more traditional, formal setups in the larger meeting rooms – to provide a variety of options and solutions.
We developed a colour palette that would tie in with the existing finishes, concrete soffit, suspended lighting and so on – but added a modern ‘pop’ of colour to lift the monochrome.
The emphasis was more on design than refurbishment for this 4000sq ft space. The brief was largely to enhance the appeal of this floorplate, to assist with marketing. As well as carrying out general decoration and relamping light fittings, we looked at the most effective ways to enhance the floor’s existing features.
The key selling point was a centrally located tea point with a large island. We decided to really maximise this, installing a new waterfall worktop. This – combined with the replacement of wall units with open shelving – created a stunning centrepiece. As with residential, the kitchen is now the central hub of many offices, so incredibly important.
We were thrilled to create a working environment that ticked all the boxes for the client, while prioritising wellbeing . We delivered this project during the Covid pandemic, so strict health and safety guidelines governed the build from start to finish. And our team completed work in around 10 weeks – on time and within budget – leading to a very happy client.
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