This is slightly different from the other projects in our portfolio, because this time we were both clients and architects.
For an architectural practice, an office has to do several things at once. It needs to be a calling card – visitors will be using it to judge the firm’s work. And it should be a good place for talking to clients – ours is a business where in-depth initial discussions pay off in the long run. Last, but very far from least, it needs to be a comfortable place for collaborative and inspired work.
With our Greenwich office, all this had to happen within an unusual structure. The building it is in is wedge-shaped, and we are at the narrow end of the triangle. There was a very high ceiling in some parts of the space, but there were also overhead pipes.
To come up with imaginative options for the best use of the space, we decided to hold an internal competition for the office interior design and split into three teams.
Our three teams came up with radically different office design ideas. The one that won struck a balance between the different functions the office had. The pointed end with floor-to-ceiling windows became a meeting room capable of seating 10 people with ease. The main part of the space has a reception area that leads to where the desks are.
An imposing marble slab with our logo on it sits behind the reception desk and creates an impression of a secluded working zone for those sitting behind it, despite the open plan. Finally, the managing director’s office, which has a sofa and a large wall-mounted screen, provides another space for meetings with visitors or the team.
Covering the pipes also gave us the chance to create a suspended ceiling feature running from the MD’s office through the reception area to the meeting room. It helps define the change between the reception area and the higher-ceiling desk areas.
To fill these distinctive office spaces, we had the furniture custom-made, including the expansive meeting room table. The bathrooms gave us another chance to demonstrate our flair for interior design. The whole office design is a great introduction to potential clients of the attention to detail we will bring to their projects. But, just as importantly, it’s proved to be a terrific place for productive work, where it’s possible to both share ideas with our colleagues when we want to and focus on individual tasks when that’s the priority.
We knew it wasn’t going to be easy to design a space that was suited to all the different things we need it to be, but that’s exactly what we’ve achieved.
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