Location: Duke of York Square, London
Brief: To refurbish and convert a Grade 1 listed building (situated next to the Saatchi Gallery on Duke of York Square in Chelsea) into a new office space for venturethree, a 60 strong international branding agency.
Our design approach to this office space needed to represent the client’s dynamic creativity, supporting their passion for collaboration and hard work and encouraging social networking and communication while remaining respectful of the sites’ historic architecture.
The plan took inspiration from key elements of the existing architecture, using them to prompt a number of landmark interventions.
A powerful feature of the site is the 19th Century arcade that faces onto Cavalry Square. There were numerous restrictions in place due to its historic fabric and we strove to celebrate its architectural details while activating it as a dynamic threshold space, using a series of fresh, flexible furniture pieces and a high gloss d-tile kitchen to establish standalone islands of function which allow it to work as both a transition space between public and private areas and a casual break-out/meeting area for staff.
A large light well over the central staircase maximises available natural light, emphasising the high ceiling and drawing the eye up. The removal of internal partitions opens up the space, offering clear sight lines that establish a feeling of connection across the various work and meeting spaces.
The staircase that can be transformed into an auditorium and a break out alcove on the landing was designed to encourage staff interaction and communication. Enclosed meeting rooms offer magnetic vertical planes to be drawn or displayed on, inviting teams to come together and share ideas.
The overall design serves to increase flexibility throughout – an acoustically sealed meeting room on the 2nd floor seats all members of staff when necessary but can be separated into two smaller rooms for conference calls. Within the formal and hot desking areas long-format island desking with continuous linear power and data management allows workspace layouts to adapt easily to project and team changes. To improve acoustics we used absorbent panels for the ceiling to prevent reverberation and installed floating floors that work to cushion the bounce of sound waves.
Aware that the space needed to work as hard as the people it contained, we collaborated with the in-house technical team to create a fully enclosed and dedicated server room to drive the office, using an outer shell within the established visual language of bright landmarks to conceal its inner workings.