The modern office is a functional stage, a multi-layered space that has to work as both work environment and showcase. This new fit-out on London’s Haymarket brings together a number of eclectic influences, pairing classic Modernist style with contemporary craft and technology. The initial impact is one of space and texture. A new reception desk, custom-made from brass and wood, forms a strikingly geometric object that breaks the symmetry of the approach from the lift bank. By reconfiguring the desk from its original centralised position, visitors who enter directly from the lifts into the reception are given a different, less formal experience. Behind the desk is a twenty-metre long wall, clad in vertical slats of stained oak.
The timber is inspired by the use of rich materials and generous spaces in the corporate Modernism of post-war America. The wall helps unify the space, expanding the visual perception of the office and also serves to conceal two storage cupboards and the entrance to the main meeting rooms. The oak slats are stained in three different colours, creating a subtly modulated architectural centrepiece, punctuated by the custom designed door handles, fashioned from solid brass. The use of rich materials continues with the angular brass form of the cantilevered reception desk, which appears to float above the expanse of carefully matched marble flooring that runs throughout the space. Together, all three elements form a cohesive colour palette that is enhanced by the addition of spot colours in the upholstery and art. Large slabs of polished Bardiglio marble, measuring 600 x 1200mm, fill the reception area, providing a rich counterpoint to the wooden wall.
A credenza, also finished in brushed brass, is located at the far end of the reception space, while an informal seating area combines a pair of original Danish hardwood chairs with two Milo Baughman slipper chairs. These are arranged around a custom-made grey glass, mirror and chrome coffee table. The seating has been re-upholstered in blue and orange and is paired with ‘Stadia XIV’, an image of the 2012 Paralympic Games by the photographer Marcus Lyons (from the clients’ collection). The use of hardwood and brass is carried through into the principal meeting rooms and main office spaces. Bespoke door handles and full height doors maximise the circulation space, with recessed lighting (supplied by Atrium) and office furniture from Vitra and Morroso used throughout to create a strong visual consistency.
The new office space is evocative without being retro, modern without being needlessly minimal and highly crafted, with a careful attention to detail that maintains a fluidity of line and the precise intersection of materials throughout.