We designed and built our own office interior following a move to a larger studio. The scheme includes bespoke joinery for desks and storage, ceiling-mounted black service ducts, customised black lightshades, mid-century furniture in the boardroom and a cosy snug for relaxing or quiet working.
A minimal design draws attention to the architecture of Cliff Road Studios. This outstanding pair of modernist buildings was designed as artists’ studios in 1968 by Georgie Wolton, a founding member – alongside Richard Rogers and Norman Foster – of architecture practice Team 4.
Our second-floor studio features expansive glazed areas to both the front and rear elevations, and a balcony overlooking a large communal garden. At the front, long, horizontal metal shutters above the windows open to provide ventilation. In the dramatic blue-grey boardroom, a full-wall articulated window opens by garage-door style ceiling runners, completely opening the room up to the outside.
Located in the Camden Square Conservation Area, a 19th Century inner London suburb with a gridded street layout of fairly big, Victorian terraced houses. At Cliff Road, WWII bomb damage created an infill opportunity that was realised in 1968 by the development of artists’ studios and residences designed by Georgie Wolton. Although the buildings aren’t listed, the Conservation Area appraisal recognises their value, describing the 1968-72 development “an unexpected expression of early-modernist revival…pristine in its cream-painted concrete with glass block glazing.”
As one of Wolton’s few buildings (there are another two or three ascribed to her) before she changed careers to become a landscape designer, we recognise the importance of caring for the structure and have designed a scheme that allows the large, open plan, bright daylit spaces to shine. A rubber floor and white painted walls stay true to the industrial spirit of the building’s fittings.
It was important for the scheme to reflect and express our studio culture, which is sociable, democratic and relaxed. So directors sit with the team, a Sonos music system allows everyone to DJ, and a multiplicity of different areas offer choices of lunch and informal meeting locations.
We created a recreation room or snug, complete with a piano, painted in the same dark blue-grey as the boardroom and featuring soft seating. There is also a breakfast bar and large dining table with built-in bench, upholstered by local craftsperson Kate Cohen, that the team use as a lunch table or an informal meeting space. There is also a well-planted balcony with a new, block-wood floor for staff to enjoy in the summer – and even in winter, with Scandinavian-inspired blankets and sheepskins.