Text description provided by the architects. SHH has completed an office interiors project, set within a 5-storey early Georgian terrace in the West End of London, for an international shipping company. The new offices are spacious and dramatic, with cool, contemporary furniture and interventions creating a strong contrast with the building’s classic fabric, which was renovated as part of the scheme. Major new design features include a bespoke chandelier hanging right through the three storey stair void; new bespoke furniture designed by SHH and beautiful American black walnut herringbone timber flooring, installed to restore some of the long-lost richness and quality suggested by the original building envelope.
‘The existing building was really quite dilapidated’, commented SHH Project Leader Brendan Heath. ‘Although it had served as office space previously, interventions by previous tenants had been of poor quality, from laminate flooring to dull lighting. Our steer was therefore to pay the building shell a little more respect and also to follow our client’s ‘pure and clean’ brief and preference for dark colours, building up a clean, monochrome material palette. Inevitably, a large slice of the budget also went into the hidden elements necessary to make the offices function to today’s standards, including a major upgrade of services, from new data cabling and electrical infrastructure, to air conditioning and fresh air supplies.’
The building’s Portland stone façade was thoroughly cleaned to remove more than 200 years of airborne pollution. External lighting was installed, along with new landscaping by Chelsea Flower Show double-gold medallist garden designer Kate Gould, who added simple greening in the form of box hedging to the flat roofed rear area of the building.
Once inside the building, the reception and lobby area instantly communicate the quality of the new interior. Re-polished original stone flooring leads to a beautiful set of double doors, whose semi-circular arc frame was stripped of layers of paint to reveal the original glass infill beneath in a series of elegant elliptical frames. The doors will be open at all times, but the upper portion now allows sight lines through to the desk and stair beyond, connecting the spaces.