LocationLondon, United Kingdom
Lead ArchitectsSquire and Partners
CollaboratorsHouse of Fine Art (art), Eley Kishimoto (bespoke patterns), Dodds & Shute (furniture), Based Upon (art), Karolina Merska (pajaki’s in tequila bar/female WCs), Archie Proudfoot (signwriter), Conservatory Archives (planting), Laguna Rugs (rugs), Franchi (ironmongery)
ClientMinistry of Sound
Text description provided by the architects. The Ministry is the first social workspace and private members club for creative industries by Ministry of Sound, housed in a former Victorian printworks in Southwark, London.
Designs were sought for the antithesis to a nightclub environment – desirable and practical working floors alongside a generous social space, which was as suited to morning coffee and lunch meetings, as it was to networking and social events taking place in the evening.
Lord James Palumbo of Southwark:
“Our brief pushed the boundaries of current workplace culture, referencing film, art, fashion and music - we wanted to create a bold aesthetic which allowed for us to deliver a distinctive and desirable offer for our members. The space needed to adapt for an evolving series of uses over the course of a day – from working breakfasts through to social evenings - and be capable of increasing its tempo in all senses as the week progresses.”
The design concept, developed by Squire & Partners in collaboration with The Ministry, stays true to the origins of the mother brand with bold, raw elements contrasting with a layer of premium finish. This aesthetic establishes a highly creative and energetic environment which adapts as the working week progresses and evolves between seasons.
Combining the creative, social and networking aspects of a member’s club with dynamic workspace for up to 850 people - involved in sectors including music, film, arts, fashion and technology – the aim was not just to offer a place to do business, but to provide an environment for a convivial and creative way of life.
A discreet street level reception nestles under a series of exposed brick arches - the space is almost entirely unbranded, allowing the design aesthetic to communicate The Ministry’s core values. The conscious omission of a traditional logo-heavy identity for the workspace affords the creative community within freedom without feeling subservient to the heritage of an imposed brand.
Beyond the entrance, the ground floor is designed as a generous social space with areas for eating and drinking, including a series of circular curtained booths, and apartment-style meeting and dining rooms. The lounge area features a 22 metre long concrete and copper pipe bar, leading to an urban garden courtyard with an outside bar and fire pit. A collection of bold contemporary artwork, curated in consultation with Christopher Shake and Charlie Smedley, changes over time to explore new artists and mediums.
Generous light filled workspaces are provided on first to fourth floors, with areas for various types of organisations from individuals to SME’s and established companies. Desking is combined with areas of open and closed workspace, rooms for meeting and informal dining, and comfortable breakout areas.
The design aesthetic is carried through to all senses, using a carefully crafted layer of visual stimulus, house scents, curated soundscapes for interior and exterior spaces – devised by Sound Architect Tom Middleton to form a variety of audio sensory environments – along with guest services to create a holistic experience for residents and visitors.