by Ben Adams Architects
It’s not often you find 30,000 sq ft of tranquillity in one of London’s busiest train stations, but Scott House has been designed to be just such a space.
Opened last summer at 100% occupancy, it sits above the busy concourse of Waterloo Station across three floors. Wanting to lean into the idea of a serene escape from the bustle below, the Ben Adams Architects team worked to create a Japanese-inspired space for the office, which flows not just in communal office spaces, but into meeting rooms too.
To achieve this, white tinted ash and birch plywood materials have been used to create bespoke furniture for the office. Such a neutral palette, however, is left at the door of each meeting room, where the team has instead opted for a pop of
distinct colour in each.
Beyond this, the building, once used by Transport for London, now sits on a grid system devised by the Ben Adams team. The system has been designed to divide, frame and highlight different areas throughout, while also providing privacy where necessary.
Perhaps one of the most notable parts of the project was the discovery of the original two-tone marble stairwell. Upon unearthing, it became an integral part of the space, influencing the addition of marble accents for light fixtures and furniture throughout the rest of the building.
The judges said: “The strong pastels and refined simplicity created a sophisticated elegance, for a clean and friendly workspace. The use of warm minimalism stays clear of gimmicky design ideas often found in these environments.”
The Cookery School at The Grand York
by Mackenzie Wheeler, for Splendid Hospitality
Back in 2018, the Mackenzie Wheeler architect team transformed an old 1970s office block into 100 luxury rooms for the five-star Grand Hotel, York. Located in the lower ground floor of the 2018 extension, the team have now created a further asset for the hotel: a state-of-the-art cookery school. The space comes complete with 16 workstations, a demonstration area, a fully equipped kitchen, dining area and teaching space.
What was originally a dark, windowless space has had to be completely redesigned to feel as light an airy as possible. This has been achieved with bi-folding doors and glass panelling, which create a flexible open-plan space, while large letterbox windows have been used to maximise daylight. But despite this being a functional workspace, the Mackenzie Wheeler team has taken efforts to ensure it isn’t soulless or unwelcoming – the use of materials such as birch plywood and oak lattices has given the space a warm, domestic aesthetic.
by SHH, for KWG Group Holdings
In their appointment to the Cohesion Guangzhou project, SHH was tasked to completely reimagine what workspace culture could be in the city. Before work began, the team says there was a tendency for spaces to lack character and put profit over the working environment. With this as a reference for what not to do, SHH worked to change perceptions.
Starting by shifting office space from the façade of the building to further within, this created more communal space around the perimeter, which naturally gives more people opportunity to access daylight. Meanwhile the interior colour palette has been drawn from geographical features that each side of the building looks out on – to the north-west for example, it takes cues from the grey and earth tones of the Baiyun Mountain, while south-east reflects the deep blues of the South China Sea.
X+Why, People’s Mission Hall
by Squire & Partners, for X+Why
There was, the Squire team says, plenty to take inspiration from for this project: the building itself has a lengthy history relating to philanthropy, having once been the location of the Salvation Army HQ; and as for the area itself, Whitechapel has a rich history of tanneries and local markets and, more recently, has become a place for arts and culture. Working from this, the team worked with its sister branding studio Mammal to reinstate the “Mission Hall” name across branding.
Inside the space, the team leaned into Whitechapel’s history with vintage furniture and booths, which boast an “oxblood” colour palette alongside dark metal and natural timber finishes. Elsewhere, a sense of community is encouraged with glazed panels between office spaces, which can be used by small and medium firms, while waste was minimised through the use of 90% of existing lighting around the building. Over five storeys and more than 22,500 sq ft, the team aimed for it to be a place of design, technology and wellness.
Warner Music Group
by Rockwell Group
Rockwell group’s design concept for Warner Music Group (WMG)’s new HQ takes its inspiration form the record company’s rich history. The project sits over five storeys, and begins with a ground floor live performance area. The 250-seat flexible space, fitted out with wooden bleachers, provides space for WMG’s extensive artist roster, as well as an area for presentation or large-scale meetings. Elsewhere in the building, new offices have been developed for all of WMG’s seven groups. Each features an open plan working space, but each has also been designed to reflect its own distinct community.
Warner records on floor two, for example, has been given a plush residential feel, while the floor that houses Atlantic Records features an eye-catching dyed rope installation and private performance space. And for an extra element of excitement, the building has been topped off with a “park-like” outdoor retreat area on the rooftop, which comes complete with bespoke furniture designed and created by the Rockwell team.