Our brief was to design a joyful office space, an office block that must not feel like an office block, a low maintenance building yet warm and inviting. Our client, a maverick, creative businesswoman, knew exactly what she wanted for the new office space. She wanted a non-office like space with a separate boardroom and staff canteen, external pause spaces and bathroom facilities that should not feel like office ablutions!
She wanted lavender, lemon and olive trees, concrete floors and a patch of lawn. She wanted her staff to love to come to work because of their positive working environment. She wanted a “lived-in” feeling, and a sense of “perfect-imperfection”
The site is a corner site near the centre of town. There was an exiting house on the site, which was demolished.
We designed 3 barnlike structures around a courtyard space, which also houses the parking. All 3 the structures have high ceilings and open trusses. The main block is a double story structure with a central staircase linking the 2 floors. All the desks and seating were built-in using concrete and reclaimed timber. The ground floor also received a reclaimed timber ceiling bulkhead to hide the services, as the concrete slab was left exposed.
The 2 other blocks are done in a similar manner. One small double storey office space, ablutions, canteen and board room with a covered entertainment patio. The boardroom with a wide hearth, opens out onto a small covered entertaining area with an open fire pit.
We managed to successfully replant a large wild fig tree in the courtyard. It was rescued from another site where it had to make way for a new development. The rest of the landscaping was kept simple, with lavender bushes, lemon, olive and bay leave trees.
The materials used were kept very straightforward. Concrete, new and reclaimed timber, steel, unpainted metal roofs and old fashioned textured plaster. Internally, we have grey concrete floors, finished off with wax. Internal walls were bagged and painted – al adding to the “old barn” feel we wanted to create.
The whole team, consultants and contractors alike, bought into her vision and the end result is a happy, serene work place that looks different from any other office block.