The construction industry’s carbon footprint is significant, so it makes sense for architects and clients to renovate, convert and extend existing spaces whenever possible, offices included. Although working with existing buildings can pose constraints, truly skilful architects and designers can create original designs that make the best use of the available space, creating unique working environments in the process.
In Madrid, studio Casa Josephine has created a new workspace for an advertising agency in an old motorcycle repair shop. Called Agency Madrid, the office consists of a generous ground floor space covered in colourful tiles, and a large communal table suspended between the building’s original cast-iron columns. Curtains help separate the directors’ office and a small kitchenette from the main space, while the basement is used for client presentations.
Another unexpected reuse project is JHL Design’s Studio Penthouse in Portland. To preserve the atmosphere of the old loft structure, designers have exposed the concrete and reserved the central space – where the roof is at its highest – for a communal zone full of comfortable lounge chairs and sofas. Office spaces are located along the perimeter, separated by Alaskan yellow cedar partitions, and enjoy city views. Pared-back, crafted furnishings and a simple colour palette of light grey upholstery and dark wood complete the highly evocative interior.
But architects are often presented with the opposite problem. The KOHLMAN office near the Polish port city of Gdańsk is located in a rather ordinary building. But mode:lina architects have devised a way to create a more memorable space – as well as more space in general. Taking inspiration from the nearby port, the architects have stacked brightly coloured, container-like pods on top of one another to create a memorable, mezzanine-like office.
In London, Conran & Partners have adapted a section of a Norman Foster building at 200 Gray’s Inn Road in the city’s legal district into a new hybrid space, which combines a reception, café and flexible open office. Extending into a formerly outdoor portico, the airy communal area has been furnished with low, free-standing shelves and comfortable furnishings that help subdivide the space from the cafe, which can be used as an informal meeting space. Muted finishings and jewel tones complement the floor to ceiling views of the street and passers-by.
Article: Peter Smisek - London, United Kingdom