Crucially the aim was to provide a release from the claustrophobia of working in the spare bedroom or the kitchen table and offering a variety of environments that enable staff to come together as a team, collaborators and friends. All with a view to generate and enhance creative energy and to support each other.
Situated on Great Sutton Street, Clerkenwell, the studio occupies the ground and lower ground floor of an existing building. The two floors are connected at each end by double-height spaces and crafted steel staircases – which not only physically connect the spaces but also allow natural light to penetrate to the lower floor. Most importantly they enhance the feeling of connectedness and fluidity between the levels and spaces people are working in and part of a landscape design of discovery
Physical and visual fluidity is enhanced by organising the space ‘enfilade’ with as few impenetrable barriers as possible. Meeting spaces that span across the width of the floors, are formed out of large, fluted and antiqued mirror glass panels, with wide full height sliding doors that maintain the sightlines through the depth of the spaces when open and appear as translucent screens when closed.
Whilst natural light penetrates from both ends of the studio, a great deal of attention has been given to the lighting landscape as a whole. Natural and artificial lighting, designed in collaboration with Into Lighting, is used to generate intimacy or even cosiness and flat light is avoided.
The use of timber in the Scandinavian tradition: blond oak flooring with birch ply ceiling battens, softly reflect light and highlight the sense of unity and fluidity throughout the space. In contrast, the flank walls and shelving are constructed out of dark stained poplar ply with its exacerbated grain, whilst the fluted bronze glass panels and screens create additional texture but lift the space through light reflection
The acoustics of the space, on the other hand, have been designed to be muted to the extent that open plan discussions can be heard, and a creative buzz is present, without being overbearing. A black fabric stretched above the ply ceiling battens, with acoustic absorbent materials behind, screens off all of the busy-ness of the services, to create a visually and acoustically calm space.
The meeting spaces, so important to the process of collaboration and central to the purpose of the studio, offer a variety of environments suited to different ways in which the team come together. From a board table, and more intimate spaces, to relaxed sofa areas, a ‘snug’, and a double-height ‘theatre’ space at the heart of the studio – where call-overs, pin-ups and design crits can happen in the open.