Features
Reception areas are a building’s chance to make a lasting first impression on its visitors, and construe subtle messages about the companies that inhabit them. Not so long ago, this fact instigated glossy and imposing spaces, with heels clomping across a vast expanse of marble floor (with the sound echoing off the marble walls), but now they are a little more welcoming. Online fashion store ASOS’s entrance (onoffice 80), for example, is done out in reclaimed…
When 900m people watched the 2012 Olympic opening ceremony, the pictures were beamed from a gargantuan purpose-built broadcast centre reputedly big enough to house six jumbo-jets. In November, Londoners were given an insight into the buildings’ legacy, as iCITY – a joint venture between property firm Delancey and data centre operator Infinity SDC – submitted its plans to transform the press and broadcast centres, totalling more than 100,000sq m, into a new creative neighbourhood. It…
Last month, two hotel chains with some serious clout, Edition and Ace, hopped over the pond to London for the first time, and another, Mondrian, is due to follow suit next year. One thing that can be inferred from their almost simultaneous arrivals is a thriving market – a bolster for the city’s tourism. A closer look makes for an enlightening comparison of how those with the cash, inside knowledge and the eye for a…
Image Credits Nikolas Koenig
07 Oct

Insularity breeds contempt

Published in Features
  Written by James McLachlan
The economic recession has ushered in a quiet wave of conservatism in the UK furniture industry. With the market engaged in a vicious dogfight over prices, things seem to be stuck in a creative rut. What isn’t helping is the polarisation between the symbiotic worlds of design and manufacturing. Some of those on the production side view design (and the monetary rewards it might bring independent designers) with scepticism, and yet you can’t simply manufacture…
Aberrant Architecture's Kevin Haley and David Chambers are well equipped to write about working on the move, not just because they were long nomadic workers themselves. So what can their recent research into the Victorian pub teach us about the future of public workplaces? On the white walls of the Timberyard tea and coffee shop in Clerkenwell, a temporary exhibition called Forgotten Heritage by photographer Matt Emmett competes for attention with the flipcharts and Post-it…
27 Aug

New Designers review

Published in Features
  Written by Jenny Brewer
This year’s New Designers show of graduate talent was packed to the rafters with fresh ideas, some remarkably professionally minded, others with more conceptual intentions. We’ll be keeping our eyes on these five designers in particular. Sheffield Hallam graduate Peter Larkam’s wall-mounted Branch lighting system (top) is modular, so the user can configure it to ‘grow’ organically across any wall, and adapt it over time. The system comprises plastic tubes containing LED strips, connected and…
US furniture makers say our regulations are so stringent they stifle innovation, while the lumbering pace of EU legislation can’t keep up with changing workplace practice. Are there too many rules? On 8 June one of the greatest modern designers, Niels Diffrient, died. While the American’s work never penetrated the wider public consciousness like, for example, Charles and Ray Eames, his mastery of ergonomic design commanded huge respect within the industry. Diffrient was universally recognised…
The internet transformed the way we lead our lives completely and permanently. Suddenly, everything from groceries to a package holiday to Marbella was no more than a couple of mouse-clicks away. Work changed, too. The dotcom boom produced a slew of DIY office spaces that owed more to Alton Towers than Frederick Taylor. While these ‘fun’ environments offered an alternative way of approaching work many proved too personalised to force a revolution. Therefore mainstream office…
Image Credits Hufton + Crow
Onoffice and John Miller co-curated the Making Designers show at Clerkenwell Design Week, an exhibition that aimed to highlight the importance of design in schools, at a time when it is under threat. Here's Miller's plea for a rethink, together with pictures of our famous exhibitors' school projects. I realised a few years back that, while design is my profession and passion, my drive to design comes from a desire to make. In fact, I…
Image Credits Marek Sikora
18 Feb

Go Retro

Published in Features
  Written by James McLachlan
Soho Square in London is the epicentre of media land. The British Board of Film Classification, 20th Century Fox and Paul McCartney’s MPL Communications all live here and, until recently, so did the Football Association. Notoriously stuffy, the FA’s presence jarred with the dynamic environment. In a rare bout of self-consciousness, the organisation moved out in 2009 leaving behind a building that, although only 15 years old, was in dire need of an overhaul. Enter…
21 Jan

Art at Work

Published in Features
  Written by Jenny Brewer
In its more traditional form, corporate art was often ineffectual decoration, bought to fill a gap or as an investment intended to reaffirm status. Now, developments in workplace design have loosened the reins on creativity in workplace art. Architects, designers and clients alike are realising its potential as a more expressive outlet for brand identity and an intrinsic part of an inspiring working environment. A recent report by International Art Consultants (IAC) titled Making Art…
22 Nov

Design Post examined

Published in Features
  Written by Jenny Brewer
Like any huge trade show, Orgatec is great for doing a lot of business in a short time all under one roof – but it’s a hard slog. Miles of artificially lit exhibition halls are enough to drive anyone loopy. Luckily just over the road from the Koelnmesse exhibition centre is Design Post, a year-round showroom for cool design brands such as Moroso, Kvadrat, Moooi and Magis, and a welcome escape for more and more…
In a perfect world, every workplace would fit, hand in glove, with its workers: desks would be occupied in an optimally efficient way; meeting rooms would never be under- or over-booked; no one would be too hot or too cold; and yes, that statement staircase would produce those “chance encounters” to boost the productivity of collaboration-hungry knowledge workers. Nice idea. But life is messy. Outcomes don’t always match expectations, and people don’t always use buildings…
Image Credits Edgar Hoffmann

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