The Chain.com office is located within a factory that was once used by clothing company Standard Shirt, and the space was in dire need of work.
Architect Maria McVarish stripped back the factory’s thick layers of paint and false ceiling to reveal a vast church-like space. Factory windows, appropriated from elsewhere in the building, flood the interiors with light, while the original brickwork and wooden gables create a warm, textured backdrop. A decorative old lift elevator has been repurposed as a coat cupboard.
Not wanting to break up the openness of the loft, McVarish instead incorporated highly original ‘pavilions on stilts’ slotted between the roof trusses, which offer a degree of privacy. These are reached by curved metal stairways and a walkway round the edges of the room.
The pavilions subtly reference California’s wood-framed houses. The ovoid or rectilinear structures combine exposed framing and translucent skins, using materials such as Lucite acrylic, glass and fibreglass.
Neon Gold founder and interior designer Samira Gagne explains that the office needed to suit both the tech start-up’s young employees, as well as its clients from the finance world coming in for meetings.
She softened the main space by introducing a large amount of greenery, including a 20ft Fiddle Leaf Tree, all planted in bespoke metal planters on casters. A long communal table placed alongside the windows can be used for both conferences and staff lunches. ‘Sputnik lights’ hang overhead, while pale blue Eames DAR chairs add a bit of colour to the neutral design.
Meeting spaces within the pavilions offer a slightly more corporate environment. Gagne designed a ‘butcher-block table’ on thin hair-pin legs that match the leg designs of the Eames chairs used again here.
Gagne created breakout areas which mix Californian designs with Eames furniture, and soft furnishings with textures such as velvet, sheepskin and rattan. The space includes both a ping-pong table – a tick for tech start-up office type – and a chess table on the balcony of one of the pavilions – a tick to the slightly more serious nature of their work.