B3 Designers, the team behind Gymkhana and Bubbledogs restaurants, has overhauled Moving Picture Company’s (MPC) headquarters, taking cues from hospitality design to the office arena.
The global post-production company, based in Soho, London, wanted a space that was informal and relaxed as staff often work long hours, but at the same reflected its standing in the film, advertising and entertainment industries since clients often visit the office.
The design centrepiece is, arguably, the bespoke Banksy artwork facing the communal desks – no doubt to provide inspiration to its employees. The artist carried out the piece as a gift after his original art in the building depicting a rat was accidentally painted over. The subversive, urban overtones of his work are reflected in the overall design.
The reception area features charred timber-clad walls, as is the body of the reception desk, which is topped with polished concrete. B3 designed a cylindrical florescent feature light positioned over the reception that is made from multiple strip lights.
Mark Bithrey, B3’s design director, says the characteristics of restaurant design, shopfronts and increasingly open kitchens, translates into the workspace. To this end, the firm created a window onto the main office floor from the reception, creating a transparency and giving visitors an immediate impression of MPC at work.
“[The] work process is being put on display through semi-transparent shopfronts and views onto the main desk areas from the initial threshold,” Bithrey says. “Clients spend quite a lot of time at post production offices like MPC, so we give them the same consideration we would patrons of a restaurant.”
The main workspace incorporates industrial elements, such as exposed ducting and services on the ceiling; galvanised steel on the wall lights, conduits and trucking; and scaffolding boards used for wall cladding and joinery units. Continuing the stripped-back palette of greys, the custom-built desks are made from melamine-faced plywood, while the floor is coated in a dark resin.
The loose furniture and pendant lighting provide a contrast to this, introducing softer and more comfortable elements to the design. The choice of contemporary and mid-century designs, Bithrey said, aims to bring a casual look and feel to the space. Contemporary furniture in the reception area includes a bespoke, three-metre-long sofa.
A range of vintage and custom-made pieces are contained within the main office, such as space a reupholstered mid-century sofa; oversized can pendant lights over the shared desk; and Ercol chairs in the meeting rooms and breakout areas.
The informality of the latter, Bithrey says, is similar to what you’d expect to see in a home or laid-back restaurant. Similarly the director’s offices incorporate vintage teak tambour units, iroko desks and a modern Danish sofa upholstered in Bute fabric.
“We, B3 Designers, often borrow elements from hospitality design and weave them into workspace design to create a space that is relaxing, yet creates a sense of impression and sense of occasion.
“The use of lounge chairs in the reception, offices and meeting rooms is reflective of the way we would source and plan informal seating in a restaurant,” he says. “The choice is elegant, but very comfortable – comfort being a key consideration in hospitality design.”