British Land

Circular Economy Workplace

This retrofit for British Land is the first UK Grade 'A' office refurbishment that uses circular economy principles. The project reused and remanufactured inherited fit-out to create a fully refurbished and furnished workplace.


2019 First Prize in Invited Competition

Comprising of a ground floor reception and workspace for 1,080 people arranged on nine floors with views over Regent’s Park, the project pioneers a new approach to office fit-out: a fully equipped, high-quality workspace based on circular economy principles to reduce carbon and energy impact, reduce cost, and enhance value.

People’s well-being was a key focus of the client brief, alongside a renewed focus on indoor air quality, biophilia, and flexible spaces for social gathering. As a result, a complete rethink of the ground floor entrance experience was necessary to create more inviting and vibrant environments where people could meet, work, and socialise.

The impact of tenant fit-out of workplace buildings makes a significant but underappreciated contribution to their embodied energy and carbon impact. Recent studies have shown this impact amounts to up to one-third of a building’s lifetime carbon impact and emissions over 40 years. Recurring tenant refurbishment also creates significant waste that often ends up in landfill.


Within this context, the key challenge was to dramatically reduce the impact of embodied carbon and reduce waste disposal from the previous fit-out to align the building with British Land’s broader sustainability goals.

On the ground floor, the centrepiece of the project is a new ten metre tall living green wall facing onto Euston Road. Designed to enhance people’s comfort within the space, the structure comprises large tropical plants interspersed with bespoke curving bamboo acoustic panels. All 38 plant species used in the wall were selected from NASA research for their positive indoor air quality enhancement.

We removed large formal reception desks and security turnstiles to create a more sociable atmosphere on the ground floor, replacing them with a concierge welcome and relocating access control to the lifts. We introduced informal meeting and work touchdown settings alongside a new café and juice bar.

Behind a vast three-storey high south-facing glass wall, an intricately woven curtain offers solar shading and privacy onto Euston Road. The bamboo used throughout the lobby was not purely an aesthetic quality but a fast-growing material with a carbon-negative production path. This ethos is carried onto the furniture selection, with chairs made partially from recycled PET bottles and new carpets made from recycled materials laid over existing porcelain tiles. All new lighting is high-efficiency LED.


New workspaces extensively reuse recycled materials and mechanical/electrical equipment on the upper floors to reduce waste and the project’s carbon impact.

Old fit-out of Douglas fir was remade into new fitted kitchens and social spaces, fitted work desks, joinery, and furniture. All were stained with transparent white oil, and the new carpet was made from recycled PET.

Over 75% of the breakout and meeting room furniture was remanufactured. Loose work desks and task chairs were fully refurbished, with table tops recycled and replaced.

A post-completion sustainability analysis of this project undertaken for the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership showed that our Circular-Fitted approach reused 70% of the embodied carbon within the inherited fit-out compared to only 25% in a traditional Cat A. This equals 2.4 years of operational energy, or 1.8 years more than the traditional Cat A refurbishment. Waste leaving the site was also significantly reduced

Circular Economy Workplace
British Land
September 2020
London, UK
£5.6 Million
Alan DempseyGina ZachariasJinGyeong Ryu
NaaroThierry Cardineau
Project Manager: Stace Structural and Services Engineer: Cundall Contractor: Modus Furniture Recycling: Rype & The Furniture Practice