From an unloved industrial mews to an uplifting workplace, this project celebrates contemporary craftsmanship and natural materials to bring a growing team together.
Tucked amongst the quiet lanes of Hammersmith, our refurbishment has transformed this mews into a playfully considered studio space for landscape architect Marcus Barnett and his team. Our design approach worked sympathetically with the building’s character to create a sequence of spaces that both reflect the company’s personality and suit the team’s pragmatic needs.
With the building dating back to the early 1900s, our primary challenge was retaining the essence of a building’s character and its relationship with the streetscape, while creating a sequence of spaces that both reflect the company’s personality and suit the team’s pragmatic requirements.
Actively demonstrating a commitment to promoting well-being at work, Fluid Workspace strives to develop this healthy work-life balance through its design, where a clear distinction between the primary workspace on the loft-like first floor and the social gathering spaces below, features at the core of the space.
The refurbishment preserves the mews’ original simplicity in shape and the organisation across two floors. In seeking to enhance the existing fabric and features, one of our most significant alterations involved the bold removal of a party wall between two units, replacing this with rafters and beams to support the existing building. This opened up the internal layout, optimising how the glazed front façade can flood the spaces with daylight, offering views to the street and highlighting the craftsmanship of the interior fit-out.
At ground floor level, the entrance opens into a welcoming kitchen and living space. Functional installations such as the kitchen, bathrooms and storage are arranged along the rear wall, with the flexible social spaces opening onto the lane. With the client keen to embrace references to the landscape, the material palette is raw and almost geologic in nature. Timber features as a key component, with birch and poplar used in the joinery and bespoke oak furniture.
In the kitchen area, the grain of a granite back splash is complemented by a muted blue lacquered oak finish to the joinery. This continues onto the vertical sides of the adjacent timber staircase, a visual cohesion that makes the space feel less domestic.
The ground floor features a large dining table at its heart, inviting all team members to eat together in a casual and friendly environment. Designed as a bespoke, multifunctional piece, the table also transforms into an informal meeting area and ping-pong table, creating a playful setting that encourages relaxed interaction between colleagues away from workstations.
Upstairs, our design took full advantage of the potential of the pitched roof space, by housing one large communal workspace. Generous bench desks offer staff the option to collaborate or retreat to their individual work stations with clear views across the room. To one end, an acoustic glazed screen encloses a separate meeting room. This responds to the need for acoustic privacy for formal meetings, while maintaining a distinct sense of transparency that reflects the values at the heart of the company.
Timber features as a key component, which can be seen in the hand-crafted ceiling that brings the team ‘under one roof’. Made from individual wood slats, each is marked with a series of notches. When suspended, the notches come together to form an undulating line, reminiscent of the curves and contours found in natural landscapes.
The ceiling design engages with the positioning of the original, restored skylights, filtering the sunlight into the space. Close collaboration with a lighting manufacturer also led to creation of special downlights, designed to nestle between the slats.
Marcus Barnett, Marcus Barnett Studio, London
- Fluid Workspace
- Marcus Barnett Studio
- January 2018
- London, UK
- Alan DempseyKeti CarapuliAlan MaAyo AkinolaMartina TettamantiKuralay Yesmukhanova
- Jim Stephenson
- Structural engineers: Techniker MEP engineers: E+M Tecnica QS: Andrew Ohl Contractor: Business Prestige CDM: Shore engineering Party Wall Surveyor: Shore engineering