Elsley House is a model and testbed for best practice workplace design. So how does a global design practice transform a neglected 1930s space into a productive, elegant and futureproofed workplace?
The aim was to design for a studio culture, enable a cross-fertilization of ideas, promote staff health and wellbeing, and to celebrate design excellence. Drawing upon our expertise in evidence-based workplace strategy, our starting point was to research employee needs, behaviors and workstyles. From this, spaces were designed to address collective requirements; areas that promote chance conversations that stimulate idea generation, improve connectivity between floors, and places to accommodate different modes of working.
Heritage brickwork, Crittall windows and original steel columns were uncovered and restored, celebrating the building’s industrial past. The main studio spaces feature solid Douglas Fir timber flooring giving a biophilic aspect throughout. The design embraces spaces, configurations and technology that inspire creativity and collaboration, allowing for flexibility within teams and the wider practice, helping change working methods, putting collaboration at the centre of the design process.
Roof-lights draw natural light into the depth of the lower ground studio plan. The lighting scheme is designed to supplement daylight, ensuring that the interiors achieve proper EML levels; a lighting metric tied to Circadian rhythm, enhancing staff wellbeing. Subtly inserted fully-glazed meeting rooms create calm, confidential, soundproofed spaces. Despite the central London location, both air and water are filtered for pollutants, improving the quality of working environment for all staff and visitors.
The gallery space has hosted a series of public and private creative and design industry events throughout the year placing HKS on the design map in the London and hosts regular yoga and creative drawing classes. The new space has achieved BREEAM Excellent and is in line for a WELL Gold certification.