Green Energy HQ
Feilden Fowles has completed the new London headquarters of a green energy company. Comprising a workspace floor and new amenity floor for all employees and visitors, the office occupies the top two storeys of 155 Bishopsgate, an iconic building in the Broadgate development designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) in 1989.
The existing postmodernist building is a monument to 1980s office culture. The retrofit respects the original architecture and takes advantage of the steel structure, which allows flexible space planning. Capitalising on the expansive views across London, precious outside terraces and internal views into a grand atrium, the two floors have been transformed by redesigning the layout to create more working space, replacing the suspended ceilings and finishes, and opening up zones to create spacious and bright work and meeting spaces.
The aim was to create a thoroughly modern, democratic and inspiring workplace which contrasted with the corporate sterility of most City offices. The office floor balances open plan workspace with meeting rooms located along the shallow edges of the floorplate, with dual-aspect corners accommodating break-out spaces. Timber-framed glazed screens enclose the rooms, while ensuring daylight reaches the areas beyond. Ancillary zones have been accommodated within the existing core – providing a kitchen for each team, shower rooms and other supporting facilities – leaving the rest of the floorplate as a flexible, reconfigurable workplace. The layout has been fashioned to encourage chance meetings and conversations, but also to allow for private, quiet work. A calm, natural material palette is used in the workspace, contrasting with playful pops of colour in the meeting rooms and break-out spaces to give each area its own identity.
The material specification for the refurbishment highlights the client’s commitment to sustainability and innovation. Locally-sourced or recycled, sustainable materials have been used wherever possible, with high quality bespoke ash joinery adding warmth to the stone surfaces of the office shell and travertine lift lobby linings. This includes the reception desk and bar, which have been constructed from Margent Farm corrugated hemp, and the kitchen surfaces with Forresso ‘timber’ terrazzo. Unfixed elements such as the joinery and tiles are portable, allowing them to be reconfigured, as needed.