Align, a UK-based interior architecture and design firm, specialising in workplace design, has completed a new office for Eden McCallum, a management consultancy firm. The new scheme responds to a brief to design a “quiet, understated and sophisticated” environment, which would serve as the new London headquarters for the company.
“The challenge was to create a suite of offices that were full of subtle statements and which met the requirement for a ‘fresh, interesting, human-scale and unregimented’ space,” comments align’s director and co-founder Gurvinder Khurana.
The location for the new offices is an 810m2 single-storey space on 5th floor of a newly-redeveloped Crown Estates building, just minutes from Piccadilly Circus. Unlocking the challenge to create an unregimented workspace that worked on a human-scale was all about space-planning.
The space-plan included the creation of a range of different-sized meeting rooms, each with its own subtly-different design treatment, as well as an open-plan office area with integrated meeting zones, break-out spaces and private phone booth areas for discreet conversations with clients and consultants.
According to Khurana, the new scheme begins with simplicity and calm via a neutral, off-white base palette.
“Interest is added by subtle interjections of texture and colour in a range of pale, oceanic blues and greens, as well as a wall of individual feature wallpaper in most of the meeting rooms,” says Khurana, “along with some great furniture from Vitra, Eames and the Bourellec Brothers, quirky accessories and the odd touch of vintage. The flow of varied-size meeting spaces, arranged around two-thirds of the perimeter, prevents the overall environment from any feeling of regimentation.”
The lift delivers visitors to the offices directly into the reception, where a bespoke Corian desk, with Eden McCallum branding set into the front in antique bronze lettering, gives the impression of a company that is solid and established, yet contemporary. The reception desk chairs are from Interstuhl, with the same task chair also used throughout the general open-plan office. The backdrop to the desk is a wall of white, semi-transparent panel blinds, while to the left, a smoked oak feature wall has thin, inset bronze strips, adding warmth, linking to the bronze reception desk lettering and also subtly referencing the antique bronze that visitors have first seen in the building’s downstairs reception.
A visitor seating area is comprised of four ‘stone’ leather seats, arranged around a set of white tables of varied sizes. A hint of a domestic vernacular is given by a wooden standard lamp, made by a Cornwall-based British maker. A dark blue rug is used for the seating area to add softness and colour.
Overall in the scheme, the flooring is a considered mix of finishes and styles, which are used to demarcate different zones and include woven grey vinyl from Bolon for the meeting area circulation corridor, plus a darker-patterned carpet by Shaw Contract for the meeting rooms. The open plan general office space is laid with Shaw’s Jazz carpet tile, which helps maintain a sense of fluidity in the main area.
The meeting area, which takes up around half of the overall space, is made up of a six-person meeting room to each side of reception, plus a series of further rooms.
These rooms feature Vitra soft shell chairs in ice-grey, plus contemporary wooden credenzas. Meeting room tables throughout are in white laminate in the smaller rooms and walnut in the two larger rooms. All the rooms also feature write-on wallcoverings.
The board room houses the furniture brought over from the company’s previous office – the board table and chairs – while beyond lies a series of much smaller, more informal and open meeting rooms, suitable for two to three people, each with its own individual look and feel.
Opposite, on the inner curve of the corridor, a series of dedicated telephone booths ensure quiet and confidential conversations with clients and consultants. The booths are clad in white oak with a tall, thin ‘vision panel’ on each door. Booth furniture is HAL white chairs with wooden legs by the Bourallec Brothers.
The final zoned area, at the end of the small meeting room row, is a break-out hub kitchen and dining space, for use by staff, consultants and visitors. This area features a limed oak vinyl floor, Louis Poulsen feature lights and Belleville chairs and tables from Vitra.
The final open area is a more traditional office space. A feature ‘snug’ seat – in the Verco Jensen informal meeting booth – is upholstered in two-tone fabric with complementing arm cushions and adds interest, whilst also allowing discreet conversation.
‘We couldn’t be happier with the design of our new office,” says Kathryn Whinney, operations director for Eden McCallum. “We wanted the experience of visiting them to be really impressive and we were on a tight timescale, but Gurvinder wasn’t fazed by this and worked extremely closely with us ensuring we got what we asked for and in incredible detail. Overall the experience was made far easier by align and the rest of the firm is very happy to be working in such an attractive and enjoyable space.”