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Workspace of the week

Iconwebs new office designed by NAN Architects

The space retains much of its original appearance because the idea was to keep alive the “spirit” of the place giving a playful appearance in order to favour fluency in the communications as well as the exchange and relations among workers.

An open office concept was the request from the customer with a meeting room, an office, a small library, toilets and a break-out area to relax and eat. The main task was to adapt the project to all of these requirements.

A modular piece made of wood and glass was constructed to contain the meeting rooms, private office and toilets. In the southern part of the space are the desks with communal seating, to support meeting spaces and help the communication among the workers.

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Kontor views

Tech votes against Brexit

With a large percentage of our clients coming from the tech sector it is interesting to note that almost 9 out of 10 technology companies polled by industry group Tech London Advocates are against the UK leaving the EU. The survey of the group’s 3,000 members suggested a number of reasons for this: fear that leaving the EU would make it harder for British customers to reach customers in Europe; fear that it would become more difficult to recruit overseas talent; and concerns that it would become harder to persuade EU companies to branch out to the UK.

If Brexit does go ahead, this could certainly impact London’s flourishing tech scene. The capital’s well established position as a global leader in tech relies not only on our own creativity, but on our transparent business practices that have enabled strong networks in Europe and across the globe. Cross border collaborations have become commonplace; we work with a number of clients that have offices in the UK as well as other European countries and are often approached by companies that want to expand in to and out of the UK.

Another concern not mentioned in the poll is that London’s ability to attract tech start-ups and entrepreneurs from overseas could be hindered. Already the escalating costs of living and securing workspace are inhibiting people’s desire to come to the city, and if the UK leaves the EU the increased paperwork involved could pose an even greater obstacle.

This could give other global cities an edge over London. Berlin’s tech industry is well established and could be an obvious choice for a tech company from outside Europe looking to put down some roots. We’ve worked with companies in Madrid, Amsterdam and Stockholm to name a few cities, all of which could prove popular options if the business of setting up in London becomes more difficult. Across the Atlantic, cities such as LA or Austin are also attracting their fair share of tech communities, as well as Silicon Valley.

All businesses, not just the tech industry, operate on a global playing field now, which is evident in how the occupiers who we advise search for space. Many of our clients, from international corporations down to start-ups looking to have just one desk, want a space in London to complement offices in other countries. Coworking spaces are an excellent way for a company to achieve this.

The UK government is placing a lot of emphasis on the growth of our digital economy and seemingly relies upon it for the country’s future prosperity. Though nothing is certain, a Brexit could spell trouble.

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Workspace of the week

We+ Co-working Space designed by MAT Office

The final design incorporates a library-like experience: On the first level, the traditional corridor-office layout no longer exists, rather a wide open plan space instead, a bar counter provides basic management and service to the co-working space; The big discussion table serves for both groups and individuals; More privacy can be found in booth area, which is suitable for smaller groups. If you do not want to be interrupted by the crowd, private workstations are provided for you to dive into work. In a word, the way a university library space is used is integrated into this project: any space you require is an option here.

Besides the library-like experience, the art of “exhibition” is also adapted during the space design. Most occupants here are small or medium size teams on their start-up phase, which means that the product publication, presentation and even marketing activity requires consideration in the design stage as well. Therefore, 4 display-units and a whole display wall are placed on the first level to meet the presentation needs of the teams. Here the notion of co-working evolves to not only the habitat of the team, but also the habitat of their product.

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What we're reading this week

Is London still the best place to build a start-up?

The shine may be wearing off Shoreditch, as entrepreneurs pick other places in the UK to base their start-ups.

Fewer new start-ups are being founded in Shoreditch’s start-up scene, Silicon Roundabout, with 2015 stats showing that the number of new companies fell by a third (15,620 to 10,280) on the previous year, citing high rents as one reason for the drop.

“Rising rents in the Silicon Roundabout area are causing many start-ups to choose other neighbouring areas of central London, such as City Road, as their first base,” says Colin Jones, a partner at UHY Hacker Young, who conducted the research.

“By attracting larger firms into the area, rents increase, available space decreases, and smaller start-ups that were initially attracted to the area are forced out into neighbouring areas. That is exactly why we have seen the tech start-ups heading away from Old Street to the City Road area.”

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Workspace of the week

Dotwell's new office HQ by Elsedesign

On behalf of multi-media production company Dotwell, Elsedesign undertook two small projects: one being the office renovation and the second being a new coffee shop which adjoins the existing structure.

The main challenge of the office design was how to merge the site conditions and usage, for example the ratio of open area and private working area, interaction and meeting spaces, and also the atmosphere of the space suiting the company’s identity etc. Since the office is a multi-media company, the innovation, preparation departments need open work spaces except for the meeting rooms and human resources department. Then we had enough freedom and possibilities to plan for the allocations.

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What we're reading this week

Why we need to rethink the way we work

American architect Clive Wilkinson has been responsible for some of the most creative office spaces on the planet and has become recognised as a global leader in workplace design.

With a thoroughly modern approach to the way we work, his firm has created spaces for Google, Twentieth Century Fox Digital and countless other business leaders using everything from hanging pod chairs to bean bags and breakfast bars.

He says office spaces are becoming more like home, and vice versa, all the time.

“Offices are becoming more like homes as lifestyle becomes increasingly important and companies compete for talent … Our world is now ideas driven and our environment needs to be energetic, inspiring and even provocative. Employers also want people to stay longer at work and making the space awesome certainly helps.”

 

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Workspace of the week

Jump Studios completes new Google Campus in former Madrid battery factory

Our very good friends at Jump Studios have done it again and have created another masterpiece!

Renovating a 19th-century battery factory in Madrid to create the sixth Google Campus – a co-working space for entrepreneurs and start-up companies.

Jump Studios designed the first Google Campus London in 2012, and were asked to create a similar space in the Spanish capital city that would support 7,000 members and 50 resident start-up companies.

“The consideration Google has for its Campus members needed to be mirrored in an environment that enables and fosters effective communication with clients and co-workers in both physical and virtual formats,” said Jump Studios associate Michelle Nicholls. “No two start-ups are the same and this is acknowledged in our design by the creation of a variety of formal and informal spaces.”

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What we're reading this week

Designing Attractive Workplaces

What do we find most attractive about a new job offer? How important is the physical workplace in that decision-making process? A recent Australian study, undertaken by Hassell Architects and Empirica Research, dug up some intriguing stories about the role of workplace culture, people and design in the decisions we make about where we will spend ours days.

In this recent pilot study, 1000 un-primed survey participants were presented with a series of hypothetical job offers and were asked which job they would prefer. Despite what appears in the cloud of open comments above(fig.01), almost half of respondents (45%) placed salary as the most influential factor in their decision to take a job or not. (fig.02)But that is not the whole story.

According to the survey, 32% of respondents found workplace culture to be a primary influence on their decision. For 16%, a significant proportion of the sample, their decision was most influenced by physical workplace conditions (fig.02). Interestingly, work technologies were the least attractive factor (around 7%).

Put simply, when combined, workplace facilities and culture can exceed the lure of money.

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Workspace of the week

Fairphone's new offices built using reclaimed materials

The offices of smartphone manufacturer Fairphone were created inside a former industrial building – and informed by the same sustainable design principles the company uses for its products.

Fairphone aims to make its Android devices from ethically sourced materials, following a modular design that allows users to swap and replace defunct components rather than buy a new phone. Its first model was launched in 2013, and the Fairphone 2 is set for release this autumn.

The company wanted this ethos to translate through to the interior for its new workspace, located in a warehouse building along Amsterdam’s northern docks that dates back to 1884.

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News

We are delighted to welcome Sam Dawson to KONTOR!

We are expanding the breadth of our services aimed at the creative, media and tech industries through the recruitment of Sam Dawson.

Sam joins the team to focus on providing flexible office solutions to high-growth businesses in London. Deploying his specialised knowledge and experience of the sector, he will advise on both flexible, serviced offices for businesses looking to grow and traditional leases for businesses further along their growth path.

Welcome to the KONTOR family Sam!

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Workspace of the week

ReMIX Studio renovates house into office with metal mezzanine

Architecture firm reMIX Studio has transformed a traditional house into its own office space, pairing glass and steel with the original wooden structure.

With the property in a state of disrepair, the studio demolished false ceilings to create space, and removed plaster from brick walls to create “interesting textures that were worth exhibiting”. The traditional pitched wooden roof was also restored.

The ground floor of the building is now used as a co-working and exhibition space. Office staff can occupy desks on a new mezzanine level, with a metal grid floor that allows light to filter down. Newly installed glazed windows also bring additional natural light into the space.

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What we're reading this week

London to lose a third of creative workspace

London is set to lose 3,500 creative workspaces by 2020 according to mayor Boris Johnson, who is asking planners and developers to prioritise culture as well as housing.

“As London continues to grow and prosper, there is a critical need to build more homes for Londoners, but this should not be at the expense of our culture and distinctiveness, which are hugely important for our economy,” said Johnson.

His office has published a 40-page A-Z of planning and culture, which offers steps that can be taken to protect and support culture as new developments spring up across the city.

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News

Our favourite #WorkspaceWeWant to work in of 2015!

To round out 2015 we thought we would share one of our favourite offices of the year. Designed by Steven Vandenborre Architects this project takes minimalism to a whole new level and we want to work there!

Because of the scale of the building, the interior design of the new offices was based on a small city where you walk, work, sit and dine like in a real city. After studying plans of old, organically grown cities Steven Vandenborre Architects worked out a kind of promenade in the building (‘Rambla’) with squares (‘Plazas’), terraces and large stairs.

The main goal of the design was to eliminate all disturbing objects and to make a feature of the typical character of the building like the concrete columns, concrete floors, big spaces and large panoramic windows.

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News

Round up of what we got up to in 2015

Before we get carried away with 2016 we thought we would share some of our highlights of 2015:

~ We acquired more than 450,000 sq ft in total working with some awesome clients such as WeWork, Propercorn, Dr Ed and Hassle to name but a few.

~ Carrying out over 700 property viewings in the process.

~ KONTOR was nominated for both the CoStar and Property Week Best Newcomer of The Year Awards 2015.

~ Co-founder James was recognised by Property Week as one of the top 40 property professionals under 40 (we like to think its a team effort).

~ We ventured out from our home comforts of London and visited new markets such as Amsterdam, Berlin, Stockholm, Paris, Dublin, Brussels, Antwerp, Tel Aviv, New York, Miami and Toronto.

~ Thats a total of 92 flights and 80,000 sq ft acquired as a result.

~ We welcomed Jack Fryer to the KONTOR family and not forgetting Amy our artificial intelligence P.A.

~ 587 cups of green tea consumed … thanks Jack (we’re a healthy bunch!)

Above all we had the pleasure of working with industry leading clients and having loads of fun along the way. Bring on 2016!

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Workspace of the week

Ateliers transforms old technology museum into flexible office for Connekt

A plywood bar that transitions into a staircase forms the centre of this office and networking hub housed in the Dutch city of Delft’s former technology museum.

The facility was designed by local firm Ateliers for Connekt, a non-profit organisation that supports a network of enterprises and institutions focused on improving mobility in the Netherlands.

Ateliers was asked to oversee the creation of Connekt’s offices and a drop-in space in the same building that its members can use for causal networking, formal meetings or large conferences …

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What we're reading this week

The office cubicle: from commercial flop to best-selling design classic

The office cubicle turns 50 years old this year. Andrew Shanahan investigates the history of the system that revolutionised office design and which, after falling out of favour, is now being re-evaluated.

It was 1965 and George Nelson took to the stage, soaked up the applause and accepted the Alcoa Industrial Design Award for his role on the Action Office (AO-1). The two most surprising aspects of this celebratory moment are that Nelson’s design had been a commercial failure and his speech entirely failed to mention Robert Propst.

Propst had invented the Action Office after three years of work at the newly-formed Herman Miller Research Corporation, with Nelson drafted in to give Propst’s ideas form. What no one at the awards ceremony could possibly know is that this was a product that would soon take over the world, make Propst an incredibly wealthy man and change the workplace forever.

Put on your party hat, release the balloons: it’s the 50th birthday of the office cubicle!

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Workspace of the week

TRA's amazing new offices by Jose Gutierrez

TRA are a leading edge research and analytics business who are at the forefront of their industry. A key part of what they do is gathering and analysing consumer information for their clients, offering insights to unlock and drive new avenues for growth. We wanted to play on the capture and processing of information and somehow translate what TRA does into a 3 dimensional form, into the architecture of the space.

The spatial brief asked for an open plan office of 40, including a boardroom as well as a series of smaller meeting rooms and a staff break-out area. In order to preserve the character and not dominate the existing space, the new spaces were created by the insertion of pragmatic volumes within the existing framework. These volumes were then clad with mirrored panels so as to dematerialize, reflect and accentuate the raw fabric, in particular the history and patina of the existing building …

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What we're reading this week

Can we make new office buildings as cool as warehouses?

We are rapidly running out of old warehouse buildings to renovate, and selling space in the glassy towers of the central business district is difficult as corporate buildings become less and less attractive. We need a new building that is attractive to companies who cut their teeth in co-working incubators before seeking their own digs.

We are a society obsessed with the new. We want to look eternally young, drive the latest car, wear runway-fresh clothes and have up-to-the-minute technology at our fingertips. We do not care if the battery in our phones cannot be changed, because we are happy to simply get a newer phone. The American pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness is a glittering glare of polish and gloss, all sparkling and new.

That is, unless we’re talking architecture …

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News

500 Startups arrives in London with “Distro Dojo”

We are pleased to have helped our friends at 500 Startups find their new home in London.

Silicon Valley’s 500 Startups isn’t new to the U.K. or Europe by any means. The seed investor and accelerator program has backed something in the region of 15 to 20 British startups, depending on how you count these things, and over 50 European startups overall.

But now they are officially setting up shop in London with the launch of “Distro Dojo”, a new three-month program for ‘post-seed’ startups that will aggressively focus on growth in a bid to help bridge the gap between seed funding, which is arguably becoming plentiful in the U.K., and the so-called Series A “crunch”.

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Workspace of the week

"Welcome to the Fold" - Ad Agency Fold7's new offices

Paul Crofts Studio carried out the refurbishment of a 1980s office block in Clerkenwell, London, for advertising agency Fold 7.

The London-based studio reconfigured the space, adding a stage-like platform between the basement and upper floors, soft seating areas and a new staircase.

The team also added homely furnishings to meeting spaces hidden behind a bookcase, and created a range of neon and graphic signage displaying tongue-in-cheek messages.

“The key drivers were that we would make the place feel inviting … keeping in tune with their strap-line ‘welcome to the fold’, which was was translated as welcome to my home.”

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What we're reading this week

'Made to be moved' shipping container offices by Arcgency

Stacked three storeys high, the used shipping containers are conceived as an experimental prefabricated scheme that challenges universal waste issues and traditional building techniques. the span between the units is utilized as flexible space for primary workspace functions, while interiors can be used for secondary functions such as meeting rooms, workshops and storage.

The container stack is wrapped with high performing insulated sandwich panels, which help protect against the harsh scandinavian climate. the cladding is bolted directly onto the container frame – as are the windows, roof elements and internal floor slabs. visible installations are used for water, electricity and heating, making it easy to set up and take down …

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Meet the architects

Kontor x Jump Studios

We caught up with Simon Jordan from Jump Studios to find out more about this exciting architecture and design firm and the future trends within workspace design.

What does the brand stand for?
A point of excellence in the work, rather than a point of difference.

What are you trying to achieve?
Through good design, improve how we experience the built environment.

How is the studio evolving?
As architects, we think technology and how it will increasingly mediate the world around us, how the digital world is permeating the physical world, is interesting. We are already developing skill sets around designing digital interfaces to complement our architectural skills.

What exciting projects are you currently working on?
We’re working on a series of innovative workspaces for Google and Yahoo! Saatchi & Saatchi, Mother London, Sutherland Global, Nike and Rapha, to name a few.

Where do you draw your inspiration?
From the good designers that populate our Studio!

Who do you admire both within and outside your industry?
Brands or organisations who have a clearly defined ‘higher purpose’ than merely the profit motive.

With your experience having worked for a myriad of exciting clients have you noticed any particular changes or trends emerging within workspace design?
I think if we take a step back from the architecture, and look at prevailing social, economic and technological trends you’ll see the clues; the demise of state and social institutions have given birth to a more informal social culture, and that’s reflected in more informal, less hierarchical work spaces. With the Western, liberal democracies having to deal with maturing economies, we find people working harder and spending more time at work, hence the provision of more lifestyle amenities; showers, cafes, play areas and learning environments. Technology is liberating people from desk bound computers and we see a move to more eclectic and diverse work settings, perhaps more domestic in feel – which brings us full cycle to informality again!

Taking this one step further If you were given a blank canvas by a client to design the workplace of the future, what would it look like?
I’d love to see clients think differently about work spaces being closed, introspective, private spaces and open up to more community focused, shared and collaborative spaces, perhaps with a shifting mix of like minded tenants – perhaps brining together business partners, supply chain, even customers, under one roof. Making it more accessible too.

Turning to Jump Studios itself where would you ideally be located?
East London for it’s vibrancy

What would it look like?
It’s more important how it feels, rather than how it looks….when designing, it’s always important to define the experience you are looking for first hand, before designing any spaces, elements or furniture.

What is most important to you – location, cost, transport, amenities?
A confluence of all these is the ideal

Would you consider moving to areas such as Haggerston, Dalston, Hackney Wick or what about south of the river Bermondsey, New Cross or Peckham for example?
London continues to be seen as a city at the forefront of progressive culture and creativity and this is in partly due to the concentrated, dense nature of the city; you end up with architects, fashion designers, musicians, technologists, artists all sharing the same spaces which leads to more interesting outputs. So long as London maintains this ‘friction’ any area including those mentioned will be desirable to ambitious creatives, entrepreneurs and thought leaders.

Is it imperative for your business to be in London?
Yes, but not exclusively in London. It is the best place for creativity, and so good to reinforce our positioning on a global stage, good for recruitment, good for retaining the best and brightest and not a bad place to live either!

To see more of Jump Studios amazing work please see www.jump-studios.com

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Workspace of the week

Archiproba transforms 1920s building into offices for Dream Industries

The top floor of this former Soviet telecommunications building in the centre of Moscow has been converted by studio Archiproba into an open plan office for a technology company.

Called DI Telegraph, the new flexible space occupies the upper floor of the 1927 Central Telegraph building designed by Soviet architect and engineer Ivan Ivanovich Rerberg. The corner site building on Tverskaya Street had been derelict for several years before its recent restoration.

The Moscow-based studio striped the dilapidated building back to the original concrete shell to produce an open plan workspace for technology company Dream Industries …

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WORKac shuns "office as playground" for Wieden + Kennedy's New York HQ

You won’t find slides, ping-pong tables or other faddish touches at the New York offices of advertising agency Wieden + Kennedy, designed by US architecture studio WORKac.

Instead, the 4,600-square-metre space in Lower Manhattan features places for collaborative work and discussion between Wieden + Kennedy employees.

“The design for Wieden + Kennedy New York moves away from the office-as-playground to put work back at the heart of creative work,” said WORKac …

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Workspace of the week

Analog Folk's Offices by DH Liberty

New firm DH Liberty inserted a mezzanine level, a new staircase and a glazed glass facade to add a distinct character to the building with exposed brickwork and iron columns in the heart of London’s creative district, resulting in a large industrial loft-like work space.

The brief from the occupants, digital advertising agency Analog Folk, was to harness the company’s use of traditional values and digital technology to inform the look and feel of the space.

The result is an aesthetic that draws heavily on reclaimed objects dotted around the 929-square-metre property alongside a simple black and white colour palette …

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Meet the designers

Kontor x Village Green

Kontor talks to Paul Byrne and Seb Marling of Village Green to learn more about this exciting creative studio based in Clerkenwell and what they look for in a workspace.

What does the studio stand for?
Creative excellence and rigorous execution across any field that we work in.

Being creatively led means you focus on the output and we find our clients respond to that. In general this has served us well. You can’t always get your own way and you have to make it pay but good work makes opportunities for more good work.

What direction is the business going in?
Recently our work has been very much across three areas. Property, our ongoing work for Nike and work for arts institutions such as The Barbican.

Broadly we are involved in branding, image making and marketing creative. Property branding and marketing has been a really interesting sector for Village Green over the past few years. It takes a little while to get underneath the business but there are some genuine creative opportunities to be had.

Where do you aspire to be?
More of the same. You are always looking out for a bigger project or a new exciting opportunity but we have been fortunate enough to have some great clients. We feel very confident in our ability to create good work at any level.

What exciting projects are you currently working on?
We are currently creating the branding and marketing for two properties in and around the City / Shoreditch fringes. Both have been very exciting and as ever we are enjoying immensly.  We also have a big project delivering for Nike which runs across image making, marketing, digital and retail environments and an interesting brief from the Barbican we are working on.

What is one of your favourite projects to date?
Alphabeta from a property perspective. We were brought in following our work on the Bonhill Building (home of Mind Candy and others) to brand and market a huge 220,000sq ft building on Finsbury Square initially called Triton Court. We needed to alter perspective so a strong branding aesthetic was brought in alongside a very understanding client. We developed everything from the marketing suite, to the agents presentation, interior wayfinding, all marketing collateral and website etc…good brief, good client and good results.

Where do you draw your inspiration?
Never an easy answer to that. We are quite intuitive and the senior team have worked together for quite a while now so there are subliminal modes of understanding bouncing around the studio. That said, individually people have quiet different aesthetics and approaches. Like most designers, I imagine, It’s about the things that we see and take an interest in and how we research, share ideas and refine them.

Who do you admire within your industry?
From a creative studio perspective I think there are a lot of groups / people out there doing great work. Too many to list. Many we like do very different work to VG but if ever you see work you wished you’d done you admire it and take inspiration from it.

Turning to the property side of things what is it that you as a studio look for in a workspace?
An open area that we can make our own.

Given a blank canvas where would you be located?
Clerkenwell works well for us as its close to Central but also on the fringes of Shoreditch and The City.

What is most important to you?
Location, cost, transport and amenities are all important. It’s a balance of all.

How, if at all, has this changed over time?
At a previous agency some of us were based in West London as that was where many of the companies we worked for happened to be, but over time the work comes to you wherever you are and East London feels more like home.

Would you consider moving to areas such as Dalston, Haggerston and Hackney Wick or what about south of the river, Bermondsy, New Cross, Peckham?
All the areas you mention are interesting. As long as the area is well connected for all of our staff I think we’d be open to most of them; as a small business we are cost sensitive. Haggerston currently has many lovely spaces and is an area we are quite fond of.

To see more of Village Greens amazing work please see www.villagegreenstudio.com

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News

Launching our new Pinterest page

A picture is worth a thousand words and we couldn’t help but compile some of our favourite workspace and architectural images over on our new Pinterest page.

Serving not only as daily inspiration but a reminder that there is no excuse for mediocre office design. Enjoy!

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Workspace of the week

Flamingo's Offices by Neri&Hu

Shanghai-based studio Neri&Hu has converted an industrial roof space in Shanghai into offices for leading global insight and strategic consultancy Flamingo. The design features a series of house-like forms that are inserted into a landscape of concrete platforms, breaking down the homogenous volume. The roof becomes not just a singular element, but can be experienced on multiple levels, from various vantage points and scales.

Based on the paradoxical and enigmatic notions of the attic, the designers wanted to exaggerate the existing condition by occupying the space within the eaves of a roof, giving people the sensation of both being tucked away and looked upon …

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What we're reading this week

When One Size Does Not Fit All: Rethinking the Open Office

Workplace design has undergone a radical transformation in the last several decades, with approximately seventy percent of today’s modern offices now converted to open plans. However, despite growing concerns over decreases in worker productivity and employee satisfaction, the open office revolution shows no sign of slowing down.

The open office model has proliferated without regard for natural differences in workplace culture, leading to disastrous results when employees are forced into an office that works against their own interests. If we are to make offices more effective, we must acknowledge that ultimately, design comes out of adapting individual needs for a specific purpose and at best, can create inviting spaces that reflect a company’s own ethos.

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Workspace of the week

SoundCloud Headquarters by KINZO

The new headquarters of internationally renowned online platform SoundCloud cover three levels and approx. 4,000 square metres of an old brewery building close to the former Berlin Wall. The complex, designed to serve as a future incubator for up-and-coming start-ups, will become the one-stop office for all 180 Berlin employees of the foremost hub for musical exchange on the net. Anticipating future expansion of the rapidly growing SoundCloud platform, the spacious offices could potentially accommodate up to 350 desks.

To provide the company and its new HQ with a matching spatial identity and the right architectural framework for the platform’s novel business and working structures, SoundCloud asked KINZO to turn its new hub into a space that exudes and encourages innovation and creativity. The platform envisaged a welcome beacon in Berlin’s office landscape that both shapes the company and evolves with SoundCloud over the years. Against this background, KINZO’s conversion redefines the rules of office design with its tangible reflection of a virtual community …

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Red Bull's INABA-designed office is the "antithesis" of trendy workspaces

When it comes to a high-energy drink giant like Red Bull, most would probably expect their corporate offices to reflect the sporty, frat bro-friendly culture that the brand overwhelmingly attracts. Not a single hint of that can be seen in the company’s newly designed office in New York by Brooklyn-based architects INABA.

In fact, Red Bull’s New York office looks generic and insignia-free — which is not common for large companies. INABA states that the design doesn’t integrate the latest theories of workplace productivity nor is it driven by narrative or graphic imagery. It ignores workspace interior trends like grand-scale gestures, playful recreational lounges, or urban-chic office decor. On the other hand, the no-brand minimal aesthetic is a growing trend itself as well …

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Meet the next generation of workspace

Kontor x Hello Work

Alex Hill from Hello Work tells us more about their vision to revolutionise the traditional workspace.

Alex, tell us a bit about yourself and Hello Work.
I’m project coordinator at Hello Work, which Allied London set up a year and half ago as a next generation property company to service their workspace assets. Hello Work looks at the new way of working and providing workspace for businesses of any size.

Where did the inspiration for Hello Work come from?
It came from looking at the relationship between start-ups and the property industry and the inefficiencies, especially in terms of cost, flexibility and how the traditional office market doesn’t allow for the new age of business to evolve and adapt to market demands. This is important from Allied London’s perspective, in regards to developing the right building that will stand for the next 50-100 years.

How does the concept of Hello Work therefore cater for those start-ups?
It works with developers to provide workspace for companies at every stage of the growth cycle, so whether you are a one man band with a great idea looking to hot desk or whether you are more established and want to take a number of permanent desks in the co-working facilities all the way up to the larger self contained units. The difference between competitors and us is that we allow for growth through our spaces, as well as nurturing our ecosystem keeping our community engaged, so it becomes the place you want to be! The concept began with start-ups; however larger international corporations are now evolving the way they work so the workspace concept becomes appealing to them also.

In terms of the roll out where is Hello Work currently and where do you plan to take it?
We have our first co-work space in Manchester which is currently 3,000 sq ft with 300 members and have an aggressive 24 month plan to open two more spaces in Manchester, one in Leeds and two in London.

Hello Work in Manchester is part of the Old Granada Studios site; do you envisage it being an integral part of the wider scheme?
Absolutely. It’s very much a site with the ‘Shoreditch feel’, based on creativity, independence, and creating experiential spaces. There’s currently no property company or platform to service those requirements, especially those with larger workspace requirements. We like to be forward thinking and work with different contractors, agents and the tenants themselves which in turn replicates our ethos and brand so it’s a great synergy. We have over 100,000 sqft of workspace and are at about 80% occupancy within 6 months.

In terms of your growth plans you mentioned London, are there any particular areas that you have your eye on?
It would be silly not to look at East London, however, we feel that does overlook other exciting areas. If you look at Southwest, Hammersmith for example there’s lots of exciting and established enterprise companies. All along the central line provides exciting locations for us, and not just your usual spots, we will concentrate on the micro market and ensure the fundamentals are in place.

With regards to the actual designs of the Hello Work space, where do you draw your inspiration?
We’ve travelled to the likes of New York, Amsterdam and Berlin and have been taking inspiration from a wide variety of places and spaces, which we then turn into reality with Hello Work. We feedback our ideas to our architects and they will translate our brief to provide us with a base concept, we’ll then evolve the top layer of design to make sure it has the Hello Work personal touch.

How do you see the co-working and serviced office market evolving over the next few years?
I think it will go national and establish itself as a core platform for the businesses discussed earlier. There is a lot of activity going on in the regions, they just haven’t shouted about it until now. I think it’s quite diluted in London already and we’ll see a retraction of co-working operators as they consolidate and evolve, the larger operators are now entering the market and will probably end up taking up an even greater market share.

How do you plan on promoting the Hello brand to become an established market player?
We invest a lot of time in networking, being a part of the community, attending events and become a face in the local community, before opening a space. Then we roll out our Hello campaign including a number of events which engage potential members. If we’re not sure on a location these events provide real-time feedback as to which areas work better than others. Upon finding the right location and property the whole promotion campaign escalates quickly including a carefully combined marketing plan. The real key however remains word of mouth and being embedded within the community, to demonstrate we are genuine as opposed to who has the largest marketing budget and who can shout the loudest.

To learn more about Hello Work please see www.hellowork.co.uk

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What we're reading this week

Conceptual office swaps chairs and desks for "experimental work landscape"

Medical research suggests that too much sitting down can be bad for your health, so RAAAF and Barbara Visser have developed an experimental office that encourages workers to lean, perch or even lie down.

Spending every day at a desk increases exposure to a range of health issues, from heart disease to cancer, diabetes and obesity say researchers from Sweden, Australia and the UK. The End of Sitting is conceived as a space where sitting is just one of the options available …

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Workspace of the week

Lowe Campbell Ewald Headquarters by Neumann/Smith Architecture

A creative space for a creative company.  Neumann/Smith Architecture helped advertising agency, Lowe Campbell Ewald, breath new life into a 100-year old building, setting a precedent for repurposing long vacant Detroit, Michigan, buildings, shining the light on historic preservation and anchoring the creative sector’s place as a strong economic engine for Detroit.

Bench furniture configurations and minimal fixed rooms were selected to create a more open and collaborative office environment. The design also makes creative use of recycled materials including wooden pallets, 500 locally salvaged wood doors sliced up into slatted partition pods, and electrical conduits used as room dividers.  The space features other sustainable solutions including reclaimed barn wood from Michigan, counters made of concrete, and chairs with recycled content and environmentally friendly fabrics …

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News

Launching our new series 'Workspace of the week'

Over on Twitter @KontorLondon we have been sharing unique workspaces around the world using the hashtag ‘#WorkspacesWeWant to work in’ to highlight these amazing spaces and prove that the traditional office doesn’t have to be boring.

This series of ‘Workspace of the week’ cherry picks our favourites. Enjoy!

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Meet the designers

Kontor x Bibliotheque

We caught up with Tim Beard, co-founder of Bibliotheque, to find out more about the company and what they look for in terms of workspace.

What is Bibliotheque and what does the company stand for?
A design Studio. Creative Thinking. Intelligent Creating.

What did you set out to achieve?
Constantly pushing to make things better. By creating beautiful, useful and innovative work.

Where do you aspire to be?
In London. (A bigger studio would be a step forward though).

What exciting projects are you currently working on?
A new kind of Watch magazine. A website for restauranteur Alan Yau. An identity for an Old Bond Street art foundation. A new permanent gallery at the Science Museum.

What is one of your favourite projects to date?
Identity for Ollo. A mobile broadband service provider, for emerging markets.

Where do you draw your inspiration?
Books, Art, Music, Food, Film, Conversation, Exhibitions, The Past, The Present, The Future.

Who do you admire both within and outside your industry?
Anyone who continually innovates, and pushes the boundaries, at the highest levels. Comme des Garçon is always a pretty good place to start. We try to look outside our industry for inspiration, rather than inside it. Those who are good, know it, and don’t need us to tell them.

Turning to the property side of things, what is it that you look for in a workspace?
A single big raw open space, with character. Not a place with nasty polystyrene tiles on the ceiling.

Given a blank canvas where would you ideally be located?
Right where we are now. EC2.

What would it look like?
Honest, with some interesting materials, Grade A finishing and the look of being put together by a combination of Tadao Ando, Saana, Peter Zumthor and Herzog & de Meuron. We’re thinking of hiring them.

What is most important to you – location, cost, transport, amenities?
All of the above. When we moved in our rates were more than our rent. Cost is a bigger and bigger issue, which will invariable impact on the other three parameters.

How do you occupy the space and why?
We try to make it our own, within the parameters that are set for us. We just need to create an environment which facilitates good work, inspires our staff and is centrally located for all travel parameters.

How do you see things going in the future?
Unless there is a change in rental prices, out of Central London.

Where are your competitors moving?
Further east.

Would you consider moving to areas such as Dalston, Haggerston and Hackney Wick or what about south of the river (Bermondsey, New Cross, Peckham etc)?
Dalston/Haggerston/London Fields/Hackney Wick – Yes to all. South of the River is not on our specific radar for a studio – but I wouldn’t rule it out if the place was right.

Why would you move to some and not others?
Being as central as possible is very useful to us. For both our staff and our clients connectivity. You pick up a surprising ammount of work, just bumping into people on the street, and staying engaged with your collaborators.

Would you consider other regional cities?
London is where its at for us.

Europe?
One day. (After New York and Tokyo).

To see more of Bibliotheque’s amazing work please see www.bibliothequedesign.com

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