A paradigm shift away from the archetypal corporate lobby experience, with a crafted, contextual approach
British Land is one of the largest property development and investment companies in the United Kingdom. But for the refurbishment and extension of its headquarters at 100 Liverpool Street, they wanted to counteract the sometimes-soulless quality of corporate lobbies and create a space that is surprising, aspirational, sociable and stylish.
We were appointed as Interior Design sub-consultants to Hopkins Architects Partnership and set about creating a design strategy for the building’s main entrance lobbies, lift lobbies and ancillary facilities that responds to the history of the site, which was previously Broad Street Station. We mapped out the main circulatory routes in the form of softly curving linear ‘tracks’, embedded into the concrete flooring, and kept in mind the informality of a station concourse throughout.
By responding to the building’s fluid form and curved envelope, we have been able to weave together different functions, qualities of space, experience and materials, introducing soft, geometric forms that act as beacons (or functional ‘stations’). These include an espresso bar at ground level and the main reception desk and café bar on the second floor in glazed volcano stone. Solid oak forms encourage people to stand and meet in various points throughout the ground and second floor lobbies. Other complementary materials include end-grain wood flooring and terrazzo to the central banquette seating zone, and a ceiling of repeated perforated metal fins, which are bathed in a warm glow from light sources above. For the north lobby entrance, the busiest route into the building, we brought in artist Lubna Chowdhary, previously artist in residence at the Victoria and Albert Museum, to create a colourful, ceramic-based artwork that explores the qualities of abstract views from a moving train window.
Overall, the breadth of design elements and social interactions they help to facilitate contribute to a paradigm shift away from the archetypal corporate lobby experience, with a crafted, contextual approach that has a strong focus on placemaking, and helps to foster a spirit of community throughout.