A newly formed property developer needed more space and asked us to refurbish a Victorian industrial space with a rich history of alterations. The building was ill-suited to office conversion, having high ceilings, hard surfaces, a large volume and very deep floor plate, features that present considerable acoustic, lighting and building services challenges. Since the client was to occupy it, the refurbished space had to embody their visions and reflect their cultural values as well as their immediate operational needs. In particular, they wanted delight and surprise at every turn.

We responded to the very tight 18-week programme with a playful manipulation of texture, colour, volume and light that amplifies the original fabric and sets the scene for the new. Our ‘floating’ boardroom and feature circulation elements add valuable extra net internal area. They are also fun, aiming to engage staff and precipitate collaboration. Reflective materials help to bring natural light deep into the space.

Overall, the 2785 m2 building functions as a flexible, contemporary workplace. As the client said, “It is an environment that has felt like home from day one.

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Project credits


  • Project Director: Lee Marsden
  • Architect: Tom Lea
  • Architect: Rafid Sulaiman
  • Associate: Michael Henriksen
  • Associate: Eoin O'Leary
  • Architectural Assistant: Daniel Craig
  • Architectural Assistant: Anna Rubin


  • 2016 BD Architect of the Year Awards, Best Office Architect of the Year - shortlist


  • Structural: RWA
  • M&E: MTT
  • Project Manager: Beadmans
  • QS: Beadmans
  • Interior Design / Furniture Layout: ARD

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