DL/78 is located in 80 Charlotte Street, a new 30,000-square-metre mixed-use building designed by Make for property developer Derwent London. It is offered as an amenity to the company’s office customers.
MSMR Architects designed the space to be as flexible as possible, able to accommodate different types of office work and also events where Derwent London’s community can connect.
According to the studio, DL/78 “can be adapted to serve as a town hall for hosting presentations, talks and exhibitions”.
“Since the pandemic, there has been a lot of talk about the future of the office,” said MSMR Architects’ associate director Kevin Savage.
“It’s been interesting working on a project that is challenging workspace norms and starting to anticipate changing needs.”
With 780 square metres of floor space, the two-level DL/78 is spread over the ground and lower ground floors of 80 Charlotte Street.
Amenities centre around a grand double-height space, which is framed on two sides by high-level windows.
Different types of furniture help to organise this space into different zones, but can all easily be moved to facilitate different layouts when required.
Additional rooms wrap around one side of the space. These include a conference room, a series of meeting rooms, a wellness room, kitchen facilities and a public cafe operated by Lantana.
Glass screens are favoured over partition walls so that spaces can be both visually connected and acoustically private. There are also curtains, allowing certain areas to be sectioned off.
“This space is collaborative, flexible and more domestic in feel,” said Savage. “Is that what future office space might look like?”
Visually, the space is designed to reference British Constructivism, a 1950s art movement with strong links to Fitzrovia.
This can be observed in both 80 Charlotte Street’s architecture and the interior design of DL/78, with many details designed to express structure.
Key areas include the staircase, where mesh panels slot into the steel beams, and the junction between the balustrade and the exposed floor plate.
“A challenging programme meant that there was early engagement with trades and craftspeople during the design stages,” said project architect Aaron Birch. “This allowed for a more collaborative approach, which is evident in the detail and finish which really elevates the space.”
DL/78 is the latest is a series of projects that explore how office spaces might develop in the aftermath of the pandemic, with companies having to work harder to entice people away from working from home.
Other recent examples include a co-working space designed around wellness principles and an office with more meetings areas than desks.
Photography is by Jack Hobhouse.
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