Instead of the more expected glass structure, this innovative addition reimagines the conventional terraced-house extension, celebrating and elevating the humble brick. The brick’s inherent potential as a stackable module is maximised to create a more sculptural expression of the material.
Using bricks reclaimed from the fabric of the house, the extension exploits the rights of light diagram to create a staggered, extruded form that appears to melt away from the existing structure. This rhythmic stepping generated by the brick is echoed throughout the interior and is integrated in both the plan and section. Viewed from the terrace above, the form creates a striking silhouette – a feature rare in more straightforward additions.
Inside, the domestic setting is dramatised by a considered sequencing of spaces – transforming the expansive ground floor into a journey through carefully designed ambiences.
The standard layout has been flipped, with the kitchen taking its new place at the front of the house – an often underused, forgotten space. Here, the original features of the house are retained, emphasised by dark colours and material tones. Moving onward, the spaces unfold in a sequence from dark to light – intensifying the bright, voluminous feel of the addition. In the centre, the dining room is marked by a change in floor treatment: narrow timber planks with aligned seams transition between the smooth concrete of the kitchen and the roughly-grained concrete of the extension. A light-well ensures the full depth of the plan is bright, and provides a moment of pause within the interior. Here, where faceted glass meets stepped brick, the geometry of the concept is accentuated.
Working closely with the structural engineers, an entirely column-free space has been created in the extension, using laser-cut, double-direction stepped beams to support the first floor. The structure of the addition is integrated into the design from the start – working hand-in-hand to create the appearance of a first floor that is sunken into the extension.
The brick, left exposed inside and out, is celebrated in a way that respects the existing house while clearly departing from the traditional language of the historic architecture.
Photography: Ben Blossom
Completion October 2018
Bureau de Change’s window installation for British retailer Charles Tyrwhitt, creates the impression of a traditional tailor’s cutting room. It offers existing and new customers an insight into technical processes, used in the creation of the brand’s products, whilst representing the craftsmanship and British heritage at the heart of the collections. Bridging the entrance to the store beyond, the installation acts as welcoming threshold, in keeping with the brand’s accessible reputation.
An array of pattern pieces, used in the construction of the brand’s products, have been replicated in a range of British timbers - Elm, Oak, Cherry, Chestnut, Ash and Poplar. Pattern ‘families’, corresponding to particular garments, shoes or accessories, are crafted in a different wood species. The contrasting colours and patinas distinguish different products and highlight the brand’s diverse product range, beyond their beautifully crafted shirts. Unexpected objects are placed within the composition emphasising the brand’s playful humour.
Photography: Ben Blossom
PART OF OPEN HOUSE LONDON 2016
THE TIMES BEST HOMES AWARDS 2016 - WINNER
HARINGEY DESIGN AWARDS 2016 - WINNER
LONDON DESIGN AWARDS 2016 - WINNER
RIBA MANSER MEDAL 2016 - SHORTLIST
AJ SMALL PROJECTS 2015 - SHORTLIST
NEW LONDON ARCHITECTURE DMIA 2015 - SHORTLIST
A three storey period terrace house in North London, appealed for a scheme that would open up views to the adjoining Parkland Walk conservation area.
The focal point of the project is a pleated roof at the back of the house, which appears to be formed from a flat surface, forced to crinkle up into a faceted structure, as it is pushed up against the exterior wall. From the garden, the pleats are purposefully sunk from view, creating the impression of a simple flat roof, which allows the character of the original building to stand out.
Forming a side and rear extension, the roof expands the existing kitchen and creates a new dining and work area. The roof pleats are replicated along the party wall, concealing a home office which can be opened up when required. The boundary of the kitchen is marked assertively by the end of the pleated ceiling, which is capped by a midnight blue surface that emphasises its ample peaks and troughs. The poise of the roof offers natural points for the placement of generous skylights, bringing light into the living area and fulfilling the owners’ desire to see the nearby woodland whilst relaxing in the space.
The scheme is characterised by a rich palette of colours, materials and textures, which create a different experience in each space. Large terrazzo slabs, encaustic tiles and tonal parquet, complement the complexion of the original building, whilst enhancing the graphic impact of the angular extension.
Bureau de change has been commissioned to design the first furniture range for UK furniture brand Efasma. The range establishes the brand's ethos in creating innovative design products, which are shaped by a desire for an ecological approach and the use of natural materials, traditional techniques and quality craftsmanship.
The essence of the collection is drawn from the brand's origins in Greece, inspired by a wish to utilise talented local craftsmen and draw their skills out of the shadows of industrial manufacture. The country's basket makers and weavers, the skills of whom will be used in the manufacture of the furniture, inspired tactile and three dimensional handwoven surfaces. Single lengths of 100% cotton rope bind chair frames together, giving them rigidity - a concept which exemplifies the use of traditional techniques as a platform for innovation. Craftsmanship is enhanced by nanotechnology, which repels dirt from the cotton textile, increasing its longevity.
An interrogation of the aesthetic and functional potential of natural materials has also shaped the first collection, which is made up of handwoven walnut framed seating, substantial marble and timber dining tables, a coffee table and room divider. Woven surfaces are echoed in the geometry of the solid wood dining table, which plays with the direction and natural grain of solid oak and walnut. The same technique is used in the coffee table, in which puzzle like marble panels are rotated and pieced together to emphasise the natural veins running through the material.
The dining tables have been shaped by a slotting system, in which Efasma's dining chairs appear pushed into the edge of the table, leaving a footprint of satisfying brass clad notches.
Photography: Eliot Postma
NEW LONDON ARCHITECTURE DMIA 2016 - SHORTLIST
The focal point of the project is a concrete waffle shaped roof, which sits aloft the new living area. Its pre-fabricated peaks and troughs create trenches for rooftop planting, softening the volume, establishing a connection with the leafy surroundings and creating pleasing views from the floors above. From the garden, the roof trenches are out of sight, giving the immediate effect of a simple concrete slab, which contrasts with the texture of the original building.
The underside of the new roof is exposed to create the living room ceiling, its pronounced ‘beams’ created by the sunken roof planters above. The motion of the waffle ceiling creates a satisfying rhythm, which also offers a logical position for a substantial skylight that traverses the full width of the extension.
Although the living and kitchen areas are open plan, a selective palette of materials has been used to visually define these spaces and create an atmospheric contrast. In the living area, the materiality of the ceiling is echoed in concrete flooring, which stretches to meet the threshold of the kitchen. There, it creeps up the face of the kitchen island and turns back on itself to create a sculptural addition, in the form of a breakfast bar. The boundary of the kitchen is marked graphically, by a transition into rich monochromatic blue that floods the surfaces of the space, including its resin floor. The concrete appears to force its way into the kitchen’s footprint, creating a pathway around which the resin floor wraps.
Within the kitchen, monolithic volumes have a masking effect, concealing ample storage on one side and a cloakroom on the other. This allows the monochrome quality of the space to take the lead. Door edges are cleaved back to create geometric insets, which form handles, and whose elongated shape are repeated on the ceiling to create embedded lighting.
Photography: Ben Blossom
Bureau de Change was approached by independent award winning moving image production company Somesuch to design their new headquarters in Shoreditch.
A space located at the ground floor of an old warehouse overlooking the canal was chosen as the new home for the company’s growing team. With the main restriction being that windows are only located on one side of the space and a brief focusing on the ethos of the office and social aspect of the business, Bureau de Change created a unique design which has enhanced the company’s office culture since.
A ‘ribbon’ of wireframe outlined private meeting rooms and social spaces has been created at the back of the space spanning from end to end. That has allowed for all working stations to be located by the windows utilising natural light. The glazed volumes vary in shape and size creating a playful intervention which is punctuated by the kitchen inset. The kitchen is the focal point of the office and so a 3.5m long concrete island has been created to cater for the office’s communal cooking activities and food focused socialising, something which is at the very heart of the office’s culture. Inset lighting in the ceiling extenuates the glass volumes and an eclectic selection of furniture enhances the look of the space while the existing concrete and brick walls are left at their original state, forging a connection with the original building.
GRAND DESIGN AWARDS 2013 - SHORTLIST
The property, on a quiet street in West London, had originally been two houses and had been awkwardly combined some years earlier to form a single dwelling. Now owned by a family with two small children, those clumsy connections no longer worked.
The brief for Bureau de Change was three-fold: to open up the ground floor and connect it with the garden, to provide a generous family living space at the rear and to clearly define the spaces and their usage.
To maximise the space, key dividing walls between and within the two properties were removed and the old stairs replaced with oak cantilevered open treads. This added light, a sense of space and created a view, from the front door through to the garden.
An oak-wrapped box containing storage, partitions and a new cloakroom, forms the 'heart' of the space and provides a threshold between old and new, formal and informal. The rear facade is enveloped in 11 metres of glass forming a new kitchen and living space. At its edges the glazing appears to 'climb' over the building, creating skylights underneath which spaces have been carefully planned for eating, relaxing and cooking.
The project aims to be a canvas for the house, its inhabitants and their belongings. A simple materials palette of timber, white resin and glass was chosen to sit alongside old floorboards, cornicing and London stock brickwork.
Views were a key consideration – from the front door to the garden, down onto the skylights (where gutters are hidden in the structural frames) and across spaces.
The 'heart' of the home – the oak-wrapped box - is visible from every point of the ground floor. It performs multiple very practical functions, but the view is kept pure by hiding this beneath a simple routed oak structure.
In the extension, the facade maximises light in dining areas and limits light and potential heat intake in others – e.g: above the TV. Metalwork, which could give a 'heavy' feeling, is minimised with fine frames on the windows and a small beam to support the glass 'ceiling'.
Photography: Eliot Postma
Bureau de Change have created an installation for Sto Werkstatt, working with their intelligent façade paints to devise an immersive exhibition, which subtly evolves over its duration.
The response to the brief was to design a memorable environment, which would illustrate the properties of the paint in an evocative manner. Rather than ‘informing’ the visitor, by showcasing the product in a raw and detached context, the space is taken over by a sensorial intervention that captivates them.
The focus of the space is a three-dimensional surface, made from of 100 petal like forms, which are sunk into crisp white blocks. 100 pendulums are suspended directly above in a grid formation, with delicate wires creating a field of vertical elements. Green liquid gently trickles from the ceiling above, travelling down the wires and eventually dropping from the tips of the pendulums onto the petals below. On examining the surface of the petals, it becomes apparent that the installation is one of two halves. On half of the petals, droplets of green liquid are transformed into glassy beads that roll away. On the other half, green droplets create painterly blotches, whose layers build the intensity of colour throughout the exhibition.
Inspiration for the sculptural forms came from flower making tools, which were used when Sto Werkstatt’s building housed an artificial flower making factory from 1876 – 1932. This formed part of John Groom’s mission – a charity that trained impoverished and disabled women to craft these artificial flowers. The pendulums give a nod to the clock and watch making industry, which thrived in Clerkenwell from the beginning of the 18th Century, and in the surrounding Sekford Estate from the 1820s.
The sunken, petal like forms have been carved from Verolith - a lightweight construction material manufactured by Sto, which can be CNCd to form infinite surface textures. Each petal has been coated in a Sto intelligent façade paint or a conventional Sto façade paint. The paint used on half of the petals, which is part of Sto's Intelligent Technology (IQ) range, provides protection against algae and fungal growth. Its patented micro-textured surface ensures that water droplets run off quickly and with ease. In contrast, droplets cling to the surface of the conventional facade paint, cultivating over the course of the exhibition, layered green stains. While this painterly effect will be beautiful, the colour subtly hints towards the algae and fungal growth many facades are hindered with.
Photography: Ben Blossom
VM AWARDS 2015 - SHORTLIST
Bureau de Change was commissioned to design the window scheme for made.com’s Flagship Showroom in Soho / London. Located in one of Europe’s busiest shopping districts, the aim was to design a scheme that would stand out amongst the dominant façades of surrounding retailers and theatre buildings.
The studio concluded that continuity across the 24 metres of ground level glazing was essential, in order to create visual impact. Rather than display product behind the glass, the glazing itself becomes a full-scale representation of the product in an intricate permanent installation. Almost 40,000 clear rods puncture the 10 windows of the store to create three-dimensional ‘pinpressions’ (similar to the 1980’s executive PinArt toy) of some of MADE’s most iconic pieces of furniture.
Acting as a showroom for this online brand, as opposed to a buy ‘off the shelf’ store environment, it was important to go beyond the traditional window display format. Whilst maintaining compelling views into the interior space, the oblique views and feathered texture grabs the attention of shoppers, appearing almost animated as they pass by. Tipped with 80,000 bespoke machine turned steel caps, the scheme resembles an undulating digital display, referencing the foundations of the brand.
WORLD INTERIORS AWARDS 2015 / RETAIL - WINNER
The brief for the new MADE store is to re-evaluate the concept of a ‘showroom’ and incorporate technology in a way that would genuinely add value to the customer experience.
Located in one of Europe’s busiest shopping districts, the new store experience begins with the external windows. Rather than display product behind the glass, the glazing itself becomes a full scale representation of the product in an intricate permanent installation.
Almost 40,000 hollow clear plastic rods puncture the 10 windows of the store to create three-dimensional ‘pinpressions’ (similar to the 1980’s executive PinArt toy) of some of MADE’s most iconic pieces of furniture.
Inside, the store blends physical product with full scale projections in a series of room sets. Customers are guided through a network of white-washed walls - curved like the pages of a book (referencing the literary history of Charing Cross Road). These walls provide a clean backdrop for the furniture and a canvas upon which products can be projected. The use of large format projections mean a single room can show multiple combinations of product changeable on demand.
This opens up the possibility for customers to experience the full product catalogue without requiring a hangar-like showroom or costly central storage facilities.
Customers are provided with tablets on which they can browse and find further product information about their favourite pieces.
Alongside the digital experience, a large physical furniture sample archive provides an opportunity to touch and feel fabrics and explore colour swatches to help decision-making.
The exposed corner-plot location of this old pharmacy in an affluent Athens shopping district inspired a re-working of the traditional hair salon.
Glazing on two sides made the typical wall-facing format of salon seating restrictive. Instead the design explored using this unimpeded view into the space in a different way - as though it were a small stage set and for the project to be an installation rather than an exercise in interior design.
The 50m2 space is split between the main cutting floor (the stage) and a mezzanine space (back of house). The design adopts a trio of inward-facing seats each paired with a large ceiling-hung mirror. Clustering the seats in this way provides a more communal, sociable salon experience, encouraging interaction between the stylists and customers.
From the ceiling hang 130 individual picture frames. Fabricated from dark timber profiles (moldings, architrave, cornicing and skirting), the frames range in size from 16 by 21cm to 73 by 86cm.
Appearing as though randomly placed, the frames are carefully hung from 1mm thick steel wires, each tilted to form a suspended landscape. The frames spread from all four corners of the salon, before appearing to swoop downwards to meet the three customer mirrors. Whilst many are left empty, some are filled with mirrors and angled to provide that all-important ‘back of head’ view.
Simple lighting above the installation means that the frames cast dramatic silhouettes on the space beneath. These silhouettes change and distort depending on the time of day and direction of the sun’s path across the salon. Above the clients, three spotlights direct focus back on to the hair cutting experience and provide a flood of light over the hair crown of the customer, drawing them into the theatrical feel whilst in practical terms improving visibility for the stylist.
The 520 wires that hold the frame landscape create a mist-like presence that hovers just below the ceiling. The wires gently sway in response to movement in the space and customers entering the salon.
With glazing on three sides, an empty ground floor site in Chelsea invited a graphically robust scheme that would be visually compelling on both sides of the glass. The brief was to establish a strong identity, bringing cohesion to a headquarters with a variety of uses, and creating bold branding for a diverse business.
An elliptical ‘chamber’, with walls formed by a cluster of twisted 1mm thick brass ribbons, cuts an intimate central space into the glass box. The ribbons extend and glide across the ceiling, creating a permeable surface that folds sharply before landing at the base of the outermost glazing, where it is anchored to the floor using bespoke metal plates, cast into the concrete.
The 332 bespoke made panels banish the previously static character of the space. They cast dramatic shadows onto the polished floor, creating a rhythm of reflection, shadow and light that is animated for visitors as they circulate through the space.
The site is divided into two distinct spaces: the reflective events space, and warm monochrome office, workshop and meeting rooms. The threshold of the office is defined by movement into utilitarian white tiling and grey felt wall paneling, creating a hushed atmosphere that quietly opposes the liveliness of the brass cavern.
A one-off private commission, this table is for small, intimate meetings of up to five people. Designed for a client who is ‘always on’, the table aims to fit in a business or domestic environment.
Constructed from 50mm thick walnut veneer and brass, the slab-like table top appears to rest on fine 3mm thick brass legs - as though it is has been placed like a jeweller sets a stone into a surround. The top itself comprises 20 individual segments, book matched and mirrored to create a radiating geometric pattern.
Heavily inclined legs add to the structural illusion and provide room for people to sit in comfort.
Photography: Anna Stathaki
Twitter’s ‘Powered by Tweets’ exhibition at the London Design Festival 2015 has been designed and curated by Bureau de Change Architects.
The approach to the spatial design was to translate in three-dimensions the six winning concept proposals, entered as part of the competition set by Twitter. In order to create an impactful, unified and memorable experience, and establish fluid visitor flow, the spaces have been curated by means of a sensorial narrative and cohered by the integration of the installations into the fabric and character of Somerset House.
The exhibition opens with the reverberation of sounds from a typewriter, which bounce around the cavernous spaces and monolithic volumes emerging from the geometry of the traditional parquet floor beneath. The first installation - 'Word by Word' - creates a book as never seen before. Each word of Alice in Wonderland is printed via real time tweets, producing a seemingly infinite scroll of paper, which gathers at the bottom of the tank. For 'Pigeon Air Patrol', unexpected volumes rise in the centre of the space, acting as booths for viewing information, gathered by pollution monitoring pigeons as they fly you through four capitals of the world and report on the air quality. The vibrancy of sound, volumes and moving image, create an immediate connection between the visitor and exhibition content, bringing a physicality to the digital medium and creating a bold first impression.
A transition into calmness and comfort is established in the second space, in which shafts of soft colour are cast across the space. The windows of Somerset House are filled with tanks of coloured liquid, representing the rainbow flag. This installation, titled '#PutRedBack' raises awareness that gay men don't have equal rights in blood donation, in spite of the need for donors - one in four Britons will rely on donated blood in their lifetime. The final tank, fills with red liquid drop by drop, physically illustrating support for the campaign in real time. A crystalline mirror clad room reflects the soothing glow of the tanks, seeming almost to disappear as it seamlessly bounces back the symmetry of the surrounding interior and its elegant features. The snug and textural interior of this room is topped with a screen of mesmeric moving imagery, which invites visitors to lie down on its cushioned floor. Titled 'Social Mindscape', this space represents a therapeutic escapism for Cancer patients, in which soothing imagery can be created for each patient as they undergo treatment.
The serene quality of the second space is finally swept away by the visual punch and dramatic atmosphere in the final room, in which darkened walls highlight a captivating digital display for 'Word Watching', which flickers in real time with popular words used in Tweets. This illustrates the evolution of language and Twitter's power to monitor this. A water pump sits before a map sprinkled in lights for 'Tweet Taps' - an interactive display, which demonstrates to Water Aid donors where their donations are being used and their impact on surrounding communities (390 lights relate to actual pump locations in the world's countries in need).
‘Garden’ is an installation, displaying a vision of how thermochromic tiles could be used to create an immersive scheme within Islamic worship architecture.
Commissioned by the Architects’ Journal and Turkish Ceramics, the research project explores the work of Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan, and more specifically his introduction of Iznik tiles into Islamic worship architecture. He enhanced the religious experience through the visual theatricality of his tile panels and it is this sensorial quality on which the research hinges.
The project focuses on the potential of thermochromic pigments in the creation of environmentally responsive tiles. Research into fabrication techniques focuses on whether changing temperature within the mosque can activate a visual transformation in ceramic tile panels.
Traditional Iznik imagery is dissected into layers of colour including blue, turquoise and red, which are engineered to appear at different increments in temperature. When the mosque is empty and at its lowest temperature, tiles are pure white – allowing the grandeur of the surrounding architecture to take the lead. As the space gradually fills with prayer goers and the temperature rises, tendrils of floral imagery begin to appear. They seem to grow up the wall as patterns in blue and turquoise subsequently emerge. The visitor’s eye is drawn upwards to meet the floral patterns in their full vibrancy at the top, as red is introduced and a full and dense body of imagery is revealed.
Bureau de Change was shortlisted by the Royal Academy of Arts to design an installation, which would welcome the commencement of the Burlington Project - a masterplan by David Chipperfield that will join Burlington House and Gardens. The Fourth Arch is a proposal, which will change the visitors’ perception of the existing architecture.
The signature arches in the entrance hall are echoed in double vision, disrupting the formality of the existing architecture. They pinch the desire path from entrance to staircase, creating an enclosed centre within the lobby. This vantage point offers the visitor an opportunity to pause and anticipate the new life of the building. This anticipation is dramatized in the motion of the new staircases to a void destination.
The rich history of colour in Turkish ceramics inspires the palette within the space. The installation cites the dominant use of blue and turquoise, in the embellishment of buildings by Seljukid Turks in the 12th Century, and the more vivid hues the Ottoman Empire brought, including greens, corals and tomato reds. More recent digital printing and casting innovations are exposed on the outer surface of the arches. A river of colour slithers up the stairs, graphically tempting the eye of the visitor towards the site which will unite the two buildings.
Bureau de Change proposed to develop the connection between the Exhibition Road shop and the Museum collections, through a curatorial approach to retail design and display, inspiring visitors within the shop as well as the galleries. A connection with the galleries will also be forged, by introducing the familiar language of the Museum’s existing cases and cabinets into the new retail space. Digital interfaces will be integrated with product clusters in order to contextualise and augment the online experience and provide convenient access to product information.
The fit out proposal manifests a visual identity and language, which distinguishes the shop area. Variations in unit levels substantiate the shop’s presence within the generous height of the space. Formations of steel units with slim profiles, create a feeling of lightness, transparency and lucidity, offering views across the space.
Units are designed to offer maximum flexibility, operating in clusters with a multitude of compositional options. The non-linear layout and distribution of glass cases throughout the space offer an element of surprise and encourage browsing. A ‘discovery style’ shopping experience is offered to consumers, strengthening their connection with the brand and product. Clusters with elongated units can be orientated to ease traffic flow, also promoted by the feeling of openness created by the freestanding structures.
Simple forms and a classic colour palette complement the original building and elements revealed by the new extension, and elevate products on display. Simultaneously, the graphic contrast provided by steel clusters act as a visual stepping stone between the original and new building architecture.
Kit Grover, in association with Bureau de Change, was commissioned by Brooklyn Academy of Music to develop the schematic design for their Fulton Street development.
The project includes the much-loved Harvey Theatre - with its mix of early 20th Century columns, tiling and exposed stonework - a redundant events space (sited on the ground floor of an adjacent tower block) and a vacant building plot.
A modest single storey building is slotted into the vacant plot. It becomes the new main entrance as well as cafe and box office for BAM. The roof of this building provides a generously planted garden terrace for pre and post theatre use.
Moving the entrance frees up the Harvey Theatre entry hall to become a gallery where people can linger, rather than just pass through. Renovated in 1979 as a ‘modern ruin’, this idea is extended in the new theatre gallery which is sprayed with concrete to ‘fossilise’ the old character.
The project is also an opportunity to develop a distinct new external identity for BAM, one which is in keeping with its international profile, but with a sensitivity to its history and the theatre’s role in the cultural landscape of Brooklyn.
A single canopy is introduced, running the length of the three buildings, unifying and connecting them both visually and physically. The canopy is formed from multiple layers of fine steel mesh. At points the mesh is pinched to form ‘arrows’, marking the entrances and aiding wayfinding.
The mesh runs inside where it forms walls, backdrops and frames for posters promoting upcoming events. Akin to filters and gels used in stage lighting, the layering of the mesh creates shadows of light and dark within the space, the greater number of layers, the more dramatic the shadows become.
Bureau de Change was commissioned to design a contemporary cabin deep in the Smoky Mountains in North Carolina.
The brief was simple and focused. It should have three bedrooms and bathrooms, space for the client’s ATV (quadbike) and enable visitors to savour views across the mountainside.
The house, which nestles into the sloping site, takes its design inspiration from the traditional dogtrot house (a single storey dwelling made of two log cabins with pitched roofs, connected by an open-ended hallway or ‘dogtrot’), but adopts a radial design of four interconnected pitched roof structures, each with a fully glazed facade.
The radial start point is set from the rear of the property, spreading outwards at increments of 5 degrees. The dimensions of each room is defined by this - creating a rational for spatial layout and construction. A large open plan living space forms the keystone of the plan. From this radiate sleeping spaces to the East and a large kitchen and storage shed to the West. The storage shed with parking space is separated by a ‘dogtrot’, to take advantage of the mountain breeze.
The rooms are staggered along their axis, making space for corridors and circulation at the rear and animating the facade and creating a generous veranda at the front.
The main aesthetic of the property comes from a series of large timber beams which follow an opposing radial path (set from the front of the property). Able to span lengths of up to 20 metres, the beams fan outwards from the centre of the building forming a dramatic cantilevered roof profile. Where they meet a pitched roof, they hug its angular profile and at junctions with walls, track down to the floor, bedding the building into the mountainside. These wall-mounted beams provide a grid-like structure into which shelving can be formed and window and skylight openings made.
Located on the 9th floor of a Notting Hill tower block, the project was made.com’s first showroom.
The project explores the relationship between online and offline. Here, technology and software (QR codes, LCD touch screens and 3D scanners) sit alongside the physical product, fabric samples and furniture miniatures.
The experience for the customer begins at the ground floor lobby where the ceiling has been given texture using a more than 500 down-scaled replicas of some of made.com’s most identifiable pieces of furniture. To create the texture, products were 3D printed as miniatures which were used to formed silicon moulds. These were then cast in a yellow-tinted Jesmonite. Each of the 560 maquettes are then suspended from the lobby ceiling, creating a relief and a subverted glimpse of the product to come.
On the 9th floor, the old commercial office space has been stripped out and pared back, serving the dual purpose of providing a blank canvas for the product whilst emphasising the views over the London skyline.
On this floor, the space is divided into a series of curated room sets. The rooms are separated by hanging moveable lightweight screens built from translucent tensile fabric stretched over aluminium frames. The screens appear like photographic backdrops framing the product and referencing the images on the made.com website. When viewed from behind, the products appear as 2d silhouettes in monochrome alongside simple gallery style product information.
Towards the rear of the space a large pigeon hole cabinet contains postcards of each product with dimensions, material, pantone references and images. These product CVs are combined with abundant material samples to provide a product DNA for customers to takeaway.
Photography: Eliot Postma