Reinventing the Workplace

DTRE were looking to expand their office space and create a completely different kind of workplace setting. Having expanded their business rapidly since our fit out of their offices at St. Christopher’s Place, London, they were now looking for a space double in size with a much more client-facing experience – i.e. where clients and partners in London could simply drop in, grab a coffee and work from their office space. Ideally they wanted to move away from the traditional reception area and create a more welcoming, dynamic reception with a coffee bar, client lounge, seminar room, bar and dining area and gym.

Size: 10,968 sq ft

Location: 2nd Floor, Dowley Turner Real Estate LLP, 25 Argyll St, London, W1F 7TS


Rethinking The Purpose of Office Space

We wanted to create a space that was unique and inspiring. This meant rethinking the very purpose of office space as a space for employees. We wanted to create a client-facing office that was as much about entertainment and enjoyment as it was about work. It would be the ultimate hosting experience that reflected DTRE’s own culture as much as their clients. We revisited the traditional concept of a “reception desk” where you arrive, check-in and sit down. Instead, we looked at creating a space that invited clients to partake in the company culture as soon as they walked through the lift doors. 

The project took approximately 4.5 months to complete (starting Mid-November 2021 with the client handover the first week of April). It began as a detailed presentation to the client with a detailed space plan, sketch ups and renders that were developed by our in-house design team. We followed the design and build methodology, bringing on board our trusted team of fit out contractors who we’ve worked with for over 15 years. Keeping in close contact with the client we transformed an empty white box with raised floors into an exquisite sub 11,000 sq ft space complete with open plan workstations, a gym, a coffee and wine bar, and bespoke joinery for the reception, client lounge, and presentation area with tiered seating. The project ran under the Considerate Constructors Scheme which provides strict guidelines on environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria. Our sustainability focus included and proposed reused furniture from the previous office.

K2 Space achieved this by creating a transformative client-facing office environment. This included a white marble-topped coffee bar complete with a bespoke metal gantry (to replace the traditional reception desk); a bespoke black marble-topped drinks bar and gantry (creating an inviting space to socialise); a beautiful 22-seat boardroom with a bespoke table and feature acoustic elements; and a presentation area with bespoke tiered seating joinery.

Unique Features and Innovative Technologies

In designing and fitting out the DTRE offices, we used a range of innovative technologies and ideas that transformed the space into one that was on-brand in terms of client focus and agile working conditions. These included a meeting room booking system for each of the offices, with red/green light system indicating whether rooms are occupied. The system also included a booking feature where teams could book from anywhere, helping to manage occupancy.

Another great innovation was the design of the reception area as a barista-style seating area, rather than a traditional reception desk. This move from the traditional reception area made the place far more welcoming and inviting for guests, and it added to the social atmosphere and ambience to the office space. Multifunctional client seating at the bar, dining room and event hosting area allowed guests to easily move from one area of the office to another. We also used bespoke Bleecher joinery, marble finishes and high-end furniture and fittings, which ensured that each part of the office felt unique and distinct while blending together perfectly.

Choosing the Right Materials, Lights and Fittings

Choosing the right furniture, fittings and lighting is crucial to the final result of any fit out project. In the client suite, for instance, we used contemporary style Muuto Under Bell Lamps to convey a warm and welcoming feeling. The Under The Bell Pendant Lamp is made largely from recycled plastic bottles, adding to the ESG focus of the project, while also contributing to the room’s acoustics and ambiance with its soft glow and organic lines.

Other lighting included the Amp lamp by Norman Copehagen, a beautiful pendant lamp steeped in nostalgia with the design originating from the glow of tube amplifiers in the 1960’s. The Amp pendant lamp fixed to the bar gantry added a sophisticated ambiance to the client entertainment area. The theme of a relaxed, upmarket wine bar setting was also carefully crafted in the client dining area where we used Tom Dixon Melt pendants. These exquisite blown-glass pendants imbued an almost entrancing effect.

The choice of materials also played a crucial role in dictating the mood and sentiment of the space. The use of marble for the wine bar counter, barista area and restroom walls added to the elegance to the office space. Parquet wood flooring throughout the space added warmth and comfort. We also used bespoke Bleacher joinery in the seminar area. The result was a very open space with soft padded, tiered seating, completely unlike the traditional theatre seating found in most office seminar and conference areas.

Boardrooms are traditionally quite austere, so again we broke with that tradition creating a very warm and earthy feel. We also added carefully considered acoustics enhancing the privacy of these spaces. Materials in the boardroom and meeting rooms included Cementon concrete wall panelling, renewable bamboo carved acoustical wall panelling by Plyboo, and Resonics and V-Tec acoustic panelling.

Biophillia also played a key part in the project supporting ESG goals and meeting the guidance set out by BREEAM. We used a combination of real and faux plants and foliage. A faux living wall was used in the teapoint area and in the barista bar gantry. We included a beautiful moss wall in the client waiting area which provided a feel of serenity and relaxation for guests. Indoor potted plants classics like the banana leaf and monstera deliciosa were also used in the corners of various rooms.

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