Stockholm based Note Design Studio designed Douglas House, a six-floor office building on Great Titchfield Street in London, for office developer TOG (The Office Group).
The studio transformed a 14,234 sqm building from the 1930s into an office space that accommodates 700 desks for over 1,000 employees.
With this project, Note Design Studio aimed to create a workplace where people could feel stimulated by their environment and thus be truly productive. The design concept for the project raised from the awareness that there is a closed connection between our environments, our emotions and our productivity. “In Douglas House, we aimed to create somewhere that surprises you from the moment of entry, as well as engaging the brain with touches of the unpredictable, administering what we would like to call a ‘gentle punch’ to all who step in off the street.” the studio explains.
“Certainly the building fulfils the practical needs of a modern workplace, but our focus has been on the emotional qualities of the space to stimulate the users’ minds with a lot of different experiences when they move through the building, taking a big step away from the conformity of most office spaces.” explains Jesper Mellgren — Architect
Like a hand-drawn line, a curvilinear wall of glass blocks runs the entire length of the ground floor. The glass wall brings a sense of light, transparency and openness throughout the space, which is split into three ‘rooms’ by the building’s two stair cores. As well as creating a passage between the rooms at the rear, the wall creates a visual connection between them with material intensity and unexpectedly fluid wavy forms. On the other side of the wall there are a series of courtyard-style meeting rooms, each with a unique layout created by the irregularity of the wall’s shape.
“This was a way for us to be disruptive and to challenge the standards of an average refurbishment–to create a space within a space, a world of its own within the old building” Johannes Carlström — Interior Architect / Founder
The wall also marks a shift in the interior colour palette. The communal and relax areas are defined by earthy warm hues like deep ochres and browns that create a welcoming feeling. Cooler and softer blues are used in the meeting rooms and working areas to help concentration and focus. The interior palette also includes popping reds, like for example in the kitchen stools.
“It has a lot more expression than you normally see in a traditional office. Our ambition has been to make something that communicates with you intuitively, so that when you enter the space, you can feel the interior almost physically” Charlotte Ackemar — Product Designer
Note Design Studio and TOG agreed to keep as many original materials as possible. The original wooden floors, for example, were lifted, renovated and put back into place. However, many materials had to be replaced because in poor condition. The studio chose the materials based on their durability and reusability, such as steel, glass, ceramic tiles and Tarkett’s 100% recyclable plastic wall and floor coverings.
Note Design Studio also added a number of design touches, starting from the reception desk in Ettore Sottsass veneer for Alpi, the Marenco armchairs by Arflex or the Muller van Severen lamps.
Alongside a gym, a roof terrace and a cafe, the Douglas House also includes a “recharge room” for breakout moments, an “oxygen room” filled with plants and a room for nursing mothers.
To enhance the sustainability of the Douglas House, solar panels and a green biodiverse roof were installed.