When I started freelancing ten years ago, the idea of a coworking office block like De Beauvoir Block was a world away. Over the past decade, the relatively new concept of coworking, hot desking and office design has forced a revolution in the way we interact with our workspaces. As more options become available to roam and work where we choose, we want these spaces to have the ability to inspire us and more importantly, encourage productivity. Last week, I had the pleasure of visiting the beautiful new communal spaces within this industrial warehouse building, designed by Tatjana von Stein and Gayle Noonan of Sella Concept. Familiar with their previous work at the former Clerkenwell London concept store, I was excited to see what dynamic this duo would bring to such a blank canvas.
De Beauvoir Block really does feel like a home from home, in fact, I think I’d be hard pushed to get anything done here, distracted by the call of the cosy mid-century style seating nooks and lush, large-scale plants. It turns the traditional constructs of an office space entirely on its head. In contrast to the stark and spacious warehouse structure, the interiors feel more in line with a Palm Springs hotel. The jumping off point for the entire project came from newly plastered walls, so not surprisingly, the rough brick has been softened with a warm and calming pink, a colour carried throughout the communal spaces. Black metal framed furniture stands out against the concrete flooring and architectural wooden works of art by contemporary artist Emily Forgot make a bold salute to the building’s heritage.
At the heart of the building is the bar area, a centralised space from which to host group meetings, catch up on laptop based work at the bistro-style tables or sink into the deep velvet lounge area for after-hours drinks. Much of the furniture has been custom designed by Sella, including the long plank tables, with additional statement pieces from the likes of Swedish Ninja and George Nelson’s classic Bubble Lights.
Officially opened in October, the block is now home to over 275 creatives with space still available on a casual or more permanent basis. What I wouldn’t give to have such a welcoming workspace to come to for the day. Bet you’re thinking about it now, aren’t you?
Photography © Tiffany Grant-Riley