Project: John Brown Media London
Year: 2016

Following Inhouse Brand Architect’s successful redesign of John Brown Media’s Cape Town offices, the company’s UK head office then commissioned Inhouse to envisage its newly acquired Shoreditch offices. Inhouse was invited to tender against several UK design firms and was awarded the London project.

The Inhouse team included Director of the London project, Lawrence Holmes, Creative Director, Aidan Hart, and Associate Director, Jenine Bruce. They were tasked with designing a stimulating environment that would provide a visual representation of the John Brown Media story. The interior design drives conversation in the workplace through the incorporation of break-away areas into an innovative spatial plan. The result does away with the idea of working in silos; instead it encourages integration among employees through an open-plan interface.

Foregoing the company’s traditional corporate colours, teal and yellow, John Brown Media UK opted for a black and white scheme, which became one of the fundamental elements of the interior design. The monochromatic branding and styling unites all four floors of the office. The flooring continues the monochromatic scheme with black vinyl in the break-away areas and carpeting in the open-plan spaces. Pops of colour appear throughout the office in the form of ottomans, poufs and scatter cushions – all in shades of turquoise and blue that serve as a visual nod to the original John Brown Media branding.

Stepping through the doors at reception, visitors are greeted by a striking white reception desk with a wave-like form that matches a nearby staircase. The organically shaped desk was custom-made in order to establish the entrance as a key area. The logo proudly draws the eye to the exposed brick wall that supports it. At the entrance, a memorabilia wall displays John Brown Media’s achievements, including its many magazine covers. The wall will be regularly updated and is directly visible to guests in the waiting area.

Beyond reception, the ground floor functions primarily as a social hub, featuring break-away areas, a staff kitchen and raised lounge. The boardroom and an additional lounge area are housed in a series of slatted timber frames. This visual language is continued in several cosy booths that are located on all four floors, and which are popular for informal meetings.

An internal staircase connects the ground and first floors (instead of relying on external fire escapes or lifts); the second and third floors are also united in this way. The second floor houses a working kitchen set – a Miele-sponsored space created for Waitrose, one of the company’s premier clients. Although the clean lines of the kitchen match the urban look of the office, it also incorporates homely touches like cookbooks lining the walls, ensuring that it doesn’t present as a sterile space.

Not that the rest of the office appears sterile – far from it! Inhouse’s design solution has culminated in a contemporary working environment that successfully integrates the professional and social spheres of office life – a balance that promotes greater productivity in the workplace.
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