Fancy a break in the oxygen room? Or maybe a meeting in the rooftop garden? In Douglas House, an office building renovated by Note Design Studio and The Office Group, efficiency comes from the experiential.
WALKING THROUGH London's Fitzrovia and among its compellingly elegant buildings built in the 1930s, one might very well pass the understated red brick façade of Douglas House without looking up.
However, a knock-out first impression awaits as you walk through the glass doors – while designing the Douglas House, the goal of Swedish Note Design Studio and British The Office Group was to create a space so unpredictably surprising that entering it would feel like a gentle punch in the face: soft, but arresting.
The starting points for the design process were the vision of an office of the future and challenging existing ways of working. Quite a bit of demolition work was needed – both literally and figuratively – as TOG and Note Design Studio only wanted to keep the very best parts of the old premises and otherwise renew the entire office from floor to ceiling, and the concept of an office environment with it.
A versatile and inspirational co-working space was created in place of the stripped-down open office context and identical rooms.
Douglas House offers a new approach to the workplace. In place of the stripped-down, sterile open office context and identical rooms standing in rows, a versatile and inspirational co-working space was created, offering possibilities for retreating to your own peace as well as refueling on social interaction.
Of course, there are also traditional – albeit improved – office spaces such as meeting rooms in the building, but in addition to that, during the working day, you can enjoy a moment in the oxygen room, with abundant natural light, fresh air, and green plants for a reinvigorating break, or in a recharging room stripped of sensory stimuli, where you can fully immerse yourself in your own thoughts and the soothing darkness.
The refreshingly bright and spacious gym with light flooding in through the skylights, a cup of delicious coffee prepared by the barista in the office's own cafe, and the roof garden that opens up over the wonderful cityscape of London all offer completely new opportunities for taking care of your own well-being – while at work.
Employee well-being and empowerment are key structures of Douglas House's architecture. The remote work dictated by the pandemic has given a collective lesson about the strong importance of the working environment for well-being, creativity, and efficiency.
Indeed, every inch of Douglas House is designed not only to look beautiful but to evoke emotions, to stimulate and soothe the senses to support a healthy and happy workflow.
The remote work dictated by the pandemic has given a collective lesson about the strong importance of the working environment for well-being, creativity, and efficiency.
The choices of color guide the division of the space into miniature universums inside the building. The cheery yellow and red shades of the spaces intended for social use and recharging transform into powdery, soft blue hues in the rooms that require concentration.
Harmonious natural materials bring warmth and serenity to the space throughout, and strong primary colors like red and bright blue cheer up the otherwise quite muted palette.
A carefully curated color palette, tactile materials that invite touch, surprising design language, and artworks that blend into the space offer powerful sensory experiences, from which employees can choose the one that best suits their mood by switching over to another room during the day.
The ultimate goal of Note and TOG was to create a continuum of spaces where everyone could spend and truly enjoy their working day, being their best possible selves.
Get inspired by Douglas House
Text: Mira Ahola Images: Simon Bevan