The Department Store Studios – London

  • Client Squire & Partners,
  • size 21,237 sqft
  • Year 2021
  • Location United Kingdom, London, England,
  • Industry Coworking,
  • Squire & Partners has launched The Department Store Studios, a new local workspace next door to their offices in Brixton of London, England.

    The development creates a platform for growing businesses with flexible workspaces – from individual desks to private studios – and a host of serviced social and meeting areas. The Studios is also home to a neighbourhood bar, restaurant and screening room.

    Created as a natural addition to The Department Store, The Studios is a highly sustainable development that will support local businesses by offering a programme of events curated to share skills, inspire creativity and expand local networks.

    Hyperlocal Working
    Having moved their 200-strong office to The Department Store in 2017, Squire & Partners know first-hand the benefits of working at the heart of a vibrant neighbourhood. Sustainable commuting, an improved work/life balance, supporting independent high streets and engaging with the local community all mean that the hyperlocal model benefits people, cities and the planet.

    Primarily conceived for local businesses and entrepreneurs, The Studios model of private office spaces as well as individual desks also supports a hub & spoke model of regional workspaces acting as satellite hubs to a central HQ.

    Externally, designs draw on the robust Edwardian structure of its older sibling The Department Store, built in 1906 as an extension to the Brixton Bon Marche. Following the corner boundary at the junction of Bellefields Road and Stockwell Avenue, the contemporary brick building meets The Department Store across a central cobbled courtyard centred around a mature oak tree.

    Facades are crafted with a textured snapped brick, offset by smooth concrete lintels framing openings across the building. A base of dark engineering brick marks the street level, softened with planting and outdoor seating. Large, faceted bay windows create a rhythm across the elevations, with dark metal frames referencing the industrial Crittall windows in The Department Store.

    The building form is set back to the north and east elevations to respond to the surrounding residential streets, creating generous landscaped roof terraces for tenants. Workspace floors can be accessed via a fully glazed reception on Bellefields Road and the restaurant entrance on Stockwell Avenue.

    Workspace Floors
    Each workspace floor has a landing area with wayfinding, and a generous floor to ceiling height which takes its cue from the proportions of The Department Store next door.

    Large openable bay windows draw natural light into three sides of each floor, creating bright open floorplates. Workspaces comprise a mixture of individual desks and private studios for 6 to 72 people.

    Members benefit from shared facilities including phone booths and bookable rooms for private meetings, sociable kitchens, dining tables and lounge areas.

    Workspaces are designed in a simple loft style based around a raw natural palette and exposed services suspended from the timber ceiling. Added domestic comforts include large rugs, plants, artworks and soft furnishings in colours inspired by the seasons.

    Floors are organised around families of desks each with a furnished breakout space, separated by metal framed glazing or walls with an unpainted plaster finish.

    Desks comprise a timber worktop supported on a dark steel frame, with an under counter lockable pedestal. Curated as a mixture of classic and contemporary pieces, furniture suppliers include Carl Hansen, Ercol, &Tradition, Rawside and HAY.

    Kitchens and tea points feature in-built appliances for food and drink preparation, and informal dining and lounge areas. Natural and dark stained timber units, tables and chairs are given added character with pops of colour on soft furnishings, artwork and planting.

    Meeting room interiors are tailored to create spaces for high and low tempo tasks, with bespoke wall hangings aiding acoustic performance. Colour palettes for meeting rooms correspond to the four seasons with a curated selection of rugs, artworks and chair finishes adding individual character.

    Design: Squire & Partners
    Photography: Jack Hobhouse, Jim Stephenson