International design studio, Conran and Partners, have completed the redesign of the ground floor of one of London’s most prominent office buildings, 200 Gray’s Inn Road. Originally designed by Foster + Partners and opened in 1991, the building is currently occupied by a number of high-profile media organisations including ITN Productions, ITV and Warner Bros.
Great Portland Estates plc (GPE), owner of 200 Gray’s Inn Road, sought to adapt the space to respond to the changing work culture of modern occupiers; one which blurs the edges between work and leisure time. The design exudes the feel of a private members’ club in the office reception area, blended with café culture and a hotel experience all within a single space. As a result, the ground floor area, previously a conventionally-configured office reception, has not only been re-adapted but has transformed the arrival experience and provided a much-needed amenity, changing the way the occupiers can use the building.
The space incorporates a café, Outtakes, for staff, visitors and the general public, as well as break-out spaces for meetings. Conran and Partners’ reconfiguration maintains a clear visual link between the café and the atrium beyond. The design delivers a sociable place which encourages people to dwell in the reception area. It also serves to provide a stronger connection between the external, urban environment and the building’s interior at street level, breaking down the barrier between the public and corporate environments.
The building’s architecture uses materials which are simple but robust, predominantly concrete, granite, aluminium and glass. Conran and Partners’ approach has employed equally authentic materials – including terrazzo, metal, timber and leather – to create new interventions.
The shell and core work was undertaken by Ian McArdle Architects. Lighting ladders – developed in conjunction with Zumtobel – have been inserted into the exposed concrete slab. These direct light onto the concrete and help to accentuate the aesthetic of the original material.
Simon Kincaid, Partner, Conran and Partners, says: “The juxtaposition between hard, cooler materials and softer, warmer materials helps to create a sense of humanity and intimacy within the reception area. At the same time, the newly-installed elements help to highlight the beauty of the existing structure and the rhythm of its architecture. The result is a space with a real warmth and buzz about it. 200 Gray’s Inn Road encapsulates Conran and Partners’ ethos around curating ways of living and applies this to the arrival experience at 200 Gray’s Inn Road. It highlights how it is possible to draw on experience from numerous sectors, blurring the boundaries between work and leisure to create strong, characterful places.”
1. Bespoke Terrazzo
2. Bespoke Oak Joinery
3. Bespoke lighting developed with Zumtobel
4. Insitu Concrete