As workers slowly make their return to the office, many companies are finding new ways to infuse their spaces with creativity — and often integrating new green design strategies along the way. Bakken Baeck, a Norwegian digital design studio with offices across Central Europe, was looking for a new headquarters that would prioritize sustainable design. London’s Archmongers, a firm specializing in mid-century refurbishment and commercial spaces, stepped in to make their dreams a reality — all with the aim of minimizing the business’ carbon footprint in both the short-term and the long-term.
Starting with the bones of an industrial building in the London borough of Hackney, the firm prioritized sustainable and durable materials to build out a welcoming office space. Because of the space’s open-concept floorplan, privacy was a key consideration when planning out materials — the firm opted for rubber-clad steps in a speckled charcoal, leading up to the mezzanine to dampen the sound of footsteps and chatter. On the mezzanine, private meeting rooms are adorned in Douglas fir, stained in a natural wood solution. To add to the acoustic performance, textile-clad panels were superimposed onto the walls.
The first floor’s striking ceiling height contrasts the pale pastel green coating the walls, for a calming effect. Intriguingly angled ceiling mirrors may look out of place, but their placement is deliberate: they create a visual connection to the ground floor and allow natural light to come in, contrasting the deep purple walls. Scalloped cardboard wallpaper connects the ground floor to the first floor through a double-height stair void. There, a blackened steel bannister leads to the first-floor kitchen where dark Fenix doors contrast oversized white handles, white marble terrazzo and brass.
Floor-to-ceiling curtains offer a unique alternative to moveable walls, creating dynamic and textured informal meeting spaces for collaboration and spontaneous conversation.
At lunch, the Bakken Baeck team gathers around the bespoke table on the ground floor, and they sometimes use the snug as a place to connect with other branches over a game of Mario Kart. According to Johan Hybschmann, Managing Partner of Archmongers, “our design evokes a homely environment rather than a conventional workspace.” The designers were mindful of the need to coax employees back into the workspace by offering them inviting and imaginative spaces.
The furniture is deliberately selected to complement the overall design — the space is sprinkled with furniture by mid-century heavyweights such as Alvar Aalto, Panton, balanced with more modern offerings by Barber Osgerby and the Bouroullec brothers.
Archmongers puts material science first in this London HQ refurbishment for design studio Bakken Baeck.