London & South East, Premier Hospitality

Breathing new life into historic warehouse

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Brunner UK Clerkenwell London, Rosebery Avenue, near Exmouth Market in Clerkenwell

International high-end furniture company Brunner has opened its new London headquarters to the public.

Designed by McDowell+Benedetti, the showroom and offices occupy a large Victorian warehouse space on Rosebery Avenue, near Exmouth Market in Clerkenwell.

The new home for Brunner UK enables the company to expand its London base from its former cramped premises near Old Street, into a light and spacious gallery showroom in the heart of London’s design quarter. Set in a long and narrow industrial warehouse building on Rosebery Avenue (built c.1890), the new showroom is part of Brunner’s long-term plan to expand its UK operations.

McDowell+Benedetti’s response to Brunner’s brief was to strip back the building’s interior to reveal original key features of its industrial heritage, including steel beams and sandblasted brickwork. A calm palette of materials and colours was then introduced.

In addition, simple but dramatic interventions make the space truly unique to Brunner. Voids were opened up and a powerful linear floating staircase added to connect the three floors. The staircase is in black waxed steel, whilst exposed welds serve as a reminder of the industrial nature of the building.

Brunner UK Clerkenwell London, Rosebery Avenue, near Exmouth Market in Clerkenwell

The staircase forms a strong dark ribbon threading through the existing structure, unifying the space. Also complementing the building’s vast scale, a new oversized pivot door makes a striking entrance to the showroom. The 2.7m wide door has been finely engineered to require only the lightest touch to open.

New full-size steel framed shop front windows show off Brunner’s furniture to full effect, while hanging chairs are displayed in the double height voids. The new double-glazed, thermally broken windows and door contribute to the overall environmental upgrade of the space.

McDowell+Benedetti has been involved in the development of this historic warehouse site for over 16 years. The architecture firm was based in the space for 12 years, during which time it worked on various phases of the building’s development for its owners and other tenants. Prior to being appointed to design the Brunner showroom on the lower floors, McDowell+Benedetti secured planning consent in 2009 for the building’s owners to add a roof extension, creating four residential duplex apartments, which are currently under construction.

David Shirley, Brunner UK Ltd, said:

“Today we occupy a spectacular new showroom of which we are very proud. In my view it is one of the very best of its type, not just in the UK but in Europe thanks to McDowell+Benedetti, their professional team and a very dedicated contractor.”

Brunner UK Clerkenwell London, Rosebery Avenue, near Exmouth Market in Clerkenwell

McDowell+Benedetti was formed by Jonathan McDowell and Renato Benedetti in 1996. The practice has established a growing reputation for design excellence across an unusually diverse range of projects of different types and scales.

The practice has won a number of prestigious awards and international competitions, and its work has been published widely in the UK and abroad.

Brunner ranks among the leading manufacturers of contract furniture in Europe. The company’s tables and chairs can be found nearly everywhere – from the airport to the office.

With award-winning solutions, a practically inexhaustible variety of models and designs, materials, colours, fabrics and at least the same amount of creativity and experience, Brunner ensure that clients’ individual wishes turn into a fascinating part of reality.

Brunner UK Clerkenwell London, Rosebery Avenue, near Exmouth Market in Clerkenwell

Image Interiors

Image Interiors specialise in complete multi-faceted commercial interiors from design through to construction. As an entity, Image Interiors has been working in the industry for fifteen years with the management team having over forty years combined experience.

The company has worked extensively throughout the UK, Eire and Northern Europe for many long-term clients. Projects include complex and technically challenging refurbishments for pharmaceutical and education establishments in both the private and public sectors.

For the Brunner UK project, Image Interiors provided all main contractor construction elements and worked as a member of the design and project management team.

Brunner UK Clerkenwell London, Rosebery Avenue, near Exmouth Market in Clerkenwell

Mark Hume of Image Interiors, said:

“Brunner UK was an enjoyable challenge because of the juxtaposition of existing architectural interest alongside modern construction elements.”

Mark added:

“Image pride themselves on professionalism and a commitment to a positive outcome for all projects through strong management and effective communication.”

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