Premier Construction

Block Office

Block Office
Written by Roma Publications

Block Office

OEB Architects and RJM were tasked with the reconfiguration and refurbishment of a two-storey office space for a tech company, to provide a ‘client experience centre,’ improve the quality of the office space for the workforce and introduce spaces that accommodate different degrees of privacy and types of working, forming an intelligent open plan workspace.

Speaking to PREMIER CONSTRUCTION MAGAZINE about the project, OEB Architects said: “Our design responded closely to the brief. This outlined the requirements for the client experience centre as a multifunctional space to showcase the collaborative technology delivered by the client company, as well as a variety of formal collaborative workspaces and updating the atmosphere of the space to suit the identity of the company.”

The design phase of the project commenced with feasibility work in January 2018, with developed designs following and a two stage tender starting based on outline information in March 2018. Detailed design work took place from May 2018 once Interior Motives had been appointed. Construction then took place in a concentrated period, phased between the two floors, over six weeks in September to October 2018.

As part of the project, uses for the ground and lower ground floor were differentiated and clarified and the layout was adjusted to sit more sympathetically in relation to the existing structure.

OEB said: “Desk space was relocated upstairs to make way for a new client experience centre downstairs that hosts large presentations and events, as well as booths for one to one calls and small informal meetings.

“The dark and overbearing finishes and fittings were replaced with warmer and lighter materials to improve the working environment for the team and visitors. New built elements were conceived as a series of screens and blocks that define the spaces in and around them in different ways. These were finished in birch ply with moments of applied colour, constructed to express both their volumetric and planar character. We used a light touch approach to make changes where their effect would be most felt, retaining elements that would be too costly or complicated to replace.”

In the reception, a low quality reception desk was removed to open up the space for more generous seating. The opaque glazed balustrade that separated off the desk space from the reception was also removed and was replaced with a lower bespoke storage element in birch ply, which allows a more visual connection to the desk spaces as one enters. The height of this also provides screening for staff from those seated in reception and holds a monitor for information while guests wait after being greeted.

The black stained floorboards in reception and on the stair treads were sanded back to reveal the timber colour and grain, while the striped carpet in the work area was replaced with a plainer grey woven carpet that acts as a calmer less distracting background.

The previously dark purple-grey walls and structure have been painted a pale grey. Dropped ceilings that incorporated services were retained but were painted in pure white matching the high level datum on the walls to unite the uneven soffits in a single upper zone.

The wall to the CEO’s office, previously an unframed glazed partition system, was replaced with a ply and timber element that provided enhanced acoustic and visual privacy for meetings, while still being connected back to the space through the glazed doors.

In the darker and more enclosed lower ground floor, with the desks removed, the space was freed up for other users. These include the client experiences centre – a multifunctional space with movable tables and large monitor; an expanded and generous kitchen for the team, which allows for events and informal meetings around an island that projects into the space; and the introduction of a bank of booths lined internally with felt providing small meeting spaces and places for one to one video calls to be made in relative privacy.

A new lighting scheme throughout by SEAM Design provides a clear and rational layout that removed significant visual clutter from the soffits, as well as introducing feature fittings to highlight and help define particular areas like the presentation space, reception and kitchen. Substantial amounts of the existing conduit were made use of to streamline installation time as far as possible.

The block of booths was positioned to wrap around the columns with access to the interior from the rear away from the main presentation space, and pin-board and a bar-style desk facing onto it. The columns previously felt ‘in the way’ of office activities, so the booths help to make the main presentation space feel purposely positioned with the existing building. The sense of separation for the booths is also enhanced so that they can be used at the same time as a presentation or event taking place in the main space.

OEB added: “This is our first completed commercial project as a new young practice so it was important for us in developing and demonstrating our way of thinking and designing in this context, combining thoughtful ideas and a concern for the way how things are put together can express these.”

Block Office

Block Office

Interior Motives

Interior Motives is one of the leading fit-out and refurbishment contractors operating throughout London and the south of England.

In operation since 1981, Interior Motives has developed extensive experience in a wide range of sectors, with particular expertise in both CAT A and CAT B fit-out and refurbishments of commercial and occupied buildings. The company also has a strong track record of delivering successful projects in healthcare, education, industrial units and retail sectors.

Interior Motives is 100% independent and management owned. This independence encourages a culture that supports and actively encourages change, development and innovation. Thanks a highly-skilled and trained team, Interior Motives is able to make new ideas a reality.

Recently, the company was the main contractor for the reconfiguration and refurbishment of a two-storey office space for Block Office. Working closely with OBE Architects the scheme was delivered within time and on budget and created an exciting new working environment.

With an established and proven track record Interior Motives has an extensive portfolio and in excess of 90% of business comes from repeat Clients.

Another recent standout project is the refurbishment of China Works building for Workspace PLC. Up against stiff competition, this signature project has been selected as the gold medal winner for fit-out projects over £1m at the recent FIS awards.

Interior Motives takes pride in the quality and service it is able to deliver to clients. To find out more, please visit

Block Office

Block Office

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