Housed within a characterful former pump house building in the centre of St Albans, bubbleHUB is a brand new co-working space for creatives, freelancers, consultants, and entrepreneurs.
The striking new destination has been created by workspace design specialist align. bubbleHUB co-founders Benn Latham and Harry Dougall briefed align to help create a ‘unique and aspirational’ space, which was to be unlike anything else currently available in the St Albans area.
“The scheme we created for this wonderful and historic industrial building is colourful and nature-inspired and the resulting environment, which also responds strongly to the building envelope, is like a mix between a private members’ club and a workspace in feel. The overall atmosphere is relaxed, with a definite home-from-home feel,” Gurvinder Khurana, align Director and Co-founder commented.
Arrival at bubbleHUB St Albans is via a small set of stairs from street level up to the building’s ground floor main entrance, where guests and users are met by a panelled and painted wall, featuring the new bubbleHUB branding created by SEA Design, as well as a bank of personal lockers to the right and an immediate full view to the left across the ground floor ‘hub’ community space.
This floor is predominantly to be used for meetings, touchdown, relaxation and social use and features a deliberately-eclectic mix of furniture styles and a non-uniform, non-allocated layout, as well as integrated planting for improved air quality and natural presence. Furniture here ranges from a soft and comfy chocolate-brown Chesterfield to 2-4 person table and chair arrangements, plus one larger 8-person workbench and bespoke banquette seating to the rear left, in a deep peacock blue, more akin to a restaurant in style and helping create the overall relaxed feel.
A major feature of the ground floor space is the bar area, located front-left, which helps communicate an instant sense of welcome. The bar features a metal-clad island unit with indented bubbleHUB branding, bespoke-manufactured for the project by Quirky Interiors. A decorative lighting feature above, made up of a cluster of nine pendant bulbs, at double-drop height, supplied by Calibo, reaches all the way up to the first floor ceiling above the staircase void and is punched through both storeys.
The ground floor design treatment celebrates the space’s existing historic structure. The ceiling beams have been painted out in white, for example, with eye-catching cross-beams in black. The rear of the ceiling features three new inset, walk-on glazed panels, increasing natural light ingress from the upper floor.
Cool, concrete-effect porcelain tiling is used for the majority of the flooring, with pale herringbone timber at the entrance and for the right-side walkway. In a further reference to the building’s historic pump house origins, a glass square in front of the Chesterfield sofa reveals the Victorian cobbled foundations below, with the area made a further focus by the addition of an eye-catching yellow metal and glass Trace table from Naughtone.
Benn Latham, bubbleHUB Co-Founder, said:
“Our brief was rather open but the key was to create a beautiful, unique, eclectic space that was both sensitive to the building and allowed for movement and natural light, facilitating working in a relaxed collaborative environment. We had our own ideas but were challenged consistently by align, creating a dynamic creative (and fun) tension! align were both very good at proposing and contextualising ideas as well as listening and incorporating certain non-negotiable ideas of ours!
“We love the finished building. It is beautiful – every area has distinctive, interesting features arising from both the building fabric and the design. We are overjoyed that for many of our earlier members who took a ‘leap of faith’, it has surpassed expectations! They are able to focus and work, relax, collaborate and reflect in a great space with state-of-the-art technology.”
The new, bespoke staircase leading up to the first floor leads off from the bar area and is made in timber as far as the landing. Then, at the stair turn, it transitions into a metal-framed stair. The first storey space, set beneath an original sloped roof, has been designed as a quieter space with fixed and allocated desking and contains 17 workstations in a traditional desking format, plus additional individual workstations to the right.
To view more projects from align, please visit www.aligngb.com.