Twin sisters, one covering the discipline of architecture the other interior design, as Studio Mills have transformed a Victorian terrace into a contemporary studio for branding consultancy Together Design
Words by Ellen Peirson
From a modest studio in Camberwell, South London, twin sisters are combining their skills, one an architect, one an interior designer, to produce bespoke spaces that succeed both technically and visually. As a multidisciplinary practice, Studio Mills is able to take a holistic approach to every project. Spaces can be completely reconfigured to suit a desired interior. This produces an architecture that flows seamlessly into the interiors, and vice versa.
The recently completed Together Design studio, in Walthamstow, north-east London, is no exception. Transforming a Victorian terrace into a contemporary workspace for 25 people, the spatial programme is exactly what Together Design requires – with spaces specific to its business, such as a craft area. Light floods the spaces exactly where it is wanted. In every corner it is evident that this is a collaborative piece of work, from the transformed entrance where an awkward lobby partition once sat, to the exquisite oak joinery wrapping throughout the three floors.
A pop of colour comes from a pink canvas stretched across the craft area
The ground and first floor is the studio and workspace. The space has been kept minimal. The concrete floors, white walls, washed plywood and oak joinery are stylish – but they don’t shout about it. The space is to be filled with the life and mess of a design studio. Creativity by its nature requires disorder and clutter. Together Design, with its bold graphic style, will in months come to inhabit the floors and walls with colour, life and animation. The spaces can adapt with and for the studio.
On the top floor visitors get to sit on velvet Modern Line chairs by Gubi
A mezzanine level has been created between the ground and first floor, housing a staff craft area and kitchen. Breaking from the minimal colour palette, a bold injection of colour in the form of a pale pink canvas stretches across the craft area. A terrazzo splash back extends around the kitchen. This pause in the colour scheme demarcates the mezzanine as a gathering area, already a focal point as it announces itself, protruding into the building as you enter, thanks to the removal of the lobby partition wall.
The mezzanine floor has been designated as a gathering area
Upstairs is different, where Studio Mills has created a much richer offering. To get there, visitors must go up the staircase through the design studio, where the creativity and production going on is on display. Visitors get to see the studio hard at work – shattering any illusions that design is effortless or easy.
The newly oak-clad staircase has white balustrades accented with oak details
The staircase is newly clad in oak flooring, punctured by white timber balustrades and accented with solid oak details at notable joins. On the top floor visitors are greeted by luxurious textures, differentiating it from the workspaces. A bespoke solid oak table stretches across the 10-person meeting room surrounded by velvet Gubi beetle chairs.
The studio space contains a full-height bookcase, where the contents are ordered by colour
Next to this, a small lounge and kitchenette is furnished by velvet Modern Line Chairs, also by Gubi, and large concrete planters. Coarse woven rugs and carpet offset the lush nature of the velvet furniture, making for an intriguing, but not overpowering space.
Externally, the existing shop front has been renewed to complement the adjacent Victorian terraces. Repainted in white, a discreet white sign quietly says ‘Together’, as further concrete planters suggest their presence on the high street. To the rear, the tired, poor-quality extension has been updated with new, fullheight glazing, providing views to the redesigned garden space and flooding the ground floor with light.
The neutral palette allows colourful samples of work to go on the wall and inject the space with the brand without any effort
In this studio, the accessories provide the character. A neutral colour palette allows for key pieces to create the interest. Samples of Together Design’s work are scattered across the office walls, effortlessly injecting its brand into the workspace. With this comes the scope for the space to change and adapt as the practice does. Personality shines through the neutral timber and white palette with objects such as a full-height bookcase, filled with a collection of books that defines the studio as a practice and organised by colour.
The white-painted entrance to the building is simple, cool yet inviting
Unique to multidisciplinary practices, Studio Mills was able to produce a space that both looks and feels like Together Design belongs there. The architectural side of the practice, with an innate technical ability makes it possible to reconfigure facades, walls and floors. While the interior design perspective, and the thorough understanding of the production and use of space, can use this know-how to the full. What results is a rigorous design that works with and for Together Design, and is technically and visually faultless.