Barr Gazetas, Morgan Lovell/Anomaly Office, London

In another successful collaboration the two practices serve up workspace for the ad agency that lives up to its name.


Project Info

Client: Anomaly
Architect: Barr Gazetas
Design and fit-out: Morgan Lovell
Size: 1,115 sq m
Duration: Five months


Words by Emily Martin

Having recently co-delivered a successful fit out for UK Green Building Council, architecture practice Barr Gazetas and design and fit-out company Morgan Lovell joined forces again to deliver new London offices for ad agency Anomaly. Completed in August, the scheme draws inspiration from the company’s ethos to challenge the norm, as Anomaly’s name suggests. Morgan Lovell worked closely with the Anomaly leadership team to imagine and deliver a workspace that celebrates the informal, the irregular and the seemingly unreasonable, including dedicating 75 per cent of the office space to informal working.

In keeping with each of the other six international Anomaly offices, its London space is completely open plan, purposefully designed to support Anomaly’s ethos of open, entrepreneurial and collaborative working.

‘The interiors are a mash-up of London’s history, colour, energy, creativity, irreverence,’ says architect Hannah Chalmers-Stevens of Barr Gazetas. ‘Visitors will think “London” and “different” within seconds of arriving.’

Soft seating is put into loose clusterings for communal working and meetingSoft seating is put into loose clusterings for communal working and meeting

Visitors who arrive to the sixth-floor arrivals lounge of the building can order a drink from the bar and take in the spectacular views of historic Charterhouse Square. At the heart of the office is a broad timber staircase leading down to the fifth floor.

The staircase is central to the loose clustering of communal and solitary spaces that provide a choice of work areas. At the base of the stairs on the fifth floor is an auditorium space featuring bleacher seating clad in scaffold planks. Quiet reading booths are cut into the rear of the bleachers.

Soft seating is put into loose clusterings for communal working and meetingSoft seating is put into loose clusterings for communal working and meeting

‘The placing of the stair cut-out means that there is a view downstairs for the visitors directly as the lift doors open [on the sixth floor]’, says Alistair Barr, head of Barr Gazetas. ‘The position of the cut-out bay for the stair was difficult to achieve technically but the payback in terms of connectivity, light penetration and visual drama is well worth it.’

The interiors of the global ad agency’s London office reflect London’s history, the City’s creativity and local context. Lining the stairwell is a unique graphic wall by artist SHOKI; a mural relating to the plague victims’ burial ground in Charterhouse Square that features translucent bones on a black background. The colour palette for the interior scheme references the traditional Fox and Anchor pub located nearby, while further references are made to the building’s previous life as a hat factory.

A meeting room has an open-plan feel thanks to the whole wall as transparent partitioningA meeting room has an open-plan feel thanks to the whole wall as transparent partitioning

The furniture is an eclectic mix of new, repurposed and vintage pieces featuring alongside neon signs, custom-made coffee bars and distressed furniture. Much of the building’s raised floors have been left exposed as metal surfaces to work alongside other finishes, including metal-framed windows, timber-floor finishes, raw-ply linings, scaffold-board cladding and raw lacquered steel.

‘We’re acutely aware that the office environment plays such an important role in creating and promoting a certain culture, which is why this space had to meet Anomaly’s objective of attracting and retaining staff who challenge the norm,’ says Morgan Lovell’s design team leader Amanda Godwin-Jones. ‘Right from the outset, we felt an immense responsibility to develop the Barr Gazetas concept into designs and a physical space that would have a huge impact on life within Anomaly’s walls.’

Bleacher seating is added at the bottom of the stairs on level 5Bleacher seating is added at the bottom of the stairs on level 5

The project was commissioned in March 2017 and completed within five months. The team was able to deliver within the limited timescale because of the track record of successful collaborations between Barr Gazetas and Morgan Lovell.

‘The collaboration has been a great example of how a 12-week design period can be leveraged into a burst of great design decisions through mutual design respect,’ explains Barr, with the staircase being the most challenging aspect of the project. ‘The other four worldwide offices all have challenging ideas in their layouts and materials. Our inspiration was these great schemes and the burning desire to build on their characters in a provocative way.’

Key Suppliers

Flooring
Karndean
Interface

Feature lighting
Flos

Furniture
Panel Plan
Forza
Senator
Vitra
Andy thornton

Glass partitions
WT Interiors





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