Architects Studio Octopi have completed the fit-out of 46,000 sq ft offices in the recently refurbished C-Space building, on the corner of City Road and Epworth Street in Shoreditch, east London.
Following an invited design competition in May 2015, Studio Octopi were appointed to deliver the project for occupancy in December 2015. Five floors of C-Space now comprise all the MullenLowe Group agencies including advertising agency MullenLowe London, activation agency MullenLowe
Open, digital agency MullenLowe Profero and the Group’s global headquarters.
After a consultation with the staff, Studio Octopi presented an overarching concept that integrated the three agencies as the ‘City of MullenLowe’ with the unifying motto ‘non mihi, non libi, sec nobis’ (not for you, not for me, but for us). The consultation identified a desire for each agency to retain a level of
individuality within the Group. This has been achieved by subtely varying the core palette of materials within each agency. Despite this there is a strong homogeneity within the building, referencing both the shell and core works, and the building’s former use as a carpet factory. The choice of materials and layout of the spaces were particularly influenced by the building’s urban context, referencing Shoreditch’s alleyways, warehouse facades and temporality.
The Ground Floor is the Group’s shared space and adopts the role of ‘Town Square’. 500 sq m of open plan, reception, library, cafe and bleacher seating spans the entire length of the building. At the eastern end, four client-facing meeting rooms and the boardroom are arranged around a quieter ‘alleyway’.
Each room is separated by an ‘in-between space’ providing break-out areas lit by festoon lighting and lined in Baux acoustic panelling.
The Group’s cafe, bleacher seating and reception desk are all constructed from Spruce plywood with a white oil coating which has echoes of utilitarian construction site hoardings or temporary structures. MullenLowe Group plan to host events, talks and agency meetings in the ‘Town Square’, much as
citizens might gather in a city’s public spaces. The plywood continues throughout the work floors where it is combined with four variations of Portuguese cork pin board and exposed galvanised drywall partitions.
On the First Floor, Studio Octopi and MullenLowe London have reworked the typical agency layout and placed creative teams open to the work floor; rather than in conventional cellular offices. Each team is separated by 3/4 height partitions that provide a sense of privacy and encourage ownership. Crucially
the creatives are open to their colleagues, account handlers and planners. This is a bold change and one that is already resulting in increased collaborative working across the agency.
The Second Floor is shared between MullenLowe Open and MullenLowe Profero. The two agencies unite around a breakout area denoted by a lawn in Bolon flooring. On the Lower Ground the space is dominated by the five edit suites. Each suite is lined out in Baux acoustic panels in different colours. The suites are visible from Epworth Street and along with the Ground Floor activities provide a sense of theatre for Shoreditch flaneurs.
Chris Romer-Lee, Director of Studio Octopi said:
“MullenLowe Group’s headquarters has been a really important job for the practice. Providing us with the opportunity to explore ideas around the workplace that have been gestating during the smaller commercial projects the practice has undertaken. We’re delighted how in only 6.5 months we’ve
managed to provide our clients with a workplace that challenges their working methods and oozes a new sense of community for the Group. Our work isn’t over though, and we look forward to continuing our collaborative approach by working with the Group post-occupancy.”