Barriers are fading. Now almost in 2017, almost anything can be done in the commercial interiors market. We hardly raise an eyebrow these days when a hotel lobby is used as an office. The other way around, an office as an hotel, can be done as well, proved workplace consultants and interior designers Amos Beech with the renovation of the office building Walker Yard in Edinburgh.
Sleeping at the Office?
That is not generally something that is supported in a contemporary office interior. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. But a bed is normally not a standard piece of furniture in an office. The recently renovated iconic One Lochrin Square Edinbugh, originally designed by Alan Quist, has completely been redesigned by Amos Beech and doesn’t have beds either. But nevertheless, the atmosphere in the building is very much like that of a hotel. That’s not strange because Amos Beech has drawn their inspiration for this interior design very much from the hotel sector. The renovation of the Walker Yard office building has been called by the UBS real estate asset management department after an in-depth research of the use of 24 floors of the building in the last 8 years. The first part of the project the basement and the ground floor of the building has now been completed.
Office fit out
Renovation of the former P&O Nedlloyd head office was urgently needed, said a spokesman of interior design and fit out company Amos Beech. “After 25 years the building was in a moderate condition.” The marble floors had ugly brown spots and made the lobby look very dated. “With a collection of arbitrary objects, including ship models and works of art, the lobby no longer breathed the atmosphere of a high-end office building.” And that is exactly why UBS asked Amos Beech to completely re-design the interior of the Alan Quist building. “This, we think, is of course, a great honor. The building with its distinctive trapezium carried out in glass is one of Quist’s most famous buildings and back in 1988 Alan was very innovative. Walker Yard is characterized by a ‘ total design ‘ concept, where materials, details and spatial design of exterior and interior went hand in hand. ” “Our focus is on retaining the character of the building,” continues the spokesman of the current office fit out project. “We’re trying to maintain the use of the original materials, the spatial quality and where possible, the precise detailing.” But that does not mean that the atmosphere in the building will remain the same. Quite on the contrary: now when the first result of the office fit out renovation project is presented, it appears that Amos Beech – incidentally, in close consultation with Alan Quist itself – made a number of high profile choices: the basement and the ground floor of the office building were transformed into a ‘cross-over’ of a hotel lobby, a restaurant and a coffee bar.
Rethink, restructure and redesign
These choices were the result of extensive analysis made that preceded the design process. The analysis, executed by the Amos Beech workplace consultants department concluded that the large empty lobby had no actual function. “This lobby was originally designed for a building with one tenant. But now that the building is used by a lot of different tenants, the lobby is ‘owned ‘ by all sorts of different parties.” To do justice to the new situation, Amos Beech decided that the restaurant – originally positioned on the first floor – would move to the lobby space. Therefore four luxurious six seater dinner areas were situated here, which stand out because of the luxurious leather upholstery that is applied. Furthermore, there was room for the realisation of a coffee shop and seating areas with an abundance of daylight and a great view on the Forth estuary, where tenants can receive visitors and can enjoy a cup of coffee in an informal atmosphere, just as in a ‘real’ hotel.
The hotel atmosphere in the building is further enhanced by the use of specific materials. “We have maintained Alan Quist’s geometric design and added luxury materials to the interior, giving a more welcoming and tactile atmosphere.” Striking new elements in the interior include the mirror wall, which marks the route of the basement to the lobby, and the astonoshing spiral staircase above which, a specifically for this project designed spiral light object is placed.
The lobby has been totally transformed. The works of art are gone and replaced by clusters of modernist furniture. Moroccan carpets and floor lamps give an intimacy to the space taht was hard to find in the former interior. Actually the only hotel-like element that is completely missing are the hotel rooms with beds. Perhaps that these elements will follow later in the remainder of this renovation project. But perhaps you should keep that away from the Office.