The nights are drawing in and the weather is getting Frostier by the week. Things have stayed busy at Frost through September, have a look at some of the things we’ve been up to over the last month.
Mare Street Studios – We did a Q&A with Workspace about our latest and greatest project Mare Street Studios, take a look here. Taxi House – The LTDA have moved into their new HQ and are delighted with the new space, getting lots of comments from passers by! Parkhall Business Centre – Works continue at our current Workspace project, Parkhall and the site is looking good. Bennetts Hill House – Works are due to start on site on our first ever project in Birmingham, refurbishing and extending an office building for Dunmoore. Dudley Road – We are back on site on one of our favourite roads in Wimbledon. This time we’re adding a new annexe and extension to a lovely family home. Bayswater Houses – We are currently on site building two new homes near Hyde Park. Wireless Factory – We continue to work on these offices in Isleworth, which should be on site before the end of the year. Nuffield Way – We secured planning for an additional floor to an industrial unit in Abingdon.
We’re back! It’s been a strange few months but things have come back with a bang in July and we’re as busy as ever. People want to Build, Build, Build and we’re here to help them.
Signal Works – Exciting news as our latest office development project is complete! Signal Works will serve as the new HQ for the LTDA. Keep an eye out as we bring you more information about this exciting project. Hammersmith House – We are in planning for a new build two-storey home in Hammersmith. Esher House – Works completed on this beautiful family home in Esher. Keep an eye out as we have more photos on the way. Dockmasters House – We obtained planning approval for further modifications to one of our previous projects, Dockmasters House. The new designs include an extension internal modifications. Parkhall Business Centre – We are now on site at Parkhall where we are refurbishing 20,000 sqft of space to provide offices, meeting rooms and breakout spaces. Claygate House – We are also in planning for alterations to this lovely home in Claygate. Birmingham Office – We have recently been commissioned to design an extension to a commercial building in Birmingham
Mare Street Studios is the culmination of a 5 year process with Workspace and we couldn’t be more thrilled with the result. This 83,000 sq ft project has transformed the old run down 20th Century warehouse buildings into a sleek, modern flexible office business centre.
Workspace Development Director, Angus Boag, says “We are delighted with our new flagship business centre at Mare Street Studios where Frost and the team have delivered an exciting design providing some of the best flexible space in east London.”
Unfortunately we are unable to show you around, so let’s take a closer look at some of the design, detail and delivery of our latest project.
As Architects, we know how important the exterior of a building is to both office providers and their customers. You don’t get a second chance at a first impression, so the external façade is the first and best opportunity to demonstrate design quality. Originally a furniture factory but more recently used by a mix of light industrial business, the existing buildings were in bad need of a facelift.
The main warehouse building fronting onto Mare Street has received a full makeover with façade cleaning, new windows, new entrance and a shiny glass box rooftop extension.
To the rear, the workshop ‘sheds’ were of such low quality they were demolished and replaced with a 4 storey extension. This gave us the opportunity to have a little fun with a nod to the site’s history. We designed a new brick façade of modest yet playful brick detailing to reflect the warehouse buildings of the past while sitting comfortably in the diverse urban fabric of Hackney. The brick corbelling adds depth and layers, together with projecting headers and recessed panels creating an eye catching dimensional appearance and rhythm. This allows the building to stand out as high quality, while retaining its heritage and reflecting its immediate geography. Standing out while fitting in is a tricky needle to thread, but we think this subtle yet quality design does just that.
At Frost we have always been champions of sustainable design. We seek to create buildings with longevity that understand their place in space and time. Mare Street Studios gave us the opportunity to realise these ideals. From the conception of the project, achieving BREEAM excellent was a high priority for Workspace and ourselves, and several steps were taken to achieve the target.
The main warehouse building was retained to reduce waste and satisfy our desire to reuse and recycle. The windows were replaced with thermally efficient products, and by removing the existing roof for a rooftop extension, we were able to improve the thermal performance of the building fabric.
PVs are located on the roof to offset energy consumption, and green roofs were installed to the rear extension roof to encourage biodiversity. A more sustainable and effective substrate to the green roof was used including recycled crushed bricks and clay and organic composted bark fines. Wildlife is further encouraged through the use of bird and bat boxes at high level and through the use of wildflower species.
community & wellbeing
Community & wellbeing are also high up on the agenda. Workspace are renowned for their flexible office model, providing co-working spaces for start-ups, remote workers and freelancers, while also providing high quality private office premises for companies that graduate to a more permanent and tethered location. Shared spaces then, such as co-working areas, cafes, tea points and meeting rooms must be quality and comfortable, helping facilitate growth and inspiring the community of customers.
These principles have been achieved at Mare Street Studios in a variety of ways. We have made provision for storing 144 bikes together with generous and luxurious shower facilities, encouraging commuters to cycle. All customers have access to the central roof terrace creating an urban oasis overlooking London. The provision of communal outdoor space is vital to worker wellbeing as well as to networking and collaboration. Many offices also have their own private outdoor spaces.
Private spaces have also been designed with wellbeing in mind. The phonebooths, strategically scattered around the building, are softly lit and decorated with tactile materials and textures to promote a relaxed atmosphere. The acoustic panels help the space feel private, cosy and intimate. The mustard yellow wall panels add a splash of colour and vibrancy.
The use of materials and textures is reinforced as you move around the building. The new concrete stair and lift core with black metal detailing to handrails and nosings further accentuates and remembers the site’s industrial past.
The corridors are animated through internal glass screens connecting the customers with the building and contributing to its life. The rough textures of the concrete frame and exposed brickwork are juxtaposed against a cool slick resin floor reminding us that this is a building fit for modern day working.
If you are looking for a high quality modern office in a building with a strong sense of community and an environment of wellbeing and a link to the past… we really do think that Mare Street Studios delivers! (But hey we’re biased of course.)
We know it’s been a challenging time for everyone, and the world of Architecture has been no exception. At Frost we’ve been closely monitoring and responding to the situation regarding the coronavirus pandemic.
Our top priority is the health and safety of staff and colleagues. We are set up to work remotely and are following government advice closely.
We are now in a position to be fully operational during this period of uncertainty and can continue to offer our full range of Architectural Services. We look forward to continuing to work with you in the following weeks and please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
You can continue to contact us in the normal way, we look forward to hearing from you and hope you are all keeping safe and well.
Our projects managed to weather a stormy February! Mare Street Studios reached practical completion and several other projects continue at various stages of development as our busy start to the year continues.
Mare Street Studios – Mare Street reached Practical Completion this week. The building is looking amazing and we can’t wait to show you the finished result. Banstead House – We also completed a residential project in Banstead which included new extensions and a complete facelift resulting in this great modern look. Biscuit Factory – We are starting on site at our latest Workspace project, The Biscuit Factory. We are refurbishing the 25,000 sqft of office space across 4 storeys. Parkhall Business Centre – Parkhall, another Workspace project, is also due to start on site this month. We are refurbishing 20,000 sqft of space to provide offices, meeting rooms and breakout spaces. Claygate House – We received planning permission for alterations to this gorgeous house in Claygate. Isleworth Offices – We are in the process of designing a new block of office buildings in Isleworth. LTDA HQ – Work continues on Signal Works, which will become the new Head Office of the LTDA. Esher House – Work is ongoing at this lovely family home in Esher.
We still can’t believe we’re ten years old, and as part of our celebrations we’re going to take some time showcasing our favourite ten projects from the past decade. Keep an eye out as we put some of our best work in the spotlight over the coming months, see if you can guess who’s going to win from the clues below.
Happy New Year everybody. We are delighted that January marks 10 years since Frost was set up, and can’t believe a whole decade has flown by so quickly.
It’s been an amazing ten years, keep an eye out as we’ve got plenty of events & content coming up we can’t wait to share with you as we spend the year celebrating our tenth birthday, reflecting on our decade and looking forward to another great ten years!
An election, a Christmas Party, some snagging and another three planning applications. The year might be winding down but things stay busy at Frost. Happy Christmas everyone!
Christmas Party – Thanks to the great teams at Heddon Street Kitchen and Electric Shuffle for a fantastic Christmas party. Mare Street – The brand new units are Mare Street are almost ready to be occupied. London Offices – We are designing a new, large scale office scheme in London. Surrey House – We are now in planning for a single storey extension to this gorgeous home in Surrey. Clerkenwell House – We are also in planning for a brand new 4 bed house. The Light Box – This eye catching new entrance signage at The Light Box has now gone up. Wandsworth Flats – We are in planning for a building in Wandsworth to provide 3 new flats and retail space. Docklands HQ – We are in the process of designing a refurbishment for a HQ in Docklands. London Development – We are also designing a new build residential development.
Co-working spaces now dominate the industry landscape. We toured some of London’s many facilities to find out how brands are setting themselves apart in a competitive environment.
Co-working spaces have exploded over the last decade and become the dominant market influencing the sector. The proliferation of these spaces has led to branching innovations in the ethos of design, reflecting and influencing the latest working practices. The modern workforce demands a space that offers more than simply an office or desk, there is an expectation for a workplace to be a holistic experience and lifestyle hub. There is now an assumption that a modern co-working building will supply on-site gyms, yoga studios, zen gardens, sleeping pods etc. However, as the facilities become identikit, how do brands stand out? The modern tenant, with access to reviews, feedback and invested in their own wellbeing, will likely be much more familiar with the ethos and reputation of a landlord, so developing a brand with a reputation for combining facilities with feel is crucial.
It becomes much harder to define, but the environment of a space therefore is now as important as the facilities. While the facilities may reflect the demands of the modern, younger workforce, it’s important that a space reflects the diverse needs of the population.
The biggest game-changer has been the influence of the hospitality sector. Many hotel providers are taking steps into the co-working market and this influence is seeping into the designs of existing providers. Increasingly front of house facilities in offices are adopting the meet and greet experience of higher end hotels. Office space receptionists are now concierges, providing information about the building, locality, and giving a warm and proactive start to the experience of a space. The integration of F&B into entrance spaces immediately provides a warm smell and feel, enhancing this hospitality like experience.
Office provider Fora have integrated this across their spaces. Their new space in Borough has a distinct hospitality feel. We were warmly greeted by a concierge space manned by two Fora Guest Experience Managers (GEMs), offered teas and coffees and immediately set at ease. A high class restaurant and bar space is visible just beyond the entrance. The deli café is part of the lobby. Calm and understated tones, with high quality materials and finishes, create a premium feel of a space catered to discerning professionals.
Another hook for a modern refurbishment is the heritage of either the building itself, or designing an environment that reflects the local context. This gives an identity to a space and working life that can feel transitory and untethered. Most modern co-working spaces seek to create a network amongst its tenants. Giving the space a contextualised identity and singular feel catalyses these communities. The space therefore has a cultural and geographic link while being designed for the future.
Soho Works new space in Shoreditch is a great example of this; the location’s industrial focus reflected in the stripped back feel of the space. Many of the buildings historic sliding doors are retained to serve as entrances to meeting rooms while retaining an urban vibe. Basic finishes continue the industrial theme. There is an almost antiquated design space provided to tenants, with manual tools supplied. A somewhat anachronistic 3D printer in the corner demonstrates that while the feel is stripped back, the space is geared for the modern industry. Soho as a brand is identified with a cool, hip atmosphere and they have transplanted this into their co-working enterprise. Taking their cues from the existing building and their brand ethos, they have created a space that combines the young, creative and modish with the historic and rustic.
Other providers create a theme that transcends their locations. With a lot of space handed over to ‘non fee earning’ areas, the above mentioned residential facilities, the space for actual co-working needs to maximise its profitability potential. Creating a feel of intimacy without it being cramped, proximity without invading personal space, can be a dilemma. This conundrum is successfully eased by many providers by creating a homely, intimate and comfortable environment. Artwork adorning the walls, a low key musical soundtrack provides a space workers can relax in and stay focussed when surrounded by their co-working community.
When we walked into the Uncommon space Fulham, we were immediately struck by the abundance of flora. The emphasis on worker wellbeing and relaxation is clear. Plants hang from the ceiling and creep up the walls. The walls in the entrance lobby, which serves as part of the co-working area, feature large windows meaning a constant supply of high levels of daylight. Low level, ambient music filters through the space. You are greeted at the door not only by an enthusiastic member of staff, but by sights, sounds and smells all designed to induce a sense of comfort. As you move through the building you notice each area is infused with its own unique scent. The attention to detail is a testament to how seriously Uncommon take worker comfort. By focussing on wellbeing and welfare, natural light and nature, ambience and atmosphere, Uncommon create a blueprint for co-working happiness which they are able to replicate across their network.
Of course, no company wants to stay in co-working forever. While entrepreneurs, start-ups, and freelancers provide near constant tenant supply, and have precipitated the boom in co-working, when a company grows in size it will invariably graduate to its own private office. Flexible offices then, which provide this duality of workplaces, must ensure they are in a position to facilitate growth for it’s tenants and be ready to capitalise when they are looking to upscale their premises. Providing a quality co-working space along with flexibility and opportunity for growth is therefore a priority.
Workspace’s latest flagship space, The Frames, places clear emphasis on creating a welcoming space for co-working and collaboration which inspires comfort and loyalty in its tenants. The entrance sequence is always at the heart of a Workspace building – a desire to give impact, encourage movement and facilitate collaboration results in well thought out space incorporating reception, co-working and café. The double height space of the entrance at The Frames gives immediate drama while providing a focus to the community and networking opportunities that being a Workspace customer offers. A contemporary piece of wall art dominates and proves a colourful foil to the otherwise cool and restrained backdrop of black and timber. Workspace business model relies on fledgling businesses graduating to its upper level private spaces as they grow, and this focus on operational excellence, flexibility and growth is achieved in the hi-spec professional finish and carefully considered layouts.
It is clear then, that a successful modern co-working space must provide the anticipated lifestyle facilities, but also must have a clear ethos and identity. Whether it’s grounding a space in history, emphasising worker comfort and collaboration, or drawing influence from other industries, or indeed blending all three, it is apparent that the modern workforce expects their needs to be met not only in terms of lifestyle, but attention to their emotional needs, their senses and their sensibilities.
It’s a typically busy month at Frost, with several projects across various stages of development.
Mare Street – As part of a design intervention at Mare Street we have designed bespoke phone booths, including glass doors and velvet wall cladding. Signal Works – These dramatic corten window reveals are currently being installed at Signal Works. Parkhall – We are in the process of designing our latest Workspace project, Parkhall Business Centre. We are refurbishing 20,000 sqft of space to provide offices, meeting rooms and breakout spaces. The Biscuit Factory – Another Workspace project, The Biscuit Factory, is starting on site this month. We are refurbishing the 25,000 sqft of office space across 4 storeys. EastHorsley House – We are delighted with this now completed beautiful new build home. Claygate House – Our latest project in Claygate is now finished and looking great. The works included a rear extension and internal remodelling. Hampton House – We are also delighted with this completed project in Hampton, including a rear extension and significant internal remodelling. Esher House – We are now on site with this wonderful home in Surrey. We are really excited to see how the final designs progress. The works include extensions, a garage conversion and internal remodelling.
The interior refurbishment works at China Works have now finished. In collaboration with Bluebottle, we renovated the old Royal Dalton building and have breathed new life into the space, creating a fresh, modern co-working environment. Check out more pictures here.
Extending your existing home by linking to an outbuilding is an increasingly popular and cost effective way of expanding your living space by making use of a garage or storage space that is no longer used the way it was intended. The way we live and use our homes is changing all the time. We value high quality living spaces for working, relaxing and entertaining over a place to keep the car dry! Similarly, a nicely converted garage to provide a stunning sun room or play room may not get the use it deserves if you need to walk out in the rain to use it on a winter’s day.
This is where the simple extension link is a great opportunity to do something a bit playful and different. By joining spaces together they can become much more useable and can really add space that is both valuable and enjoyable.
A glazed link is often a great idea. Not only does it bring light into a space that might otherwise be dark and enclosed, it also allows the two elements to be read separately, providing a sense of the site’s historic narrative. Inside the link, the external walls of the building become internal walls, which can work out quite nicely – our Hare Lane project used the exposed brickwork to add character to the new space. By creating a distinction between the traditional and contemporary you can clarify what’s new, what’s been retained, and explore the relationship between the two.
If the outbuilding is in close proximity to the house, whether and how you link them depends on how you live and intend to use the space in the future. Flexibility of use is important, it may start as a study or playroom for the kids, but over time become a media room, home office, or artist’s studio. The possibilities are endless and it’s important to retain versatility while ensuring the design and function reflects the short term requirements of the space.
It is of course important to consider planning and building control requirements when undertaking any building work. Whether or not planning permission is required is project specific and dependent on a variety of factors, such as proximity to boundaries, neighbouring buildings and if the building is listed or protected. We recommend seeking advice from the local authority before proceeding with any plans.
With a little knowledge and creativity, there are many ways to give those under used spaces in your home a new purpose.
Office environments are continually evolving as we adjust and adapt to meet the demands and opportunities that technology offers. But are we meeting the needs of the modern-day worker? The ability to be ‘on-line’ and available 24/7 puts a strain on the mental and physical health of us all. Working environments, therefore, need to respond to meet this changing dynamic. The mental environment is as important as the physical environment and wellbeing is now high up on the workplace agenda.
So what makes for a place of wellbeing? Designers are well practiced in putting the pieces of the physical jigsaw together to create high quality spaces. We are masters at using light, colour, ergonomics and materials to create spaces people want to be in. But we need to look beyond these physical and sensory experiences. We need to consider working practices. Admittedly this requires a receptive client and is perhaps beyond our normal remit, but the commercial realities of offices are changing. Technology has given people more options than we thought possible. Employers are having to alter contractual terms to meet the demands of the employee, who now leads the charge when it comes to how we work.
What can we do as designers? We now need to be experts in knowing the market (location, technology, style), knowing the demands of the workforce, ultimately knowing our clients better than they know themselves.
Every day the market makes strides in evolving trends and our industry follows. Can we predict and anticipate the next trend?
Co-working is the hot trend at the moment. This relatively small part of the sector has given fresh impetus to the changing workplace. Subscription membership, hot desks, dedicated desks, team rooms – all variations on how we structure space. These spaces are popular not only for sole traders and start-ups, but give the range of environments everyone likes to work in – informal work areas, quiet work areas, presentation spaces, meeting rooms, break out, cafe. This mix of spaces allows the chance to ‘switch off’, unwind and have a change of pace. These spaces and the means to do so need to be part of the workplace offer. We must look beyond our surroundings and embrace aspects such as nutrition, exercise and fun, if we are to keep pace with the demands of today’s workforce.
The team at Frost are delighted that Build Magazine have named us the Best Office Architecture & Interior Design Firm in London, and our design at the New Covent Garden Market Authority has won the Build Project Award for Best Commercial Design. See more about the winning project here.
Enabling works have now started on site at Mare Street Studios, our redevelopment of a business centre for Workspace Group in Hackney.
The low grade existing buildings at the rear of the site will be demolished and the retained main building refurbished to facilitate the delivery of high quality office spaces, co-working areas and a large café.
In 2017 the Crown Estate commissioned a competition for Architects to design the office of the future, utilising their building portfolio.
Our proposal for the competition was for a Distributed Office environment that allows businesses to retain a fixed, leased office space while offering shared resources, spaces and facilities available on-demand. With greater physical flexibility, fixed office spaces can be smaller than required in a traditional office setup. Businesses subscribed to the proposed co-working membership scheme will be able to offer their employees access to a large network of office spaces across the city. With greater flexibility workers will be able to work more locally and maintain a desired level of wellbeing.
Within each office hub, businesses will be offered a workBOX; a fixed unit to provide private space to complement the preferred operational model of each business. Each workBOX varies in size and provides traditional office space in one location or a network of private office spaces across the city, or simply a fixed storage space for businesses to spill out into larger shared working areas. The membership structure will provide co-working spaces, allowing start-ups to work alongside larger, more established companies and creating the possibility for networking and collaboration.
The growth of the Knowledge Economy and developments in technology are expected to be major factors in the next shift in office working practices and design. Our workBOX proposal provides a platform for the evolution of the workplace.
For our Christmas party this year the team kicked things off with homemade cocktails and secret santa in the office, before going bowling at Queens in Queensway. A nail biting affair ended in a tie between Sam and Dan. We followed this up with a fantastic dinner at No.65 & King, which we would highly recommend! Thanks for the staff at these venues for having us!
Frost are thrilled that our most recent Commercial project has been completed at New Covent Garden Market. We designed the fit out of the Food Exchange Building, providing office space for SME’s in the food industry. The team took a trip to check out the finished project, check out some images from our visit below.
See more photos and learn more about this projecthere