The original Victorian building at 8 Stratton Street was built in 1871 in the Free Gothic Revival style, and is Grade II listed. This project combines the listed building with its neighbour at No 9 Stratton Street, to provide the UK headquarters for an umbrella organisation based in the Middle East, operating a number of separate businesses from a single office building.
The client sought a distinctly British identity for the London headquarters, and in particular to draw on the history and character of its Mayfair location. There was also a desire to utilise existing lightwells to bring an element of an English country garden into the building, designed to highlight the changing seasons.
Accommodation needed to provide an office suite for the Chairman, four floors of flexible office space, and a shared lounge at ground floor. The lounge was to function as a generous open space with intimate areas to accommodate small meetings, or groups of people waiting to access the larger meeting rooms and other areas within the building.
Squire and Partners’ designs took inspiration from the existing building, which externally and internally displayed a rich mix of decorative elements such as Romanesque details to mouldings, ornate floral motifs in wrought iron and more structured geometric patterns on façade brickwork and floor tiles. A design approach was developed which painstakingly restored original elements – such as mouldings, ironmongery and stonework – and introduced new elements rooted in the history of the building to create a distinct identity for the building, mixing the geometric and organic decorative styles.
A quatrefoil motif which features on the external mouldings of No 8 Stratton Street, and repeated on the original staircase and floor tiles internally, was reworked to create a motif used throughout the building interior. The motif has been used on bespoke elements such as bronze coloured wall panels, stair runners and as etchings on glass partitions.
The main space on the ground floor is designed as a lounge serving the companies housed within the building. It immediately defines the identity of the building, being richly decorated in a palette of rosewood, bronze, silks and a pair of striking oversized circular chandeliers.
Bespoke timber cabinetry using the quatrefoil motif has been created to illustrate the high level of detail synonymous with the Mayfair tradition of tailoring and craftsmanship, and evoke a sense of a traditional library space for books and artefacts. A dark parquet floor provides a gently reflective continuous surface which links with the dark wood furniture.
The lounge space is flanked on two sides by courtyard gardens filled with indigenous British plants addressing the English country garden brief. Squire and Partners worked with award winning landscape designer Kim Wilkie on the selection of plants and layout of the gardens, which visually and physically connect the indoor and outdoor spaces. The courtyards continue the theme of providing intimate pockets of space, with a series of benches and garden furniture separated by large bespoke bronze planters. Internally, the garden theme continues where a raised level of seating on a marble plinth connects directly to the central courtyard, and bronze planters bring foliage inside the building.
RECEPTION AREAS AND MEETING ROOMS
Reception areas are defined with a strong palette of rosewood panelling with bronze edge detailing, a lit white glass niche and a striking black Portoro Macchia Fine marble fronted reception desk at ground floor. Meeting rooms are separated by glass partitions softened with sheer fabrics, with upholstered chairs to provide comfortable seating for waiting guests. Rosewood panelling in each reception area conceals access doors leading to tea points, wardrobes and storage space.
A large formal meeting room at ground floor has been painstakingly refurbished to enhance the existing original period features. Full height timber panels lining the walls, oak shutters, a fireplace, window mouldings and other original details have been carefully restored, extending the life of these decorative elements and creating a sophisticated private meeting space.
The upper office floors have been designed to incorporate more modern elements, introducing a balance to the traditional aesthetic while still maintaining the overall identity of the building and allowing for each tenant to make their own mark. Office spaces are largely open plan with informal meeting tables provided around the perimeter of each floor. Storage areas and kitchens are provided for each office tenancy, along with an outside terrace on every level which continues the garden theme and affords natural light into the workspace.
A suite for the Chairman on the first floor includes a reception area, waiting room and private office, and is lined with bespoke hand painted silk wallpaper by Fromental coupled with traditional ‘Carriage’ green paint and gilded mouldings. The established palette of Rosewood, bronze and marble is continued in the suite, which also features three Venini ‘Wavy Star’ glass chandeliers commissioned for the project using the original mouldings from the 1970’s. A mixture of sheer and heavier textured fabrics on curtains and upholstered furniture gives a luxurious and opulent feel to the very British series of rooms.
Outdoor seating: Emu Heaven table and chair from RHA Furniture
Office Furniture: Plan Moebel, Herman Miller, Vitra
Other Furniture: Odd Chair Company, Brands, Davidson London, the Coach Potato Company, Midlands Antique Warehouse, Skandium, William Yeoward, Lutyens, Chaplins, Adam Williams, Decorus, Julian Chichester, George Smith, Robert Langford, Somerville & Scott
Landscape architect: Kim Wilkie
Mouldings specialists: Stevensons of Norwich
Gilding specialists: Hare and Humphreys
Company that created the quatre foil patterned panels: Based Upon in Greenwich
Bronze planters: Bronzino
Joinery company: Metrica in Germany
Main contractor: Lend Lease
Stone subcontractor: Szeremly
M&E subcontractor: Imtech Meica